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September 28, 1937 ~ December 25, 2023


It is with deep sadness that the friends and family of Janet Dickson announce her peaceful passing on December 25, 2023 at the age of 86, in Whitehorse, Yukon.  Janet was born in a small town in Alberta but her heart was formed in the Yukon. While working in Vancouver, BC, a young Janet met and married Gordon Dickson, a Yukon mining legend. Never someone to back down from a challenge, she accepted Gordon’s offer to head out onto the prospecting trail and homestead in a Whitehorse cabin fifty-seven years ago. She never looked back.

As a young girl, Janet traded household chores with her three sisters so she could do the outside work like stacking wood and gardening rather than cooking and cleaning. Her favourite childhood games involved adventures and bike riding into the woods. This formed the basis of her love for the outdoors. Late into her 70s, Janet cross-country skied and hiked, riding three-wheelers up steep cliffs, climbing Grey Mountain with friends, and traversing the hundreds of miles of trails in the Whitehorse trail system.

Janet Dickson was widely known as a hard worker in the prospecting business, carrying on for nearly two decades after Gordon passed away in 1993. She had impressive credentials in identifying minerals and staking and maintaining claims as well as driving a hard bargain. In 1996, she became the first woman to receive the prestigious Prospector of the Year award. Janet prospected in the Dublin Gulch and Mount Nansen area, near Carmacks, as well as north of Mayo and Dawson city especially in the 1960’s and 70’s, often in the bush with Gordon for three months at a time, staying in canvas tents and being picked up via float plane by bush pilots.

Later she became renowned for her gardens. She grew extensive flower gardens around her property and some of the best tomatoes, English peas, and long English cucumbers in the Yukon. Her gardens were grown from seed she saved year to year, and she started most of her plants inside with grow lights and racks of shelving.  She planted many trees, maintaining the Aspens on her property and coaxing a few evergreens to hang onto life on the riverbank. She had a keen eye for flowers and plants and could identify hundreds of species.

Though Janet worked long days as a prospector and later as a gardener, she loved games and quickly dropped her work for a good curling match, to search for edible mushrooms after the rain, to go to a favourite wild strawberry or high-bush cranberry patch, or the offer of a hike, a game of Yahtzee or cards. She also became a champion dart player, competing in tournaments all over Canada.

She traveled far and wide in Canada and around the world. Traveling to Costa Rica, Grand Cayman, and other islands of the Caribbean with Gordon, and on her own to remote parts of Alaska, Alberta, and southern BC. She also traveled near and far with her partner, Willy; visiting New Mexico, Arizona, the Maritimes, California and Oregon, the Northwest Territories, as well as the coast of Mexico, Aruba, Bermuda, and Hawaii. She loved to explore and observe new surroundings. In the summers, she and Willy regularly went with their good friends to little Atlin Lake where they fished, hiked, and motored around the lake. She loved sitting on their boat dock, drinking beer, observing the boats and fishing, and watching eagles and unusual ducks.

She leaves many cherished friends and family: her partner William (Willy) Nicholson, her closest niece, Johanna and her family Mike and Madeleine, one sister Rosalyn and brother-in-law Roy, two brothers, Dale and Ervin and their wives, as well as many close nieces (Nicole, and Laureen, among them), nephews and their families, and her beloved friends. A heart-felt thank you to the nurses and doctors at Whitehorse General and Vancouver General Hospitals.

May your adventurous spirit and bold heart rest in peace, dear Janet.

Comments (1)
  • 28 December 2023
    Cathy D. Copeland (Scanlon)

    Hi, I’m Cathy Copeland (Scanlon), Carl and Eileen Scanlon. Sorry to hear of your loss. I remember Jan and Gordon
    when they often stopped at the station for fuel before heading out to their claim. They were such a nice couple.

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