The heritage value of the Old Territorial Administration Building lies in its associations with the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896, and the subsequent growth of the northern territories and the rest of Canada. The imposing architectural design of the building in the remote location of Dawson was a clear physical statement of the Canadian government’s determination to fulfill its administrative role, while asserting sovereignty of the territory contiguous with the American state of Alaska.
Designed by the Department of Public Works architect Thomas W. Fuller in 1899, the building was constructed in 1901 as the legislative and administrative headquarters of the new Yukon Territory. As Dawson’s population declined with the end of the gold rush, the government centralized its territorial and federal services into the Administration Building. It became the sole government building still active, and remained the centre of the federal and territorial government in the Yukon until 1953, when the capital was moved to Whitehorse. The Dawson City Museum occupied the building for the first time in 1961, and does so today.
The Old Territorial Administration Building National Historic Site of Canada is located in Dawson, in the Yukon Territory. The two-and-a-half storey building, set on landscaped grounds, is the largest of the buildings in the Dawson Historical Complex National Historic Site of Canada dating from the late 19th and early 20th-century Klondike Gold Rush. Constructed in the neoclassical style, the building features an impressive front façade organized around a raised, pedimented entrance flanked by double ionic columns.