Rolf Hougen's father came to the Yukon in 1906 following the trail of '98 to the gold fields of Dawson, in the Klondike.
The peak of the gold rush was over and in 1909 he joined the throngs of people that migrated to Alaska where he established
a hotel in Cripple Creek. Returning to his native Norway in 1913 he met and married Margarethe. They emigrated to Canada
in 1914, eventually settling in the Yukon.
Rolf worked before and after school in the small 600 square foot store that was started by the family. He took over
management when he was 19 years old. In 1946, the store moved from Wood St. and Second Ave. to the White Pass Hotel building
at Main and Front St. By 1949 a much larger building was acquired across from the ball park. This allowed for the
expansion of a wider range of products. The store was partially destroyed by fire in 1952 but Rolf decided to expand the
damaged building during its repair and acquired the bowling alley next door, again allowing for the addition of a
larger selection of merchandise. Eventually, after this cycle of growth, the store became the Yukon's largest retailer.
Rolf would then marry Margaret Van Dyke in 1955, and after a 4 month honeymoon in Europe, began a family that grew to
six children and eighteen grandchildren- all of whom now live in Whitehorse.
In addition to a 75,000 square foot department store known as the Hougen Centre, the Hougen Group expanded to include
a radio station, a cable TV company, a Ford dealership, real estate, electronics and furniture dealerships, sporting good
outlets and more.
Although his heart is in the Yukon, Rolf's interests reach far from there...into space in fact. He is the visionary and
co-founder behind the satellite delivery network—Cancom—the first company in the world to provide a unique
system to deliver radio and television to remote and underserved regions of Canada. He has served on numerous boards
of directors in corporations, voluntary organizations across Canada and held the chairman position of the Canadian
Chamber of Commerce.
Margaret and Rolf have travelled extensively to most parts of the world and, Yukoners to the core, always come home.