The recipients for the 125 Prize were unveiled at an event yesterday evening at the Whitehorse Visitor Information Centre. Three projects will be sharing the $250,000 prize and represent a variety of activities and pursuits celebrating the Yukon.
The 125 Prize is a unique, one-time opportunity for Yukoners to achieve something extraordinary, whether an individual pursuit or a collective project.
The three prize project recipients are:
The Kluane Compositions – Matthew Lien ($125,000)
It’s Weird Up Here: A celebration of small achievements – Tedd Tucker and Amy Kenny ($79,305)
Yukon Alpine Climbing – First Ascent – John Serjeantson ($18,903)
A selection committee comprising a range of community members from across the territory determined the recipients.
Projects will take place throughout 2024. Beginning in March, recipients will share their progress through a host of social media formats. Follow along with each project as they showcase the North and highlight the Yukon’s spirit of adventure, artistry and innovation. The prize’s aim is to inspire the next generation of Yukoners to be bold and creative and to entice others to experience the magic of this place.
Congratulations to the three 125 Prize recipients! Seeing these ideas unfold in the upcoming year will be truly incredible. I encourage all Yukoners to follow along on social media and be inspired by these three innovative and bold pursuits. Thank you to everyone who applied to this special fund and for taking part in commemorating the 125th anniversary of the Yukon joining Canadian Confederation.
Minister of Tourism and Culture John Streicker
40 years ago, I had this idea to compose a song about Kluane National Park and airlift a grand piano into the park for a music video. I never accomplished the project, but the idea remained and grew over the decades to include Diyet, who profoundly represents the park's incredible Indigenous culture, and to expand the music into three movements representing the park's distinct ecosystems. It's unbelievable and yet somehow fateful, to have this opportunity to celebrate the Yukon's most majestic wilderness with Diyet and together create an epic production.
125 Prize recipient Matthew Lien
I relish this idea of Matthew’s and I, to create something new in these beautiful mountains. To me, this is what looking at truth, reconciling that truth and moving forward together looks like.
125 Prize recipient Diyet van Lieshout
Our project is a written and illustrated account of 125 years of undertold Yukon stories, big and small. It's like if John Hughes gave the reins of Weird Science to Tedd Tucker and Amy Kenny and, instead of a teen rom-com, the movie ended up being about two nerds frankensteining a high school yearbook together with comics, PostSecret, and a Pierre Berton anthology. Can you imagine traditional publishing avenues funding that pitch? Obviously not! That's why we're extra excited the Yukon 125 Prize did. This funding will allow us to create a book that defies established genre, where we can share some of the stories we've been talking to each other about for years.
125 Prize recipients Tedd Tucker and Amy Kenny
We're hoping to accomplish the first ascent of a route on one of the most striking mountains in southern Yukon, Radelet Peak. Ever since moving to the Yukon the peak has held mythical status for me, with no successful attempt to scale the steep rock around it. I can't wait to see it in person and be engrossed in the unique natural environment. As a working professional, the Yukon 125 funding makes a huge difference by giving me the ability to fly into the site. This will allow me to save precious time and energy and also to bring in more gear which makes a successful climb that much more likely.
125 Prize recipient John Serjeantson
The 125 Prize had a two-stage application process. A brief Expression of Interest form was open until August 4. Applicants selected to proceed to the second application stage process provided a full proposal including a detailed budget and a two-minute video explaining their idea. The videos were shared on Yukon.ca from October 20 to November 3, 2023.
The department received 93 eligible expressions of interest, and a review process resulted in 17 projects that were invited to proceed to the second stage. Fourteen proposals were received during the second stage and through a review process narrowed them to the final 10.
The three successful projects will take place over 2024 with social media content beginning in March.
The Yukon’s anniversary is being commemorated from June 13, 2023 – 125 years from when the territory joined Confederation to June 13, 2024, rather than the calendar year of 2023.
The Kluane Compositions
Inspired by Kluane landscapes and Indigenous culture, a hybrid, three-movement music composition featuring Southern Tutchone Indigenous, MOR and classical music styles is to be created. A grand piano will be helicoptered into Kluane National Park to be featured in the compositions' 10-minute music video.
Lead: Matthew Lien
Team members: Diyet van Lieshout, Katherine McCallum, Kirsti Wallace, Melvin Lagersson
Facebook – Matthew Lien Music: https://www.facebook.com/MatthewLienMusic
Instagram – @matthew_lien_music: https://www.instagram.com/matthew_lien_music/
Youtube – Matthew Lien Music: https://www.youtube.com/@MatthewLienMusic
It’s Weird Up Here: A celebration of small achievements
Through archival deep-dives, micro-film hunts, museum visits and interviews with seasoned Yukoners, stories will be shared that may not have made front-page news, but should have. Think of the project as a yearbook Frankensteined together with a Pierre Berton anthology.
Lead: Tedd Tucker and Amy Kenny
Team member: Rae Mombourquette
Instagram – @weirduphere: https://www.instagram.com/itsweirduphere/
Facebook – It’s Weird Up Here: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=61555697650759]
Yukon Alpine Climbing – First Ascent
A climbing team will attempt to perform the first ascent of an alpine rock route "Radelet Arete" in southern Yukon. If successful, a safe, high-quality alpine rock climb will be established for Yukoners and visitors to enjoy.
Lead: John Serjeantson
Team members: Zach Clanton and Rob Cohen
Instagram – @j.serj: https://www.instagram.com/j.serj/
Youtube – John Serjeantson: https://www.youtube.com/@JohnSerjeantson