December 26 2019: I recently discovered this poem lying in an old cardboard box along with a hand-scribbled note dated November 16th 1986 that said: “A bit of tripe I was persuaded, god knows why, to conjure.”
I recall being asked to write a poem about how Whitehorse might have changed by the year 2020 but since that was 33 years ago I'm not sure why the year 2020 was targeted or who asked me to write it, possibly the City of Whitehorse.
Around that time a few of my creative works were also included in a time capsule that was buried beneath Main Street Whitehorse Yukon to be unearthed as part of the 100th-anniversary celebrations of the City of Whitehorse in the year 2050. This poem was one of them.
Thirty-three years ago I penned this bit of fluff.
Whitehorse 2020 – ©pj johnson November 16th 1986
I dreamed a dream of Whitehorse
One long dark winter’s night
And the year was 2020
And the town was quite a sight!
Now a million strong the city was
With her history on display
A hustling bustling mecca
Where the world had come to play
And the first native sons of the Kwanlin Dun
Stood tall as they governed their own
And they bade me to come to their place in the sun
In the Land of the Wolf and Crow
Then I saw a sign that was big as you see ‘em
On top of the YTG
Boasting ‘Whitehorse World-Class Wax Museum’
And “Here Burns Sam McGee”
A massive dredge from the goldrush days
Overshadowed a street painted gold
And the White Pass train was a-rollin’ again
Giving rides to the young and old
The Transport Museum arose full-blown
Inside sailed the ‘Yukon Lou’
And the college had grown to a size so unknown
They’d renamed it “The Yukon U.”
The commuters now sped via motorized sled
Which far neath the city would whisk ‘em
Straight home in a flash for a small bit of cash
On the Whitehorse Ice-Tube subway system
All sorts of Whitehorsians had grossed mega-fortunes
Through enterprise, guts, and free-trade
All the world wanted portions and offered consortiums
For anything stamped ‘Yukon Made’
Here the people reside in good cheer undenied
For they work just six months of the year
The mosquitoes have died of some de-secticide
So the folks flock outdoors without fear
On the new little roof of the government place
Sits a raven with mukluks and toque on
And a sign at the base of this wee edifice
Says “The Province of The Yukon”
Whatever I saw gave a feeling of awe
For a people so strong and alive
As my dream faded off I remembered the law
That only the strong shall survive
Then I heaved a sigh as the end of that nigh
Left me feeling quite sentimently
And the sun rose high as I bade goodbye
To Whitehorse 2020
Whitehorse 2020 ©pj johnson November 16th 1986
*Update: Apparently I did get a few things right:
1. In 1990 the Umbrella Final Agreement was signed and in 1992 Yukon First Nations self-government negotiations concluded.
2. It was recently announced that The Yukon University Act had officially passed Third Reading. Once it receives assent the Act will set the legal framework for a university in Yukon — Canada's first university north of 60.
3. The White Pass & Yukon Route railway ceased operations in 1984 when the Cyprus Anvil mine closed down in Faro Yukon. It later resumed operations as a tourist excursion attraction in 1988.
4. The Yukon Transportation Museum opened its doors on July 1 1990.
November 6, 2019: Exactly one year ago today I was sitting at my desk when I suffered a brain hemorrhage.
This is my story ~~> Brain Hemorrhage!
November 6, 2019: I am elated! It has been announced that Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will no longer wear fur! That's HUGE! Kudo's to the Queen for setting an honourable example! No animal should ever have to suffer & die in agony for the vanity of a human! *As the daughter of a Yukon trapper my message is this: Times change. Let's work together to make this a more humane world!
September 3 2019: I was honoured to be featured at the Art Bar Poetry Series event in Toronto Ontario where I also spoke about the desperate plight of the Northern Sled Dogs who continue to suffer and die in long distance sled dog races like the Yukon Quest which takes place in my homeland. *View video ~~> Videos by pj johnson
The place was packed and I enjoyed connecting with friends old & new. Pics are of me & Laura Corbeil and fellow poet Pat Connors. And of course a picture of me onstage washed-out by a pot light - Never fails!
*See also videos taken by Laura Corbeil at Videos by pj johnson
August 29 2019:
40% OF MUSHERS SIGNED UP FOR 2020 YUKON QUEST HAVE ALREADY RUN AT LEAST ONE DOG TO DEATH!
*Click here to view the latest update of my campaign to end the cruel and barbaric Yukon Quest 1,000-mile sled dog race where animals continue to suffer and die in agony! ~~> https://bit.ly/2puqnVs
Canada Day July 1st 2019: It's a great day to be Canadian! Exactly 25 years ago today I was formally invested as Poet Laureate of the Yukon. Happy Canada Day!
#CanadaDay #amwriting #Yukon #Poetry #writingcommunity #SledDogs #artsandentertainment #BanIditQuest #PoetLaureate
June 28 2019 Update: Due to ongoing health issues I have had to take a step back from my work as an animal rights advocate. However the sled dogs are never far from my heart and I will be back in full force when I recover. I ask fellow friends & advocates to continue to help raise awareness about the plight of the northern sled dogs and help put an end to the barbaric Yukon Quest 1,000-mile sled dog race by sharing the article exposing the truth about how they are exploited and suffer at: https://bit.ly/2EzQYms and encouraging others to sign & share the petition at https://bit.ly/2uIN6z7
In the meantime me & my co-pilot Doc send our love from the Yukon!
"Time" A song about the power of love written & composed by pj johnson
Poet Laureate of the Yukon & Animal Advocate
June 27 2019: “Love your neighbour. We are all neighbours.” - pj johnson Yukon.
In celebration of National Writing Day from Land of the Midnight Sun!
February 11 2019: 'Joker the Sled Dog' died in agony in the deadly Yukon Quest 1,000-mile Sled Dog Race. Goodbye Sweet Puppy R.I.P.
2014 - 2019
January 20 2019:
He's here! Meet my new best friend Doc! Puppy-Love at first sight!
*Below video filmed by Laura Corbeil at the Freetimes Cafe in September 2019