Long-time Yukoner Ione Christensen has lived an incredibly accomplished life. She was the first woman to be appointed Justice of the Peace in Yukon and judge of the Juvenile Court; the first woman to be elected mayor of Whitehorse; the first woman to be appointed Commissioner of Yukon; and in 1994, she was appointed to the Order of Canada, not to mention she also served as a Liberal senator from 1999 to 2006.
But in recent years, she has received international attention for something entirely outside of politics. Christenson is still using and “feeding” the same sourdough starter her ancestors brought with them over the Chilkoot Trail in 1898.
To keep sourdough starter alive, it needs to be stored in cold temperatures and fed flour and water regularly. So every Saturday night for six decades, Christensen has maintained the exact same routine: prepping waffles for breakfast the following morning using the same starter her grandfather used during the Klondike Gold Rush.
This story is aptly suited to this region. Because sourdough starter and flour were such vital ingredients for settlers during the frigid months (while most other foods froze), over time, a person from the Yukon became known as a “sourdough” once they’d survived a winter.