Review: Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada.

15 minutes

A work trip found me at latitude “North of Sixty” in the Yukon Territory in Northern Canada. Travelling in the North is always a different experience from the usual inner city travels. Often, there are less amenities and substantially higher prices, with a lot less usually offered the farther that you get away from the region’s urban centres. With this trip to Whitehorse, I would get the opportunity to stay at the historic Edgewater Hotel. Follow along to see what a stay in Whitehorse is like in the middle of winter.

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Review: Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

“The historic Edgewater Hotel has enjoyed a recent full refurbishment. Located near Whitehorse’s original White Pass train station, it offers conveniently located accommodation, which is perfect for leisure travellers”

I had a one night business trip to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory of Canada. Given Whitehorse’s remote location north of latitude 60, I thought it would be interesting to document my stay.

Given that this trip occurred in winter, there is only six hours of daylight in Whitehorse. The sun rises at about 10:50 AM, and sets at 5:00 PM. As a result, almost all of my photographs involve some form of darkness.

About the Edgewater Hotel Whitehorse:

The Edgewater Hotel is a modernized historic hotel that has been around for over 133 years. While it doesn’t have the same charm as a brick and mortar railway era historic hotel, it’s got a pretty neat past, as a centre of activity in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada.

At inception, the Edgewater was named The Windsor Hotel. The hotel served the stampeders travelling down the Yukon River to Dawson City’s Klondike gold fields during the Great Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1890s.

With a great location across from both the paddle wheeler docks on the Yukon River and the White Pass and Yukon Route Train Station, at the time, Windsor Hotel enjoyed a bustling business in the heart of the transportation district.

The Windsor Hotel and White Pass Depot, as well as much of the downtown core, were destroyed in a devastating fire in 1905. Robert Service, a well-known poet and Bard of the Yukon, contributed to the firefighting operations and helped rescue the CIBC Bank building where he worked.

The Windsor was reincarnated as the White Pass Hotel following a hearty community effort to repair it. It served Whitehorse during the war years, the construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942, and the end of the steamboat era in the mid-1950s.

After another fire on Christmas Day 1961, the White Pass became the Edgewater Hotel, which it has remained until this day.

The Edgewater Hotel continues to welcome visitors to the same historic location, from gold seekers, railroad passengers, and river boat captains to miners, mushers, and Mounties, and focuses in warm Yukon hospitality and interesting tales.

Booking the Edgewater Hotel:

Accommodation in Whitehorse is strictly limited. Although it is the capital city of the Yukon Territory, there are a finite number of beds available across approximately five hotels that seem to change with rapid frequency.

The Best Western Gold Rush Inn is currently the only hotel in town affiliated with a major brand. Unfortunately, it was completely full on our scheduled travel dates, as a result we opted for the Edgewater Hotel.

Booking under the American Automobile Association (AAA) Rate was the Best Available Deal

I ended up booking direct on the Edgewater Website. The best available rate was $259 CAD ($193 USD). It’s also worth noting that due to scarce availability, rooms often sell out well in advance. If you are planning a visit during the peak summer months, I would recommend booking up to 3 – 4 months in advance, for the best selection.

Getting to the Edgewater Hotel:

My trip up to the Yukon Territory was from Vancouver via Air Canada Express on a CRJ-900 regional jet. With only one flight per day, the Yukon Territory is not always the easiest to access. There are also flights available through Air North, which is based in the Yukon.

After a stop by the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Vancouver Domestic, (which I had reviewed previously) and courtesy of Air Canada Aeroplan elite status, I headed to the boarding gate. It was a pretty compact journey up on Air Canada, with a distance of 923 miles flown, and approximately two hours and fifteen minutes journey.

Riding Up in a Compact Air Canada CRJ-900
Flying to Whitehorse from Vancouver is farther than flying from Vancouver to San Francisco

Our flight track took us into Whitehorse over it’s snowy mountains, and we were off on the ground at Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport before I knew it.

On Approach to Erik Nielsen International Airport, Whitehorse, Canada

My work colleagues rented a vehicle from Budget Rent a Car, and we drove the twelve minutes into the Whitehorse from the Whitehorse International Airport. There were only a few rental vehicles available, and I’ve never had great luck in getting a good quality rental vehicle in Whitehorse. Given it’s location north of latitude 60 degrees, I’ve had some heaps over the years; including an Oldsmobile Alero that had over 110,000 kilometres on the odometer.

