Jack London sculpture in downtown Whitehorse: attraction or bust?

The bust sculpture of a famed Klondike novelist in downtown Whitehorse is making news in Toronto, and receiving mixed reviews here at home.

A travel article named a Jack London sculpture in downtown Whitehorse as a top Yukon attraction

A Jack London statue in downtown Whitehorse was named one of Yukon's top attractions by an article that appeared in the Toronto Star. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

The bust sculpture of a famed Klondike novelist in downtown Whitehorse is making news in Toronto and receiving mixed reviews at home. 

The Jack London sculpture, located at the corner of Main Street and Fourth Avenue, made a list of "Top 5 things to do in the Yukon" in a travel article published in the Toronto Star last week. 

London, who travelled to the Klondike from San Francisco in 1897, is famous for his novels White Fang and The Call of the Wild, but not everyone agrees that a statue in his memory is a must-see. 

This Jack London bust is found at the corner of Main Street and Fourth Avenue in downtown Whitehorse. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

Some people say it's not the best London-related thing to see in the Yukon (Dawson City has a small museum dedicated to his life and writing, as well as a recreation of his cabin using logs from the original), while others say the bust shouldn't be promoted at all. London's work has been locally criticized for his depiction of First Nations people.

Pierre Germain, Yukon's director of tourism, says London must have struck a chord with the Toronto travel writer.

"Jack London's novels were taught in schools in Germany, so lots of Germans are familiar with Jack London," he said. 

"It also has a similar kind of following in Asia. So if that's the hook, and that's what's meaningful to someone, you know, that's their story." 

The Yukon department of tourism helped fund the travel writers' trip to the territory, but Germain says the department had no control over the article's content.

Other attractions listed in the travel article included flight-seeing over Kluane National Park, Our Lady of the Way Catholic Church in Haines Junction, Takhini Hot Pools and the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. 


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