Education from elementary to post-secondary is available in Whitehorse. There are ten elementary schools, including one with a French immersion program, and three secondary schools. Whitehorse also has a French-language school that offers both elementary and secondary education. Like all Yukon schools, the core curriculum (80%) follows the British Columbia Ministry of Education curriculum, and students are eligible to write B.C. departmental exams. The community also has a number of daycare centres and family day homes. Two schools operate after-school care programs. The Child Development Centre offers services for pre-school children with special needs.
Ayamdigut Campus, the largest campus of Yukon College, is located in Whitehorse. It offers university credit programs in arts, sciences, and northern studies, as well as programs in renewable resource management and environmental officer training. Trades programs are available for apprentice-level and pre-employment training. Computer studies, business administration, office administration, tourism and culinary arts are available. Health and human services programs include early childhood development, community support worker, and home support worker/nursing home attendant. In addition, cooperative arrangements with other institutions allow students to obtain bachelor's degrees in social work and education, and master's degrees in public administration. Academic upgrading is available for those who wish to finish high school, or prepare for further studies. Using a variety of distance education technologies, including videoconferencing, courses are available throughout the Yukon.
The campus features a lecture theatre and many classrooms, laboratories, computer labs, on-campus residences and a childcare centre. Yukon College has an academic library with 33,000 book titles, as well as periodicals, videos, audiocassettes, CD-ROMS and online databases. The library is available to the public for an annual fee. It has reciprocal sharing agreements with the Yukon's other libraries, as well as an inter-library loan system that extends outside the Yukon.
The Northern Research Institute, housed at Ayamdigut, serves to promote and coordinate research in the Yukon. Many instructors at the college are also active researchers in a variety of fields. Yukon College is also a member of the University of the Arctic, an international network of higher-education institutions around the circumpolar north.
A full range of health care services is available in Whitehorse. Whitehorse General hospital has about 50 beds and a staff of approximately 111 nurses. The hospital includes maternity care. First Nations Health Programs are in place in the hospital, with a mandate to ensure that health care provided to First Nations people is culturally sensitive. More than 60 physicians (including specialists) have practices in Whitehorse, and a further 98 (including locums) are licensed in the Yukon. The latter group, many of them specialists, provides itinerant services in Whitehorse. Dentists' services are readily available, as is a full-time ambulance service. There are also two extended-care facilities, seniors' housing and a senior citizens' centre.
The Yukon Family Services Association and the Yukon Housing Corporation provide services from their main offices in Whitehorse, and the YTG Health and Social Services department provides a range of services in the Whitehorse area. A women's transition house, Kaushee's Place, provides emergency shelter as well as longer-term housing assistance and counselling services.
The Kwanlin Dun First Nation and Ta'an Kwach'an Council provide a range of social services to their members, including social assistance and elder care.
The Yukon and federal government departments have their main offices in Whitehorse and provide a full range of individual and business services.
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) has a full-service office in Whitehorse.
The RCMP provides policing with a staff at the Yukon headquarters of about 40 officers, including an inspector and First Nation community constables. An aircraft section of the RCMP, based at Whitehorse, has one aircraft. The RCMP also has a satellite office in McIntyre subdivision. Probation services are provided in Whitehorse. Whitehorse is also the location of the Territory's main correctional centre, a secure facility for young offenders, and a halfway house.
The City of Whitehorse has a fire department with a chief, 20 full-time staff, and approximately 30 volunteer firefighters. The fire department operates from two well-equipped fire halls.
A 911 service is available in Whitehorse and surrounding areas for emergency police, fire, and ambulance responses.
The Yukon Electrical Co. Ltd. supplies hydroelectric power from the Whitehorse Rapids dam at Schwatka Lake.
Canada Post flies mail in daily; mail is also trucked in five times a week. Local Internet access is available from a number of Internet service providers. Northwestel provides a full range of telephone services in Whitehorse.
Whitehorse Transit provides public bus transportation, including a Handi-Bus service. Several taxi companies also operate in Whitehorse.
Full library services are available at the Whitehorse Public Library, including Internet access for the public.