The Edgewater Hotel has a prime location in downtown Whitehorse that is close to all major attractions. From the hotel’s base, you can walk to any attraction on Main Street. In terms of a tourist visit to Whitehorse, or even a business trip with meetings located in the city centre, it’s hard to go wrong with the Edgewater’s location.

The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
Looking Up Main Street, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
Looking towards the White Pass Train Station, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

Everything is walkable from the hotel, and unless you are going to provision supplies for a week long road trip around the Yukon Territory, there is no need to drive your car when staying at the

The hotel is located immediately across from the historic White Pass Train train station.

The White Pass Train Station, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

Checking into Edgewater Hotel:

After our brief drive from the airport, we arrived to the hotel. The hotel does not have a full loading zone area, and the unloading / reception space is limited to a few angle stalled parking spaces on the street in front.

Arriving to The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
Arriving to The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

The check in desk was immediately located inside the double front doors of the lobby. Being a small property, there was no wait to check in. My check in was handled promptly was limited to just the details.

The Lobby, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

The hotels attached restaurant, the “Belly of the Bison”, was also located just off the main lobby. The lobby contained a black grand piano and a prospector sculpture, which led to a somewhat historic theme of the gold rush in Whitehorse.

As we discovered when we arrived and checked in, the hotel has very limited parking. The hotel offers a small parking lot at the rear of the hotel. When we arrived at 7 PM on a winter weekday, the hotel lot was completely full. It was -12 Celsius on our visit. Many were interested in taking advantage of the winter plug in’s located behind the hotel.

The Edgewater Hotel Has Limited Guest Parking

We ended up parking on the street at metered parking during our first night. The hours of the meters were 9 AM – 5:30 PM, so we didn’t have to pay. The limited parking is a bit of an Achilles heel of this particular property, as guests with a vehicle need to manage their parking circumstance if no free parking is available.


The Room: Deluxe King

I was assigned the Deluze King that was booked per my original reservation. The Edgewater Hotel has been re-built and expanded upon, so there was a bit of a labyrinth maze to get to my room.

My room was situated on the ground floor of the property. After passing through a kitchen access hallway, up a short ramp, I was led into a long hallway that fronted the White Pass train station. My room was located at the end of the hallway, facing westward.

The initial impressions were quite favourable. The hallways were clean and sparkling. The hotel had a recently full renovation. Sometimes, hotels complete a soft renovation and don’t renovate right down to the studs. In this case, everything at the Edgewater appeared shiny, new and contemporary.

Finding My Room at The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

Upon entering into the Deluxe Room, the effort soft the renovation showed. The room presented in excellent condition. Arguably, these are the newest looking hotel rooms in Whitehorse. The darker theme was also pleasing to the eyes.

As a standard hotel room, the room offered a King Size bed. There was a nice looking occassional chair located on the wall side of the bed.

A Deluxe King, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
A Deluxe King, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

Two light stands on either side of the bed offered night lights. The room power ports had been upgraded to feature USB charging ports and plugs located above the bed on both sides.

A Deluxe King, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
A Deluxe King, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
A Deluxe King, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

Without space for a formal closet or armoire, the room offered an open coat rack. This was also set against a flat screen television, a small microwave, and a small unstocked mini fridge.

A Deluxe King, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

I couldn’t help but find that this space looked a little cluttered in appearance. Although I’m not an interior designer and don’t play one on television, I could have thought that this space could have been organized in a little more of an attractive manner, in my humble opinion.

A Deluxe King, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

The room offered a small work space. As I was travelling for business reasons, I did end up using this space to conduct work. Although the space was compact, it was perfectly sufficient.

A Working Desk, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

In an upscale touch that I wouldn’t have expected from a Whitehorse hotel, the Edgewater Hotel featured Nespresso coffee in the room. The hotel also offered proper glassware and a kettle. I always appreciate proper glassware in a hotel, even if I didn’t get the chance to use them on this particular trip.

Upscale Nespresso Coffee, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
Proper Glassware, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
Advertising for Local Resaturants, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

Consistent with the new renovation, the room featured a modernized bathroom. Given that it was an older hotel, the bathroom wasn’t all to spacious, but it was perfectly fine for a solo business traveller.

Bathroom in a Deluxe King, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
Bathroom in a Deluxe King, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

The room also featured two fluffy bathrobes. This was another feature that I wasn’t entirely expecting from my stay in Whitehorse.

Bathroom in a Deluxe King, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

In terms of sleep quality, I found the walls of the hotel to be a little thin. Perhaps this is a a result of the hotel being an older structure. I had a few noises throughout my sleep coming from creaking of the building, and other guests returning after a late evening out. On my one night stay, the sleep wasn’t all that restful- despite the wonderfully comfortable surroundings.


Around the Hotel:

As city hotel, the hotel doesn’t offer a lot of resort amenities other than an attached restaurant.

It’s worth noting that the Edgewater Hotel does not have a breakfast restaurant on site. As a result, you’ll have to venture out of the hotel for a morning coffee. We enjoyed the Burnt Toast Café, which was located a two minute walk and 170 meters from the Edgewater Hotel.

The Belly of the Bison Restaurant:

The Belly of the Bison Restaurant was open between the hours of 4:30 PM and “Close”. The Belly of the Bison provided a contemporary space which proved to be popular amongst the other visitors. The Belly of the Bison is the only restaurant attached to the Edgewater Hotel. The Belly of Bison was more than half full during the supper hour.

The Belly of the Bison Hotel Restaurant, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
The Belly of the Bison Hotel Restaurant, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

The Belly of the Bison featured a contemporary menu which was modern in taste and ingredients. Given the remote location of Whitehorse, I didn’t find that pricing on the menu to be too beyond what would be expected.

Restaurant Menu – The Belly of the Bison Hotel Restaurant, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

The Belly of the Bison also featured some interesting looking cocktails, along with some micro brewery beers.

The Drink Menu – Belly of the Bison Hotel Restaurant, The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

The White Pass Train Station:

The Edgewater Hotel was located across the street from the historic White Pass train station.

The White Pass Railway is a narrow gauge railway that links the town of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada and the town of Skagway, Alaska, United States of America. As an isolated rail line, it has no direct connection to any other railroad. Equipment, freight and passengers are ferried by ship through the Port of Skagway, and via road through a few of the stops along its route.

The White Pass Railway now departs further down the line at Carcross, Yukon Territory, which is about an hour drive away by car or 73 kilometres. The original White Pass Train station was nicely lit up in holiday lights, despite this being a January visit after the holiday season.

The Historic White Pass Train Station, Steps from The Edgewater Hotel, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

The Klondike Paddle Steamer:

The SS Klondike is the name of two sternwheelers which ran freight between Whitehorse and Dawson City, along the Yukon River. The ships were active between 1929 to 1936 and the second, an almost exact replica of the first, from 1937 to 1950.

The Klondike II carried freight until the early 1950s. Due to the construction of a highway connecting Dawson City and Whitehorse, many Yukon River sternwheelers were decommissioned.

In an attempt to save Klondike II, she was converted into a cruise ship by White Pass and Yukon Route. The Duke of Edinburgh (consort of Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada) was invited to tour the ship in 1954, being taken on a short trip down the Yukon River and back to Whitehorse during his day-long visit to the city. The venture shut down in 1955 due to lack of interest.

The ship was donated to Parks Canada and was gradually restored until 1966, when city authorities agreed to move the ship to its present location.

Checking Out the Historic Klondike II Paddle Steamer, Permanently Moored River Side in Whitehorse, Canada.

I took a walk from the hotel through the dead of night and the middle of winter to the Klondike II. It remains proudly on display at the edge of the waterway. While it was not open as a tourist attraction during the winter months, it was neat to get a sense of history during a visit to Whitehorse, Canada.

Above all, the Edgewater Hotel was well located and nearby everything that you’d want to see in Whitehorse. It’s location on Main Street allowed for most attractions to be seen within a five to ten minute walk across flat and level surfaces.

Checking Out of the Edgewater Hotel:

I had a business as usual check out the next day at 8 AM. My bill was printed and everything was in order. While it wasn’t the most personable check out, it was pretty efficient.

The Bottom Line: The Edgewater Hotel

The Edgewater Hotel was a perfectly functional stay for my brief overnight in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.

The Edgewater has undergone a terrific renovation and everything is sparkling new and meeting current standards. The location of the hotel can’t be beat, as it’s centrally located to everything in downtown Whitehorse.

Unfortunately, being an older building, there are occasional creaks and noises that come with staying overnight here. If you’re a light sleeper, this may bother you. The hotel also offers limited parking, which may be an irritant for some.

Ultimately, I wouldn’t hesitate staying at this property again.

Have you visited the Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory of Canada ? If you have passed through town, where did you stay?

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