Whitehorse, Capital of Yukon

City of Whitehorse, Yukon
Mark Newman / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images

Whitehorse, the capital city of the Yukon Territory of Canada, is a major northern hub. It is the largest community in Yukon, with more than 70 percent of Yukon's population living there. Whitehorse is within the shared traditional territory of the Ta'an Kwach'an Council (TKC) and the Kwanlin Dun First Nation (KDFN) and has a thriving arts and cultural community. Its diversity includes French immersion programs and French schools and it has a strong Filipino community, amongst others.

Whitehorse has a young and active population, and the city has many amenities you might be surprised to find in the North. There's a Canada Games Centre, which 3000 people attend every day. There are 700 kilometers of trails extending through and out of Whitehorse, for biking, hiking, and cross-country and downhill skiing. There are also 65 parks and many rinks. Schools are well-equipped with sporting facilities and offer a variety of skilled trades programs that support a thriving small business community.

Whitehorse is also set up to handle tourism, and three airlines fly in and out of the city. Around 250,000 travelers also drive through the city every year.


Whitehorse is located just off the Alaska Highway, on the Yukon River about 105 kilometers (65 miles) north of the British Columbia border. Whitehorse is situated in the wide valley of the Yukon River, and the Yukon River flows right through town. There are broad valleys and big lakes around the city. Three mountains also surround Whitehorse: Grey Mountain on the east, Haeckel Hill on the northwest and Golden Horn Mountain on the south.

Land Area

8,488.91 sq. km (3,277.59 sq. miles) (Statistics Canada, 2011 Census)


26,028 (Statistics Canada, 2011 Census)

Date Whitehorse Was Incorporated as a City


Date Whitehorse Became the Capital of Yukon

In 1953 the capital of the Yukon Territory was transferred from Dawson City to Whitehorse after the construction of the Klondike Highway bypassed Dawson City by 480 km (300 miles), making Whitehorse the highway's hub. Whitehorse's name was also changed from White Horse to Whitehorse.


Whitehorse municipal elections are held every three years. The current Whitehorse City Council was elected on October 18, 2012.

The Whitehorse City Council is made up of a Mayor and six Councillors.

Whitehorse Attractions

Main Whitehorse Employers

Mining services, tourism, transportation services, and government

Weather in Whitehorse

Whitehorse has a dry subarctic climate. Because of its location in the valley of the Yukon River, it is relatively mild compared to communities like Yellowknife. Summers in Whitehorse are sunny and warm, and winters in Whitehorse are snowy and cold. In the summer the temperature can be as high as 30°C (86°F). In winter it will often drop to -20°C (-4°F) at night.

In summer daylight can last as long as 20 hours. In the winter daylight can be as brief as 6.5 hours.

City of Whitehorse Official Site

Capital Cities of Canada

For information on the other capital cities in Canada, see Capital Cities of Canada.

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Munroe, Susan. "Whitehorse, Capital of Yukon." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, thoughtco.com/whitehorse-capital-of-yukon-511299. Munroe, Susan. (2020, August 25). Whitehorse, Capital of Yukon. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/whitehorse-capital-of-yukon-511299 Munroe, Susan. "Whitehorse, Capital of Yukon." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/whitehorse-capital-of-yukon-511299 (accessed March 21, 2023).