Full banking services are available in Whitehorse, with all major Canadian banks represented.
All-weather highways connect Whitehorse to all Yukon communities except Old Crow. Whitehorse is also linked to Alaska and southern Canada by the Alaska Highway and the Stewart/Cassiar Highway. There is road access to the Alaskan ports of Skagway and Haines. The Dempster Highway provides access to the Mackenzie Delta area of the Northwest Territories.
Whitehorse International Airport has three paved runways and is maintained year-round; it is a Canada Customs port of entry. Daily scheduled jet service, along with extra seasonal services, connects Whitehorse and southern Canadian cities. International flights from Germany occur in the summer months. Air service is also available from Whitehorse to most Yukon communities, to Inuvik, Yellowknife and Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories, and to Juneau and Fairbanks in Alaska. Helicopter charter service is available through several companies based in Whitehorse. Float-plane facilities are available at Schwatka Lake.
Regular freight service is provided by truck between Whitehorse and southern population centres, and several local carriers provide freight service within the Territory.
Whitehorse offers a wide variety of recreation facilities, including ice arenas, outdoor skating rinks, a curling rink, a downhill ski facility, a dog mushing track, a bowling alley, a stock car racing track, cinemas, golf courses, and a ski chalet and cross-country ski trails, some of which are lighted for night skiing. The city also has a squash club, several fitness clubs, biathlon/rifle and pistol ranges, and equestrian show grounds. In addition, Whitehorse has a new aquatic centre, soccer fields, tennis courts, outdoor basketball courts, baseball diamonds, and many parks and playgrounds. An electric trolley extends along part of the Whitehorse riverfront. The Yukon River is popular with canoe and kayak enthusiasts. Hiking and cycling trails link most parts of the city and offer access to surrounding wilderness areas.
A host society has been established for the 2007 Canada Winter Games, the first such competition to be held north of 60. The city's cultural facilities include the Yukon Arts Centre, which houses a modern theatre/concert hall and an art gallery. The Guild Hall is a smaller theatre combined with a dance studio. Yukon artists and craftspeople are featured in the Yukon Government Building's art collection, on display in the foyer, and at the Captain Martin House gallery, as well as in a number of local stores and an artists' cooperative. The Yukon's history and prehistory are displayed at the MacBride Museum, the Yukon Transportation Museum, the Beringia Interpretive Centre, the S.S. Klondike National Historic Site, the Roundhouse and at several other heritage sites.
Whitehorse has an active retail sector, with several major chain stores as well as many locally-owned businesses. The majority of retail activity is centred in the city's downtown, although some businesses are located in other parts of the city. Whitehorse has one major indoor mall and one department store, several smaller indoor and strip malls, and numerous individual stores. Whitehorse retail outlets offer a variety of products, including clothing, electronics, music, footwear, photography supplies, hardware, sports wear and equipment, craft supplies, computers, home appliances, and furniture. Other specialty stores offer bed and bath supplies, chocolates, pet supplies, greeting cards, building and construction supplies, lottery tickets, sewing and quilting supplies, knitting supplies, flowers, gifts, wine and beer making supplies, locally-made soaps and automotive parts. A Thrift Shop and a number of other stores sell used items, such as women's, maternity, and children's clothing, music, videos, books, and sports equipment.
Six major grocery stores and many convenience stores are located throughout the city, as well as health food stores, a few specialty bakeries, and two delis.
Visitors to Whitehorse can choose from seven major hotels and more than 15 smaller motels and hotels. Most are open year round. More than 17 B&B establishments are located in and just outside the city. Some are operated seasonally; others are open year round. Hostels, campgrounds and RV parks are also available in the city and the surrounding area.
Whitehorse has more than 50 restaurants serving a wide variety of foods. Many major chain restaurants are represented, in addition to locally-owned restaurants. These restaurants serve everything from fast food to various kinds of international cuisine. Specialty coffee is available, along with a wide array of food items and cooking styles. Most restaurants in Whitehorse are open throughout the year.
More than 12 service stations and fuel companies are located in Whitehorse, offering gasoline, propane and other automobile fuels, home heating fuels, and automotive repairs and servicing.