Designer Brenda Lee Asp talks about the territory's beauty
This story originally ran in the Spring 2014 (V8I1) edition of Yukon, North of Ordinary.
Name: Brenda Lee Asp
Place of Residence: Haines Junction
Occupation: Fashion designer; graphic and print designer
How long have you lived in the Yukon? My whole life.
What brought you here? Birth! I have left the Yukon at times for training opportunities but always came back.
What keeps you here? My family and the crisp morning air.
"THE YUKON IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PART OF THIS COUNTRY; IT'S MAJESTIC."
Settle the debate for us: What makes someone a “real” Yukoner? Most Yukoners can drive a dogsled or snowmobile better than a vehicle. But I think a real Yukoner is someone who prefers the snow to the rain, prefers the cold to the heat, and enjoys the freedom of living in this beautiful, vast country.
What’s the biggest tall tale you’ve told friends or family in the South about life in the North? No tall tales to tell—only wonderful experiences to share.
How do you get your friends or family in the South to come visit? Remind them of all the delicious food we get from the land here—fish, animals, and berries.
Who is your favourite Yukon character of all time? My Dad. He is honest and hardworking and tells it like it is. He’s a strong role model for me. I am grateful to have such a wonderful example of how to embrace life.
I wouldn’t change ____ for all the gold in the Klondike. My family.
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in the territory? Seasoned pork ribs cooked over an open campfire—delicious wood smoke, mouthwatering flavour!
What’s one thing about the Yukon that more of us should take advantage of? Being a tourist in your own backyard. We should learn as much as we can about the people who helped make the Yukon what it is today—the veterans and what they stood for; the prospectors that came and never left; and the First Nations people that have called this home for thousands of years and the impacts, everything from war to the gold rush, have had on them.
What’s your favourite piece of little known Yukon trivia? What is the coldest temperature ever recorded in Canada? On Feb. 3, 1947, at the Yukon’s Snag airport, the temperature dropped to -63°C (-81°F). That’s the coldest day on record in North America. Reports say water tossed in the air froze into pellets before hitting the ground. This is where my family originates from on my mother’s side. It must have been so cold to live there!
What do you wish more Canadians knew about life here? The Yukon is the most beautiful part of this country; it’s majestic.
Where is your favourite place in the territory? When I was young, I loved to go to the Takhini Hot Springs. Today, I love spending time camping with my family, enjoying campfire-cooked meals and the peacefulness in any of the many Yukon wilderness areas.
What’s the best up-close-and-personal encounter you’ve had with the local wildlife? Viewing the Hairy Leg Contest during the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Festival! Those women would beat any man in that competition, hands down.
You’re on the phone to a friend from the Outside. No one from the government is listening. Do you say “Yukon” or “The Yukon”? Yukon.
When the cold and dark gets to you, where do you go to recharge? Takhini Hot Springs.
Dog mushing or snowmobiling? Snowmobiling.
How cold is too cold? 60 below.
What author, musician, band, or artist from the territory do you think should be more famous? That artist Norma McBean! She turned 90 years old on Oct. 30, 2013. As a child, I remember her painting beautiful Yukon landscapes on gold pans of all sizes. I used to collect the little magnet gold pans she painted.
You’ve just won a huge jackpot at Diamond Tooth Gerties Casino, and you have 24 hours to spend it in the Yukon. Where are you headed? To put a down payment on a motherlode gold mine.
Finally, what does “The Spell of the Yukon” mean to you personally? Mesmerizing beauty! The Land of the Midnight Sun! We are so blessed to live in such a beautiful place. That’s why we stay. Y