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Fax: 867.393.6201

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Whitehorse, YT Y1A 2B7


William Ogilvie

William Ogilvie Picture

Term of Office: 1898 (July 4) – 1901 (March) 

Preceded by: James Morrow Walsh

Succeeded by: James Hamilton Ross


Born: 1846 (April 7), Ottawa, Ontario

Died: 1912 (November 13), Winnipeg, Manitoba


  • The first Commissioner of Yukon Territory.  Some may consider him the second Commissioner, however the previous Commissioner presided over Yukon when it was a district of the  Northwest Territories.
  • Before becoming Commissioner of Yukon he was a land surveyor working in Western and Northern Canada. 
  • In 1895 he was commissioned to make all the required surveys for town sites, mining claims and mineral deposits in Yukon.
  • He surveyed the Yukon and Porcupine rivers, the Chilkoot Pass, the boarder of Yukon and Alaska as well as Dawson City.
  • He gave Dawson City its name, naming it after his former supervisor, George Mercer Dawson.
  • With no official residence in place for the Commissioner of Yukon in Dawson, William Ogilvie and his 17 office staff all lived in a cramped cabin next to his rented office.
  • With no municipal government he was also the Mayor, City Engineer and Fire Chief of Dawson City.
  • With the introduction of taxes in Yukon there were complaints that there was taxation but no elected representation.  Ogilvie said he was in favour of an elected council and two elected councilors were approved by Ottawa.
  • As Commissioner of Yukon he created a drainage system in Dawson, took steps to reduce deforestation and encouraged road development.
  • He resigned in February 1901 due to poor health.