Shacking it Up at Berton House

Upon my arrival in Dawson I realized I didn’t actually have the address for Berton House handy. A quick tour of town would surely reveal it, I thought. First stop: front street. Looking out over the Yukon River I thought I spied a cozy cabin. Maybe this was it? But how to get to it….?

Then I found this handsome hovel in the middle of town with a built-in cat door, and we all know Pierre Berton loved his cats. And there was an empty bottle of Smirnoff on the front “porch,” and writers are known to like a drinky-poo from time to time to get the ol’ words flowing…


Finally up on Eighth Ave I found the real Berton House! I guess the signs and plaque on the wall should have been a dead giveaway? We writers aren’t the most observant people, I guess…


When I returned to Dawson after my travels to Old Crow and Inuvik there was a goodly amount of snow on the ground, just wet enough to hold together. I present to you: P’tit Pierre, my backyard sentinel… and the raven’s haven’t even stolen his nose yet!

The front bedroom has been converted into an office with a large oak desk (c. 1900). It may not be 100% ergonomically-correct, but it’s got history. There’s a nice big window facing onto the backyard and with tourist season done I don’t have to worry about people gawking at me in my ‘work clothes’ (read: pyjama pants)!

Lots of great reading spots throughout the house for devouring the large library of northern books. This sectional is my fave so far and I love snuggling under the big HBC blanket while I’m reading Pierre Berton’s The Arctic Grail. Not only is it great reading, but useful too: did you know raw meat is an anti-scorbutic? Forget the oranges and pass me some Maktak!


There’s even enough space for me to do yoga in the living room, but I also discovered yesterday they offer classes in the Downtown Hotel three times a week. Nothing says ‘Namaste’ like going straight to the bar after forward bends!

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© 2011 Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail. All Rights Reserved.