Dawson City is as much of a paradox as it is a community today. Once the biggest Canadian city west of Winnipeg, with a population of 30,000, it withered to practically a ghost town after the stampeders stopped stampeding. In 1953, the seat of territorial government was shifted to Whitehorse, which might've spelled the end of Dawson -- but didn't. For now, every summer, the influx of tourists more than matches the stream of gold rushers in its heyday. The reason for this is the remarkable preservation and restoration work done by Parks Canada. Dawson today is the nearest thing to an authentic Gold Rush town the world has to offer.

However, Dawson City is more than just a Gold Rush theme park; it's a real town with 1,800 year-round residents (though population triples in summer with seasonal workers), many still working as miners (and many as sourdough wannabes). The citizens still like to party, stay up late, and tell tall tales to strangers, much as they did a century ago.