Grandma Treesaw’s Yukon Bannock is getting prepared for the U.S. North West market!

2020 YUKONSTRUCT BOOTCAMP KICKOFF – Photo by Alistair Maitland Photography

Teresa Ward, owner of Grandma Treesaw’s Yukon Bannock and recent graduate of Yukonstruct Startup Bootcamp, has been invited by the Trade Commissioner Service’s British Columbia-Yukon office and Seattle office to participate in a pilot project.

Teresa is the only participant from the Yukon, along with 5 other indigenous-owned companies from British Columbia.

This is a pilot project with room for only 6 indigenous-owned small companies that are in food, beverages or consumer goods, with enough ability to produce and motivation to actively get prepared for the U.S. North West market.

This pilot-program will support the participants with a range of export services in order to establish goals and objectives for Washington State market entry, organize meetings with retailers, develop appropriate marketing material and set up an e-commerce avenue for Canadian companies to sustain follow-up sales in Washington State and Oregon.

Teresa is of the Crow Clan, born and raised with Tlingit traditions. She produces and distributes bannock mix throughout many Yukon retailers.

Teresa graduated from Yukonstruct Startup Bootcamp last spring and continues to be supported by the Yukonstruct team since then. Yukonstruct Startup Bootcamp is an intensive 3-month program for early-stage entrepreneurs to develop and validate their business idea. The next cohort will start in September, Yukon startups and entrepreneurs have until August 21st to apply. This program is funded by the Government of Yukon – department of Economic Development and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.

Home Hardware Woodshop Orientations

The possibilities in our Makespace are unlimited!

Thanks to our partnership with Whitehorse Home Hardware Building Centre, our community has access to the first shared woodshop in the Yukon! The Whitehorse Home Hardware Building Centre Woodshop is a vital space that sees a lot of use, so partners like Home Hardware truly help our programs, projects, and community members get real value from training and equipment, as well as a place to build, learn and share knowledge.

Our monthly Woodshop Orientations set up new members with the basic safety info they need to make the Whitehorse Home Hardware Building Centre Woodshop the place where their ambitions become reality.

Check out our Makespace and book your New Member Orientation to get started.

Meet our Members: Erin Holm of Den Designs

Erin Holm is one of our lovely Makespace members who encompasses so much what Yukonstruct aims to support. A maker and an entrepreneur, she makes beautiful art and home décor pieces for her business, Den Designs, in our Makespace.

Here she shares some of her thoughts and experiences of being a Yukonstruct member, an artist, and an entrepreneur.

Why did you join Yukonstruct?

I was working out of a great shop in Saskatoon before moving up, really enjoying the community and shared space environment. Particularly because Den Designs was my only job before moving to the Yukon, and I lacked an office or work social life. I had heard great things were happening up in the Yukon and could not wait to check out Yukonstruct. I think I toured the space day 2 of being in the Yukon and Lana sold me on it instantly – signed up right then and there! Yukonstruct is an impressive space with lovely, helpful people in a positive and supportive environment.

What has been your favourite project so far?

Wood prints using my own photography is the main focus of my business and my primary income for the business. When I had more space and a backyard, I loved making industrial and wood tables using a mixture of plumbing pipes and reclaimed wood. Working out of Yukonstruct and seeing what others are making, I now know that once I have some more time freed up, I can get back into making these larger items and am really looking forward to it!

What advice do you have for other makers in the Yukon?

I am new to the Yukon so cannot speak directly to this market yet, but, I would say that any maker really needs to be open to learning from others. Mentorship is key! I have been very fortunate in my life to have gone to school with, and connected with, other entrepreneurs along the way. It is great to hear from others’ experience and gleam knowledge where you can. So far, I can tell that the Yukon is a unique place, filled with very talented makers, artists, and entrepreneurs alike. I feel very blessed to be here and cannot wait to meet like-minded folks and explore collaboration and partnership opportunities.

What inspires you to make things?

I started Den Designs in 2017, following the loss of my father Dennis to a rare cancer. He had given me his hand tools and I used them to create these prints and other home decor pieces as a means of coping with the grief during the time I spent caring for him while he was sick. After he passed, I continued to create these prints and other artful pieces using my own photography and designs and selling them to friends and other folks. Within the first year, my art was sold at 10 retail locations, now going into my third year of business, you can find Den Designs in over 25 retail locations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and now the Yukon. We donate 10% of every sale to western Canadian cancer patient lodges, supporting those undergoing cancer treatment in honour and in memory of my later father, Dennis.

What are you working on now?

Den Designs is business as usual, I work most evenings and weekends at Yukonstruct to create prints for my retailers and other customers. And this summer, our first ever storefront is opening at Carcross Commons and we cannot wait to share the space with Yukon Built! We are very busy prepping for a very busy summer ahead! Come on down to our shop this summer, located right beside the Bistro!


Building an Allsky Camera

Thomas is a YuKonstruct member who loves looking up at the night sky. You might remember his previous post on building a telescope from scratch. Recently, the Klondike Visitors Association purchased one of the allsky cameras he developed and had it installed in Dawson City. It is the first camera in the Yukon Astronomical Society’s future Yukon Allsky Camera Network!

Like a lot of people, I love watching and taking photographs of the northern lights. I always have a hard time getting back in the house and going to bed because I feel that I’m missing out on a great show. “What if there is a geomagnetic storm in the next 15 minutes?” Still, I can’t spend every night outside in the cold. On top of that, I have a day job that requires me to have at least one eye open during 8 hours.

In order to keep my sleep pattern happy and reduce my fear of missing out on the activity above my house, I decided to build a camera that would make a short movie of the entire sky and send it to my website in the morning so that I could watch how active the aurora had been during the night.


Northern lights are large colorful curtains of light stretching across the sky. It’s quite hard to fit them in the frame of a single photograph. Some people stitch multiple pictures or use wide angle lenses in order to capture the whole show. But individual pictures don’t show the way the aurora borealis flows, unrolls, dims and pulsates. Taking a serie of images and making a timelapse video was the only reasonable way for me to capture the whole information.

In order to build such a camera, I decided to use an astronomy camera (ASI224MC). It has a USB connection and is extremely sensitive to low light. I slapped a fisheye lens (180 degrees) on it to view the entire sky. My first thought was to place the camera outside and run a cable to the house computer through a window. I quickly realized it wouldn’t be very practical and it would anger my roommates to pay a huge electrical bill if I left the window open for the entire winter season. Instead, I decided to bring the computer outside. A Raspberry Pi was perfect for the job. It is small but it’s still a computer with enough power. I created an enclosure from a 4” ABS sewer pipe and ran an extension cord to it. That was it for the prototype. I had just built an “all-sky wireless camera”.

But that wasn’t the end of it. The software part was probably the most time consuming. First, I had to re-learn C++ in order to modify the example code that was provided with the software development kit of the camera manufacturer. Then I had to find a way to stitch all the thousand images from the previous night into a short video. Then I had to automate this video generation, archiving and uploading. After some trials and a few fails, I ended up with a fully automated camera that posted a new video everyday based on the time of sunrise and sunset. The only downtime was caused by construction workers cutting the fibre cable down south or the occasional critter frying itself on an ATCO transformer.

In the end, since I wanted to share that project, I posted an Instructable on how to build your own wireless allsky camera. The popularity of the post lead me to share the whole code on GitHub with an very permissive open source license.

Since then, a lot a people across the world have built their own allsky camera based on my design. Recently, the Klondike Visitors Association in Dawson City purchase the first camera produced by the Yukon Astronomical Society.