Born of the Klondike Gold Rush, Whitehorse was the head of riverboat navigation on the Yukon River for the thousands of prospectors who came north seeking fortunes. Just south of the city (upriver), the Yukon River's treacherous Miles and White Horse Rapids (so called for white-capped waves that resembled horses' manes) blocked riverboat transport. When the White Pass and Yukon Route railway arrived in Whitehorse from Skagway in 1902, the city's role as the transportation hub of the Yukon was cemented. Whitehorse boomed again during the 1940s, when thousands of U.S. Army personnel arrived to complete the Alaska Highway, and by 1953, Whitehorse became the capital of the Yukon after Dawson City fizzled out along with its gold.

With a population of about 26,000, Whitehorse is home to almost three-quarters of the Yukon's population. It's no longer a frontier settlement, and food, lodging, and hospitality are all of a high standard.