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Remarkable Yukon Women
by Claire Festel (Author) / Valerie Hodgson (Illustrator)

Remarkable Yukon Women 
Front Cover


The Yukon is a mythic place: the land is vast and wild, the climate harsh and uncompromising, the people resourceful and resilient. Say the word "Yukon" and southerners still conjure up images of the rough and ready frontier: whiskered men in plaid shirts or parka-clad women wielding axes in the struggle for survival in a silent, isolated land. The truth is, you can find them here.

But the Yukon holds more than one truth. Writer Patricia Robertson says, "The fact that it's young seems to attract really interesting, adventurous people who want something different and who are willing to take a risk." The stories in this book, shared by fifty women--"born here or came here"--attest to the enduring nature of the north and the evolving character of a dynamic community. The changes over time and the things that stay the same give a unique insight into the circumstances that make their lives different.

Yukon women live lives similar to their counterparts down south: they are homemakers, doctors, teachers, run businesses and work in government. But how they live their lives in the Yukon is unique. As Robertson says, "You are pulled back to the elemental aspects of life. You can pretend in a city that you're in control but you know if your car breaks down between Whitehorse and Carcross at 40 below, you better hope somebody turns up or you're well prepared because you could die. The natural world is in charge and you are not."

These stories paint a picture of what life was--and is--really like for Yukon women. It is an untold story that will deepen your understanding of how and why this remote frontier adds not just colour, but depth, sensitivity and strength to the Canadian story.

About the Authors

Claire Festel
Born in a small town on the scenic Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec, Claire early on developed a keen appreciation for storytelling and nature. Swapping stories around the bonfire down on the beach in summer or around the heater in wood camps accessed by snowmobile in winter was a key part of growing up. Claire went west to Alberta in 1976 to further her education and to explore Canada.

In 1977 she flew to the Yukon in search of a summer job and felt an immediate sense of belonging. Claire fully embraced all the territory has to offer, from running a trap line to representing the Yukon across the country on national boards to volunteering with the world's longest sled dog race.

Claire first lived in rural Yukon, in the Elsa mining area. A year after the mine shut down, she enrolled in the University of British Columbia. She graduated with an English honours degree in 1994. She toyed with leaving the Yukon and even spent a winter in Ontario, but she moved back. Shortly after, she met her husband, Ed.

Claire shares her passion for travel with Ed. Together, they have explored the far reaches of the north by various means: canoe, snowshoe, private plane and on foot. Their adventures around the world are also active: trekking in the Himalayas, biking in Cuba, kayaking in Australia and Mexico, and hiking in any destination, from Switzerland to Australia to Canada.
In 2009 she and Ed bought a home in the hills above Penticton, British Columbia. But they often return north, visiting their Yukon friends and staying at their Whitehorse apartment, which overlooks the Yukon River.

Valerie Hodgson
Born and raised in North Vancouver, Valerie has made Whitehorse her home for more than thirty-five years. She arrived there after completing her degree in physiotherapy at the University of British Columbia, trading in a city lifestyle for a northern adventure that became a permanent way of life. Valerie still lives in the log home she moved into in 1980 and works from her studio, created from an old workshop, on the same property. There, she and her husband, Dan, enjoy an extended family and deep Yukon roots.

The paintings included in Remarkable Yukon Women are part of an art exhibit titled "Yukon Women, 50 Over 50." They were inspired by Valerie's desire to paint portraits from life and to celebrate ordinary Yukoners.

Quantity:9 item(s) available
Weight:0.36 kg
Price: CDN$ 29.95 (US$ 29.14)
Author:Claire Festel (Author) / Valerie Hodgson (Illustrator)
Publisher:Lost Moose
Publication Date:9/2011
Pages:112 pp
Size/Dimensions:8 x 10 inches


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