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Adoption of Theme

The Klondike NewsThe Klondike Days theme was adopted in celebration of the cultural and economic boom in late 19th century Edmonton. Though far away from Dawson City and the Klondike River, Edmonton became known as a "Gateway to the North" for gold prospectors. It was in the city that many would collect the necessary goods for trekking up north in search of wealth. Individuals and teams of explorers arrived in Edmonton and prepared for travel by foot, York boat, dog team, or horses.

Gold washingConsequently, local business catering to gold-seekers’ needs proliferated. Horse stables, hotels, and stores selling gear and food multiplied with the influx of transient people. Those that proceeded north were brave and ambitious, prepared to weather months on land and water routes that were barely travelled and notoriously difficult.

Gold washingThe Klondike Gold Rush brought a commercial revival to Edmonton. It left an impact of development that became part of the local and regional history, extending to the Edmonton Agricultural Society. When the organization’s events committee introduced Klondike Days as a potential fair theme, it was chosen for two main reasons. One was the Klondike spirit, which was characterized by a tenacious hope for success in the face of hardship, and an energetic zest for life. Gold Rush trekAs a fair theme it was meant to carry the spirit on as a local legacy, and commemorate events that had helped Edmonton prosper. A second reason for the theme’s proposal was that it had numerous and colourful facets that could hallmark potential fair activities. Essentially, a variety of fun could be created with the theme’s inspiration.

Gold Rush trekKlondike Mike, a ruddy looking caricature prospector holding a pick, became the summer exhibition’s trademark logo. With the adoption of Edmonton Klondike Days Exposition as a permanent fair theme, the fair’s shift to an urban-based history reaching back to the Gold Rush was finalized.

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