Watson Lake, Yukon

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Watson Lake
Town of Watson Lake
Watson Lake 4.jpg
Watson Lake is located in Yukon
Watson Lake
Watson Lake
Location of Watson Lake in Yukon
Watson Lake is located in Canada
Watson Lake
Watson Lake
Watson Lake (Canada)
Coordinates: 60°03′45″N 128°42′25″W / 60.06250°N 128.70694°W / 60.06250; -128.70694[1]Coordinates: 60°03′45″N 128°42′25″W / 60.06250°N 128.70694°W / 60.06250; -128.70694[1]
CountryCanada
TerritoryYukon
Government
 • Town MayorChristopher Irvin
 • MPsBrendan Hanley
 • MLAsPatti McLeod
Area
 • Land6.11 km2 (2.36 sq mi)
Population
 (2016)[2]
 • Total790
 • Density129.4/km2 (335/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−07:00 (MST)
Forward sortation area
Y0A 1C0
Area code867
Websitewww.watsonlake.ca

Watson Lake is a town in Yukon, Canada, located at mile 635 on the Alaska Highway close to the British Columbia border. It has a population of 790 in 2016. The town is named for Frank Watson, an American-born trapper and prospector, who settled in the area at the end of the 19th century.[3]

Watson Lake is near the Liard River, at the junction of the Robert Campbell Highway and the Alaska Highway. The Stewart–Cassiar Highway's northern end is 22 km (14 mi) west of Watson Lake. The town is also served by the Watson Lake Airport; the airport was formerly served by Canadian Pacific Air Lines and other local and regional airlines, but now by Air North and corporate and charter services.

Watson Lake is the main centre of the small forestry industry in Yukon and has been a service centre for the mining industry, especially for the Cassiar, a now abandoned asbestos mine in northern British Columbia and the Cantung Mine, a tungsten mine on the Yukon-Northwest Territories border in the Mackenzie Mountains.

Tourist attractions in Watson Lake include the Northern Lights Centre[4] and the much-imitated original Sign Post Forest. The Sign Post Forest was started in 1942 by a homesick United States Army Corps of Engineers G.I. working on the Alaska Highway, who put up a sign with the name of his home town and the distance. Others followed suit and the tradition continues to this day. As of August 2010 there are more than 76,000 signs of various types depicting locations across the world. The Sign Post Forest is one of four roadside attractions featured on the first series of the Canadian Roadside Attractions Series issued by Canada Post on July 6, 2009.[5]

Watson Lake and the neighbouring Upper Liard settlement are the home of the Liard River First Nation, a member of the Kaska Dena Council. The Two Mile area immediately north of the core of town is a concentrated area of First Nations residents, while the town extends 8.0 km (5 mi) out to the turn-off of Airport Road. (Originally, Airport Road extended directly to the Alaska Highway, but most of it is now part of the Campbell highway.)

History[edit]

The Town of Watson Lake annexed Two Mile and Two and One-Half Mile Village on January 2, 2016.[6]

Geography[edit]

Climate[edit]

Like most of Yukon, Watson Lake has a subarctic climate (Dfc) with mild to warm summers and severely cold, snowy winters. Watson Lake experiences annual temperature average daily highs of 21.5 °C (70.7 °F) in July and average daily lows of −27.5 °C (−17.5 °F) in January. Record high temperature was 35.4 °C (95.7 °F) in July 2009 and the lowest was −58.9 °C (−74.0 °F) in January 1947. Watson Lake has more precipitation than other parts of Yukon with an average annual snowfall of 196.1 cm (77.2 in) and 262.0 mm (10.31 in) of rainfall, resulting in larger trees and a more viable forest industry.[7]

