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Whitehorse City Guide

Updated: December 8th, 2023

Immigration to Whitehorse is steadily increasing, as more foreign immigrants become aware of the city’s abundant, inexpensive land, its beautiful and clean natural environment, high-paying wages, and close-knit community life. As a result, the city’s demographics are becoming more multicultural, with 38% of Whitehorse residents being foreign-born according to the Whitehorse City Council.

Claim a spot as a permanent resident in Whitehorse by gaining a better understanding of the city through our guide!

About Whitehorse

about whitehorse

The headquarters of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is in Whitehorse, Yukon. Whitehorse also acts as an important transportation center on the Alaska Highway, linking it by air to other major North American cities. Whitehorse is also a base for outfitting anglers, big-game hunters, and trappers.

Whitehorse’s founded as a major settlement began during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897–98. The city operated as a staging and distribution center for the gold rush. It also facilitated river navigation and was the northern terminus of the White Pass and Yukon railway route from Skagway.

Whitehorse’s incorporation as a city was in 1950. In 1971, Whitehorse’s metropolitan area was expanded to the surrounding river valley, eventually covering 162 square miles (420 square km).

A federal program of road construction in the 1950s stimulated the city’s mining economy. Today, government administration and tourism are the economic mainstays in Whitehorse, and the population is increased by the seasonal influx of tourists.

Where is Whitehorse on the Map?

Whitehorse is located in the southwestern part of the Yukon territory, near the border with Alaska. The city rests on the Yukon (Lewes) River just below Miles Canyon and the former Whitehorse Rapids.

Strategically placed along the junction between the Klondike Highway and the Alaska Highway, Whitehorse serves as a gateway to the vast wilderness of the Yukon and beyond. Its geographical location makes it an ideal destination for those seeking an unforgettable northern experience.

Climate in Whitehorse

As you plan your visit to Whitehorse, it's important to consider the climate. Whitehorse experiences’ a subarctic climate according to the Koppen Classification system. The city has long, cold winters and short, warm summers. The average temperatures in Whitehorse range from -2°F( -18.89°C) to 69°F (20.56°C).

Temperatures in the city rarely go below -33°F (36.11°C) or above 79°F (26.11°C) according to Weather-spark. Make sure to pack warm clothing if you visit during the winter months and prepare for mild temperatures during the summer. Whitehorse’s rainy season lasts for 5 and a half months, from approximately May 8 to October 28 according to Weather-spark.

Work and Jobs in Whitehorse

Whitehorse offers a variety of employment opportunities across different sectors. The city's economy is driven by industries such as:

  • Government services,
  • Tourism,
  • Mining,
  • Transportation, and
  • Retail.

Government and administrative jobs are plentiful, given that Whitehorse is the territorial capital. The tourism industry also plays a significant role in the local economy, with opportunities in hospitality, guiding, and outdoor adventure activities.

Additionally, the mining sector employs exploration, extraction, and related services. Similar paying jobs that you can apply for in Whitehorse are, including National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes and estimated average annual salaries from Canada’s Job Bank.

Occupations in Whitehorse Estimated Annual Average Salaries (CAD) NOC code
Mining Engineer 110,000 - 150,000 21330
Geologist 90,000 - 120,000 21102
Senior Software Developer 85,000 - 110,000 21231
Construction Manager 80,000 - 110,000 70010
Registered Nurse 75,000 - 95,000 31301
Electrician 70,000 - 90,000 72200
Civil Engineering Technologist 65,000 - 85,000 22300
Administrative Officer 60,000- 75,000 13100
Marketing Specialist 55,000 - 70,000 11202
Retail Store Manager 50,000 - 65,000 60020

Cost of Living in Whitehorse

cost of living in whitehorse

While the cost of living can vary depending on individual lifestyles, Whitehorse generally has a slightly higher cost of living compared to other small to mid-sized Canadian cities on the western seaboard such as Victoria and Kelowna.

