Discovery Claim (Claim 37903) National Historic Site of Canada
Discovery Claim (Claim 37903)
Concession de la découverte (Concession no 37903)
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Discovery Claim National Historic Site of Canada is the place where the Klondike gold rush began. It is a legally defined mining claim measuring some 152.4 (500 ft.) by 609.6 metres (2000 ft.) located on Bonanza Creek, a tributary of the Klondike River near the town of Dawson, Yukon Territory. The site is in a deep valley which has been dredged both by hand and with mechanized equipment, leaving deposits of dredge tailings and scarred hillsides below the heavily treed upper slopes.
Discovery Claim was declared a national historic site of Canada because:
- it is the site where gold was discovered on the afternoon of August 16 1896, the event which triggered the Klondike Gold Rush,
- economically and administratively, the site marks the beginning of the development of the Yukon,
- for the Aboriginal people, this piece of land is an affirmation of their cultural values and world view; from a western perspective, the site affirms the 19th-century belief that through hard work and perseverance one could rise from poverty to riches.
The heritage value of Discovery Claim lies in its historical associations with the Klondike gold rush as represented by the place where Keich (“Skookum” Jim Mason), of the First Nation Tagish, discovered gold and where George Carmack, an American married to Keich' sisters, staked the mining claim that led to the Klondike gold rush. The site has been actively mined through the twentieth century.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, May 1926, July 1998; Commemorative Integrity Statement, October 2000.
The key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
- the location at Bonanza Creek within the legally defined boundaries of the claim;
- its setting within the confines of the Bonanza Creek valley beside a slow moving stream;
- the quality and consistency of the natural stone of the claim;
- surviving evidence of mining activity on the claim, and in particular to features indicative of staking and placer mining;
- viewscapes to natural hills bordering the valley, along the creek, and to the relict mining landscape in the valley.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
1896/08/16 to 1896/08/17
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Extraction and Production
Function - Category and Type
- Historic or Interpretive Site
- Natural Resource Extraction Facility or Site
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection