Reality-TV shows set in the Yukon have rekindled interest in the northern mining town that preserves its prospecting past.
DAWSON CITY, YUKON-Having a television show set in Canada strike ratings gold in the U.S. is about as rare as — well, as rare as getting rich as a sluice miner in the Yukon in 2016.
When the seventh season of the Yukon-based reality-TV series GoldRush premiered on Discovery Channel last year, it fell just short of the top spot on American cable, coming second only to the opening game of the ALCS between the Cleveland Indians and the Toronto Blue Jays.
In recent years, however, reality-TV shows based in Canada’s far north — Ice Pilots NWT, Ice Road Truckers — have become increasingly popular. Yet nothing has come close to shows such as Gold Rush and its National Geographic Channel competitor Yukon Gold, both of which are shot on location in Dawson City.
The rising stock of the shows has brought on a renewed interest in visiting the small mining town, where miners struck gold for the first time at the end of the 19th century.
“The tourism industry has definitely picked up in the last few years and the people that are coming are much more aware of what’s going on because of TV,” said second-generation gold miner David Millar. Nestled on the banks of the Yukon River about 60 kilometres east of the Alaskan border, Dawson City occupies a cosy enclave among the grand landscape that surrounds the town.
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