Climate data for Watson Lake (Watson Lake Airport)
Climate ID: 2101200; coordinates 60°06′59″N 128°49′20″W / 60.11639°N 128.82222°W / 60.11639; -128.82222 (Watson Lake Airport); elevation: 687.4 m (2,255 ft); 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high humidex 5.6 11.1 11.5 20.0 34.2 33.3 41.4 36.8 26.8 17.6 11.7 7.9 41.4
Record high °C (°F) 8.9
(48.0)
12.2
(54.0)
11.7
(53.1)
20.1
(68.2)
34.2
(93.6)
33.9
(93.0)
35.4
(95.7)
32.8
(91.0)
27.8
(82.0)
21.7
(71.1)
12.2
(54.0)
8.4
(47.1)
35.4
(95.7)
Mean maximum °C (°F) −1.8
(28.8)
2.9
(37.2)
7.3
(45.1)
15.6
(60.1)
22.4
(72.3)
27.3
(81.1)
28.6
(83.5)
27.3
(81.1)
20.2
(68.4)
13.2
(55.8)
3.3
(37.9)
−0.5
(31.1)
30.0
(86.0)
Average high °C (°F) −17.5
(0.5)
−10.4
(13.3)
−1.8
(28.8)
7.0
(44.6)
14.0
(57.2)
19.6
(67.3)
21.5
(70.7)
19.1
(66.4)
12.8
(55.0)
3.7
(38.7)
−10.0
(14.0)
−16.0
(3.2)
3.5
(38.3)
Daily mean °C (°F) −22.5
(−8.5)
−17.0
(1.4)
−9.6
(14.7)
0.1
(32.2)
7.6
(45.7)
13.2
(55.8)
15.3
(59.5)
13.0
(55.4)
7.5
(45.5)
−0.5
(31.1)
−14.7
(5.5)
−20.8
(−5.4)
−2.4
(27.7)
Average low °C (°F) −27.5
(−17.5)
−23.5
(−10.3)
−17.3
(0.9)
−6.8
(19.8)
1.3
(34.3)
6.8
(44.2)
9.0
(48.2)
6.9
(44.4)
2.2
(36.0)
−4.7
(23.5)
−19.3
(−2.7)
−25.6
(−14.1)
−8.2
(17.2)
Mean minimum °C (°F) −44.0
(−47.2)
−39.0
(−38.2)
−34.3
(−29.7)
−20.3
(−4.5)
−5.3
(22.5)
0.6
(33.1)
3.9
(39.0)
0.5
(32.9)
−5.1
(22.8)
−18.0
(−0.4)
−33.1
(−27.6)
−40.3
(−40.5)
−47.8
(−54.0)
Record low °C (°F) −58.9
(−74.0)
−56.2
(−69.2)
−46.7
(−52.1)
−32.8
(−27.0)
−16.0
(3.2)
−3.3
(26.1)
0.6
(33.1)
−6.7
(19.9)
−13.9
(7.0)
−36.6
(−33.9)
−47.5
(−53.5)
−53.3
(−63.9)
−58.9
(−74.0)
Record low wind chill −66 −63 −51 −36 −16 −5 0 −5 −19 −43 −55 −64 −66
Average precipitation mm (inches) 30.9
(1.22)
20.4
(0.80)
15.3
(0.60)
14.1
(0.56)
37.4
(1.47)
54.9
(2.16)
59.5
(2.34)
47.6
(1.87)
42.6
(1.68)
37.7
(1.48)
27.9
(1.10)
27.9
(1.10)
416.4
(16.39)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 0.1
(0.00)
0.0
(0.0)
0.1
(0.00)
4.6
(0.18)
33.6
(1.32)
54.9
(2.16)
59.5
(2.34)
47.4
(1.87)
41.1
(1.62)
19.5
(0.77)
0.6
(0.02)
0.5
(0.02)
262.0
(10.31)
Average snowfall cm (inches) 40.6
(16.0)
28.5
(11.2)
19.6
(7.7)
11.4
(4.5)
3.7
(1.5)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.3
(0.1)
1.7
(0.7)
20.8
(8.2)
34.2
(13.5)
35.3
(13.9)
196.1
(77.2)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 13.2 10.3 9.3 6.3 11.5 12.7 14.8 13.7 13.8 14.4 14.6 12.6 147.2
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 0.2 0.1 0.2 2.3 11.0 12.7 14.8 13.7 13.4 7.5 0.5 0.4 76.6
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 13.9 10.8 9.8 4.8 1.5 0.0 0.0 0.2 1.0 8.3 15.2 13.2 78.7
Average relative humidity (%) 75.5 73.7 59.9 46.3 41.4 43.5 47.7 49.6 56.4 69.1 79.8 76.9 60.0
Source 1: Environment and Climate Change Canada[7]
Source 2: Météo Climat (mean maximum)[8](mean minimum)[9]

