Yukon Register of Historic PlacesYRHP

Former Territorial Court House National Historic Site

Cultural History

This is one of two territorial courthouses in the Yukon that have remained intact since its construction in 1901. Built by the federal government and designed by federal architect TW Fuller, this building was one of the first permanent structures in Dawson. The courthouse served its intended purpose for only 10 years when court and the various civil services were consolidated under one roof, the Administration building. The Court House remained vacant for the next four years, then was taken over by the RNWMP in 1914 as offices and a barracks until 1950. From 1954 to 1967 a privately run hospital was housed here. Parks Canada has since acquired the property and now rent it to the territorial government as office space.

When the Yukon Territorial Act was passed, three types of courts were created in Yukon: the Gold Commissioner's Court ( to handle mining disputes), the Police Court (to handle minor criminal and civil cases at the local NWMP posts) and the Territorial Court which served as a criminal and civil court and acted as appeals body for the other two courts. The Court House supplied a new image of permanence, by its design and quality construction and by the commitment shown by the federal government financing its construction. The Courthouse can be seen as one of the four major territorial buildings that signaled the Canadian government's intention to support Dawson's future. This building thus had a marked influence in transforming the town from a temporary gold rush camp to a community with a future.