The architecture in Dawson is interesting. The trees here are thin and building materials are brought in. Structures are preserved by the dry cold, but they can eventually collapse because of the ‘heaves’. More than half of Dawson is built on ice rich permafrost (permanently frozen ground) that is 60 meters thick. When the ice melts, the ground loses volume, buildings sink, roads buckle and water pipes snap.
Many new buildings fit in well but some look like the one below: plain, boxy, painted in bright colors and devoid of architectural interest. This is a hotel near my house that is owned by the Princess Cruises. It is used for passengers on overnight excursions in Dawson. Most of the hotels, shops and other businesses are shuttered for the winter. Unfortunately all of the museums and historic sites are too. The public library and the lovely, small library at the School of Visual Art (one year program) are both open as are the two grocery stores (lots of vegetables!), drug store, liquor store, DVD store, several shops and many bars.
I went to the Percy Memorial Dog Sled Race banquet tonight. Everyone got a prize and the winner received $3000. The vets gave an award (cash plus a donated $1800 gold nugget in a little back velvet sack) for the person who took the best care of their dogs. Nice! The winner was wearing cargo shorts and he said he couldn’t wait for summer to be over so it would be winter and he could start racing again. Wow.
Leaving the banquet, I was struggling to zip up my 25 pound, knee length, fire engine red Arctic parka (I love it, it’s so warm!) and put on my splendid faux fur hat (thanks Pick!) and a sinewy middle aged woman who finished fourth in the race threw on her thin little windbreaker (no hat, no gloves, no purse: no one carries a purse here, they carry everything in their parka pockets) and dashed into the -8 (18 F) degree evening. Every sunny afternoon, my neighbors sit outside on their porch, chatting.