This is exemplified by Whitehorse's cheaper apartment rent costs compared to Victoria and Kelowna for a family of four both in and outside the city. Figures are obtained from

Apartment Types Average Monthly Cost in Whitehorse (CAD) Average Monthly Cost in Kelowna (CAD) Average Monthly Cost in Victoria (CAD)
3 bedroom Apartment in the City Center 3,000.00 3,062.50 4,596.00
3 bedroom Apartment outside the City Center 2,600.00 2,668.75 3,704.23

Moreover, Whitehorse’s average net salary after tax is higher than Victoria’s and Kelowna’s, allowing its residents to more capably deal with their living expenses. This is reflected below, with figures from

Western Canadian Cities Average Monthly Net Salary After Tax (CAD)
Whitehorse 4,422.00
Kelowna 3,814.41
Victoria 3,513.67

Neighborhoods in Whitehorse

Whitehorse, Yukon, is a city known for its scenic beauty, vibrant culture, and friendly community. Here are four of the top neighborhoods that contribute to the unique charm of Whitehorse:


Nestled along the banks of the Yukon River, Riverdale is a picturesque neighborhood that seamlessly blends nature with residential living. Residents enjoy stunning river views, well-maintained parks, and access to scenic walking and biking trails. The community spirit in Riverdale is strong, with local events and festivals fostering a sense of togetherness.

Copper Ridge

Copper Ridge is a newer development in Whitehorse, offering modern amenities against a backdrop of the Yukon's rugged wilderness. The neighborhood features contemporary homes, well-designed parks, and proximity to essential services.


Granger embodies the tranquility of suburban living, providing a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city center. This neighborhood boasts spacious properties, providing residents with privacy and space.


McIntyre, one of the older neighborhoods in Whitehorse, exudes historic charm while embracing modern conveniences. Characterized by well-established homes, tree-lined streets, and a sense of community history, McIntyre offers a unique blend of the past and present.

Each of these neighborhoods contributes to the diverse tapestry that makes Whitehorse a welcoming and vibrant city.

Transportation in Whitehorse

The Alaska Highway, a historic route, serves as a major artery, linking Whitehorse to the rest of Canada and the United States.

White Horse Transit Service

The Whitehorse Transit Service provides bus routes throughout the city, making it easy to navigate and explore different areas. The bus routes cover key areas, making it convenient for residents to commute to work, school, and recreational facilities.

Biking/Cycling Lanes

Dedicated bike lanes and scenic trails wind through the city, providing cyclists with a safe and enjoyable way to explore the surroundings.

Flying in and out of Whitehorse

For those traveling to and from Whitehorse, the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport serves as a vital transportation hub.

Car Rental Services

If you’re going to drive around Whitehorse in a private car, ensure you can afford the 1.77 CAD gasoline per liter cost according to

Things to Do in Whitehorse

Explore Miles Canyon

Miles Canyon, just a short drive from downtown Whitehorse, is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts. The dramatic cliffs and the turquoise waters of the Yukon River make this canyon a stunning sight.

Visit the MacBride Museum

The MacBride Museum is a treasure trove of Yukon's fascinating history. Located in downtown Whitehorse, the museum showcases exhibits on the Klondike Gold Rush, Indigenous culture, and the early days of the city.

Witness the Northern Lights at Fish Lake

Escape the city lights and head to Fish Lake for a mesmerizing display of the Northern Lights. The clear Yukon skies make this location ideal for observing the aurora borealis. Whether you're a seasoned photographer or just a spectator, the dancing lights in the night sky create a magical and unforgettable experience.

Take a Scenic Drive on the Alaska Highway

Embark on a scenic road trip along the historic Alaska Highway, soaking in the breathtaking landscapes that surround Whitehorse. The highway offers stunning views of mountains, lakes, and forests. Stop at picturesque viewpoints, have a picnic by one of the pristine lakes, and enjoy the tranquility of the wilderness.

These activities capture the essence of Whitehorse, offering a blend of outdoor adventure, cultural exploration, and celestial marvels.

Education in Whitehorse

education in whitehorse

In Whitehorse, Yukon, the education system is structured to provide a comprehensive and inclusive learning experience for students across elementary, primary, and secondary school levels.

