Alaska, the Final Frontier
Dawson City was a rough and ready city full of brothels, gambling parlors, and saloons during the Klondike Gold Rush at the turn of the 19th century. It was also home to three literary giants—Robert Service, Jack London, and Pierre Berton— whose homes are now museums open to the public.
Pierre Burton (1920– 2004) was born in the Yukon where his father had gone as a prospector during the Klondike Gold Rush. The Bertons lived in Dawson City until they moved to Vancouver in 1932. During his college days, Pierre spent his summers working at mining camps in the Klondike. Af ter graduat ion, he became city editor at a Vancouver newspaper until he volunteered for the Canadian Army during World War II but never saw action.
After the war, Berton became managing editor of Macleans, a Canadian weekly news magazine in Toronto. In 1957, he became a television commentator and host for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Until 1973, he was featured on the Pierre Ber ton Show where he interviewed celebrities such as Malcolm X, Lenny Bruce, and Bruce Lee.
During his career, Berton published 50 books, his last being Prisoners of the Nor th. He received many national awards for television and literature, was conducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 1998, and received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.
The Pierre Berton Award is presented annually by Canada’s National History Society for achievement in presenting history. Berton is acknowleged as having written the best history of the gold rush— Klondike, The Last Great Gold Rush.
Next week: Dawson City, A Trip on the Yukon