Sprucebog Vendors

Yukon Crafts Society

Box 31422
Y1A 6K8

A brief History of the Yukon Craft Society

The Yukon Crafts Society originated over a bottle of wine at the Paddlewheel Village. A meeting took place between Mike Nelson and Dawn Vickers who were both newly graduated from Art School. They wanted to start a craft fair so they could market their products. They had a bit of a struggle coming up with a name. Mike had just read a book about the North and the author had mentioned a “Spruce Bog County Fair”. He like the sound of it and wanted to call their fair by the same name. Dawn wanted to call it the “Sourdough…. something or other” and so they were at an impasse. The decision was made for them when they discovered that Mike’s idea was the only one that would fit on the silkscreen. So, the “Spruce Bog County Fair” was born. The name quickly evolved to the “Spruce Bog Craft Fair” and most of the Yukon has come to recognise the name and logo as the kick-off to the serious buying season.

The first fair was held March 12th, 1975 at the 4th Avenue Residence. Those who have arrived in Whitehorse more recently would know that location as the High Country Inn. It was originally built as the Y.W.C.A., became a sort of temporary residence in it’s next incarnation, and eventually a hotel.

It was a bit of a juried show in that they were very selective as to who could exhibit. The exhibitors left their wares there and the YCS member displayed and sold all items. It was quite successful.

Founding members were primarily Mike Nelson, who held the presidency for several years, and Dawn Vickers. Also involved were Heather O’Connor, Eva Stehelin, Eve McBride, Lee Hazelton and Sarah Steel.

The next fair was held in Hellaby Hall at Christmas 1975. It was a huge success. The first major sell-out was at Rendezvous in 1976 in the Elks Hall.

A June fair at Rotary Park was not near as successful as the others had been. Members also tried selling at Discovery Days in Dawson City, but it wasn’t much of a sale, although Mike remembered that the members had a whale of a time anyway!

The size of fairs soon outgrew the Elks Hall and the Society moved to the old Whitehorse Recreation Centre at the top of Two Mile Hill, which has now become the Transportation Museum. The sale moved around to different school gyms for the Christmas and spring sales, with a summer sale at Rotary Park during Canada Day celebrations.

As Spruce Bog became more popular with the public the membership also grew. Soon the only choice of location was the F.H. Collins gym. Eventually the adjoining cafeteria was used as well. This was Spruce Bog’s home for many years.

In 2006 the Executive researched the possibility of moving the sale to the newly built Canada Games Centre. After much discussion the decision was made to try the facility for one year. The larger, airier space was preferred by vendors and customers alike and the Spruce Bog Christmas Craft Sale found a new home.

We hope to celebrate many more Christmases with wonderful craft sales of handmade gifts. We are proud of our talented members and the high quality and professional grade products they offer for sale.