Demographics[edit]

Federal census population history of Watson Lake
YearPop.±%
194158—    
1951238+310.3%
1971553+132.4%
1976808+46.1%
1981748−7.4%
1986826+10.4%
1991912+10.4%
1996993+8.9%
2001912−8.2%
2006846−7.2%
2011802−5.2%
2016790−1.5%
2016 (rev.)1,083+37.1%
20211,133+4.6%
Source: Statistics Canada
[10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][2][20]

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Watson Lake had a population of 1,133 living in 499 of its 564 total private dwellings, a change of 4.6% from its 2016 population of 1,083. With a land area of 109.77 km2 (42.38 sq mi), it had a population density of 10.3/km2 (26.7/sq mi) in 2021.[20]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Watson Lake". Geographical Names Data Base. Natural Resources Canada.
  2. ^ a b c "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2016 and 2011 censuses – 100% data (Yukon)". Statistics Canada. February 8, 2017. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  3. ^ "Watson Lake History - Yukon Territory Information".
  4. ^ www.northernlightscentre
  5. ^ Canada Post Details, Canada Post, July to September 2009, Volume XVIII, No. 3, p. 10
  6. ^ "Interim List of Changes to Municipal Boundaries, Status and Names: From January 2nd, 2016 to January 1st, 2021" (PDF). Statistics Canada. November 17, 2021. p. 74. Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  7. ^ a b "Canadian Climate Normals 1981-2010 Station Data". Environment Canada. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  8. ^ "Météo climat stats for Whitehorse". Météo Climat. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  9. ^ "Météo climat stats for Whitehorse". Météo Climat. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  10. ^ Ninth Census of Canada, 1951 (PDF). Vol. SP-7 (Population: Unincorporated villages and hamlets). Dominion Bureau of Statistics. March 31, 1954. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  11. ^ "Table 2: Population of Census Subdivisions, 1921–1971". 1971 Census of Canada (PDF). Population. Vol. Census Subdivisions (Historical). Ottawa: Statistics Canada. July 1973. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  12. ^ "1976 Census of Canada: Population - Geographic Distributions" (PDF). Statistics Canada. June 1977. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  13. ^ "1981 Census of Canada: Census subdivisions in decreasing population order" (PDF). Statistics Canada. May 1992. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  14. ^ "1986 Census: Population - Census Divisions and Census Subdivisions" (PDF). Statistics Canada. September 1987. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  15. ^ "91 Census: Census Divisions and Census Subdivisions - Population and Dwelling Counts" (PDF). Statistics Canada. April 1992. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  16. ^ "96 Census: A National Overview - Population and Dwelling Counts" (PDF). Statistics Canada. April 1997. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  17. ^ "Population and Dwelling Counts, for Canada, Provinces and Territories, and Census Subdivisions (Municipalities), 2001 and 1996 Censuses - 100% Data (Yukon Territory)". Statistics Canada. August 15, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  18. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2006 and 2001 censuses - 100% data (Yukon Territory)". Statistics Canada. August 20, 2021. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  19. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2011 and 2006 censuses (Yukon)". Statistics Canada. July 25, 2021. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  20. ^ a b "Population and dwelling counts: Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), Yukon". Statistics Canada. February 9, 2022. Retrieved February 18, 2022.

External links[edit]