Elementary Education in Whitehorse

Elementary education typically spans kindergarten through Grade 7, focusing on foundational skills and fostering a curiosity for learning. The city's elementary schools prioritize a well-rounded curriculum while incorporating the unique cultural and natural aspects of the Yukon region, creating an engaging and enriching educational environment.

Primary and Secondary Education in Whitehorse

Moving into the primary and secondary levels, spanning Grades 8 through 12, Whitehorse offers a diverse array of educational opportunities. These schools aim to prepare students for the challenges of higher education or the workforce by providing a balanced mix of core subjects and elective courses. The Yukon Territorial Education Department administers education in Whitehorse. Prominent colleges and universities you can enroll in Whitehorse include:

  • Yukon University,
  • Yukon College,
  • Northern Lights College, and
  • Yukon Native Language Center.

Immigrate to Whitehorse

If you're considering immigrating to Whitehorse, there are several pathways available to make your dream a reality.

Express Entry System

The Express Entry System is an online system used by the Canadian government to manage immigration applications from foreign skilled workers who want to earn permanent residency in Canada. It is a points-based system that ranks candidates in the Express Entry pool using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) and offers an expedited application process as fast as six months.

There are three immigration programs managed through Express Entry, which are the:

Learn more about the Express Entry system.

Yukon Provincial Nominee Program

The Yukon Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is a collection of immigration pathways that enable foreign nationals to become Canadian permanent residents. It includes the Yukon Nominee Program (YNP) and the Yukon Business Nominee Program. The YNP has several streams, such as the Critical Impact Worker, Skilled Worker, Express Entry, and Yukon Community Program.

Find out more about the Yukon Provincial Nominee Program.

Agri-food Pilot

The Agri-Food Immigration Pilot is a pathway to permanent residence for experienced, non-seasonal workers in specific industries and occupations within the Canadian agri-food sector.

The pilot aims to address labor needs in the Canadian agri-food sector by providing a pathway to permanent residence for agricultural workers, allowing them to work and live in Canada for as long as they like.

Learn more about the Agri-food pilot.

Homecare Provider Pilot (HCPP)

The Home Child Care Provider Pilot (HCPP) is a program in Canada designed to bring qualified caregivers to the country and obtain Canadian PR. The program aims to address the need for caregivers in Canada and provide a pathway to permanent residence for qualified individuals in the home childcare provider occupation.

Find out more about Canada’s Home Care Provider Pilots.

Business Immigration

For entrepreneurs and those looking to start a business in Whitehorse, Canada's business immigration programs offer attractive options.

Self-Employed Program

The Self-employed Program is designed for foreign individuals with experience in cultural or athletic activities, allowing them to establish themselves and contribute to Canada’s artistic and athletic community.

Learn more about Canada’s Self-employed visa program.

Start-up Visa program

The Start-up Visa Program provides a pathway for innovative entrepreneurs to launch their businesses in Canada and provide employment. These programs not only contribute to the local economy but also offer individuals the opportunity to make a lasting impact in Whitehorse.

Find out more about the Start-up Visa program.


How Can I Travel to Whitehorse?

Whitehorse is easily accessible by air, with regular flights from major Canadian cities such as Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton. Whitehorse International Airport is the main gateway to the city and offers connections to international destinations as well.

What is The Best Time to Visit Whitehorse?

The best time to visit Whitehorse depends on your preferences and the activities you plan to engage in. The summer months of June to August offer milder temperatures and longer daylight hours, making it ideal for outdoor adventures.

If you're interested in witnessing the spectacle of the Aurora Borealis, commonly known as the Northern Lights, visiting during the winter months from November to March is recommended.

How Did Whitehorse Get Its Name?

Whitehorse gets its name from the White Horse Rapids on the nearby Yukon River. These rapids, now submerged due to the construction of a hydroelectric dam, were known for their white, foaming appearance, resembling a white horse. The city was named after this natural landmark, which holds historical and cultural significance in the region.

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