Yellowknife is the capital of the Northwest Territories (NWT), located in Canada’s sub-arctic region. While I was there in November, it marked the beginning of the extra cold winter season with temperatures ranging from -20 to -35 degrees Celsius. Luckily, I wasn’t there over Christmas when it got down to -40 that year.
While Yellowknife is a cold place, the people are anything but cold. The community is filled with a warmth and cheer that constantly put a smile on my face.
Being the capital of the NWT and major hub of the north, many travel to Yellowknife for government meetings and through Yellowknife onto their final destination. This certainly makes for an interesting walk through the main streets of Yellowknife observing Inuit and First Nation women in their traditional dress of furs keeping warm in the brutally cold winter. I learnt so much about the Inuit and First Nation communities during my time in the north and left feeling truly blessed that I had the opportunity to go there. If you do have a chance to visit Canada’s northern communities, please do yourself a favour and do it, you won’t regret it.
Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights
Yellowknife is a popular place to view the northern lights. Japanese tourists are by far the most common travellers to this region as they believe if their child is conceived under the northern lights the child will have good luck and intelligence. Unfortunately during my three work visits to the region, I did not see the lights.
Bush Pilot Monument
Take a drive to the highest peak in Yellowknife, the rocky Bush Pilot Monument. The rock as it is also known is a great vantage point for watching kite-surfing and ski-doing in the winter and in the summer watch the flow planes land on the water.
This is me trying to move my face muscles to smile in -20 degrees Celsius on top of the Bush Pilot Monument.
Dog sledding is another popular tourist activity for visitors to the area. There are a few local people running businesses who can arrange dog sledding tours. While I didn’t do dog sledding in Yellowknife, I did while in Ontario and it was a surreal experience being towed by a pack of dogs, running with them up slopes through Algonquin National Park. More on that later.
Local arts and crafts
Yellowknife is home to an artistic bunch of individuals who are talented in a range of arts and crafts. Visit one of the many galleries in Yellowknife that feature local paintings and art along with traditional crafts, beading and clothing.
Old Town is Yellowknife’s historical core. You can still see clearly how Yellowknife would have been many moons ago. I was fascinated with the place so bought the book below to remember my time in this remarkable place.
Take a drive through the various communities of Yellowknife from the mansions, to electric homes in Old Town to the small wooden shacks along the water coming out of Old Town.
The Yellowknife Airport is a sight in itself. Check out the stuffed polar bear in the arrivals area and local crafts in the airport shop.
I’d suggest flying. Both Air Canada and West Jet fly to Yellowknife from Calgary and Edmonton.
Good bye Yellowknife! Until next time.