||November/December 1996 issue||
There's gold in them thar names
no other part of Canada is as rich in gold-related place names
as the Yukon. Pure Gold Gulch, Allgold Creek, even Nogold Plateau
— these and many others were applied a century ago by prospectors
combing the region's creeks, pups (little creeks) and valleys.
And even if gleaming gold wasn't mentioned directly, sourdoughs
often borrowed names that celebrated other people's successes.
Ophir Creek referred to the Queen of Sheba's treasure trove,
King Solomon Dome to the good king's mines. Eldorado Creek recalls
the city of gold the conquistadors sought, Ballarat Creek and
Walhalla Creek the sites of Australian gold strikes.
Sites were sometimes named for Klondike characters as well, prospectors
like Ernest BÈliveau (Beliveau Creek) and Robert Henderson
(Henderson Creek), and storekeeper-grubstaker extraordinaire
Leroy Napoleon McQuesten (McQuesten River).
Of course, hard work was not always rewarded. Fortune Creek or
Excelsior Creek (excelsior meaning high attainment, presumably,
not packing material) was what you wished for. But sometimes
it was just O.K. Creek, and sometimes Cry Creek.
And maybe those lonely nights under northern skies led to Dublin
Gulch and Seattle Creek, to Australian Hill and Quebec Creek.
To Kentucky Creek, California Creek, New Zealand Creek, Arizona
Creek, Vancouver Creek, Colorado Creek and more. Most prospectors
didn't bring gold home, but they left a bit of home in the gold