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Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Somba K'e
Downtown Yellowknife in early June


Coat of arms
Nickname(s): The Knife, YK
Motto: Multum In Parvo (Much In Little)
Coordinates: 62°27′N 114°24′W / 62.45°N 114.4°W / 62.45; -114.4
Country Flag of Canada.svg Canada
Territory Flag of the Northwest Territories.svg Northwest Territories
Region North Slave Region
Established 1936/1937
 - City Mayor Gordon Van Tighem
 - Governing Body Yellowknife City Council
 - MPs
 - MLAs
 - Total 136 km2 (84.5 sq mi)
Elevation 206 m (675 ft)
Population (2006)[1]
 - Total 18,700
 Density 157.2/km2 (407.1/sq mi)
 - 2008 city est. 19,155
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 - Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
Canadian Postal code X1A
Area code(s) 867
Telephone Exchanges 444 445 446 669 765 766 767 873 920 999
NTS Map 085J08
Website City of Yellowknife

Yellowknife (pronounced /ˈjɛloʊnaɪf/) (2006 population: 18,700[1]) is the capital of the Northwest Territories (NWT), Canada. It is located on the north shore of Great Slave Lake, approximately 400 km (250 mi) south of the Arctic Circle, on the west side of Yellowknife Bay near the outlet of the Yellowknife River. Yellowknife and its surrounding water bodies were named after the local Yellowknives Dene First Nation, who made tools from regional copper deposits. The current population is ethnically mixed. Of the eleven official languages of the Northwest Territories, five are spoken in significant numbers in Yellowknife: Dene Suline, Dogrib, South and North Slavey, English, and French. In the Dogrib language, the city is known as Somba K'e ("where the money is").[2]

Yellowknife was first settled in 1935, after gold had been found in the area; Yellowknife soon became the centre of economic activity in the NWT, and became the capital of the Northwest Territories in 1967. As gold production began to wane, Yellowknife shifted from being a mining town to being a centre of government services in the 1980s. However, with the discovery of diamonds north of Yellowknife in 1991,[3] this shift has begun to reverse.



Traditionally, First Nations people had occupied this region; by the 1930s they had a settlement on a point of land on the east side of Yellowknife Bay, Dettah.[4] The current municipal area of Yellowknife was occupied by prospectors who ventured into the region in the mid-1930s.[5]

A Klondike-bound prospector, B.A. Blakeney, made the first discovery of gold in the Yellowknife Bay area in the late 19th century. The discovery was viewed as unimportant in those days because of the Klondike Gold Rush and because Great Slave Lake was too far away to attract attention.[6]

In the late 1920s, aircraft were first used to explore Canada's Arctic regions. Samples of uranium and silver were uncovered at Great Bear Lake in the early 1930s, and prospectors began fanning out to find additional metals.[7] In 1933 two prospectors, Herb Dixon and Johnny Baker, canoed down the Yellowknife River from Great Bear Lake to survey for possible mineral deposits. They found gold samples at Quyta Lake, about 30 km (19 mi) up the Yellowknife River, and some additional samples at Homer Lake.[8]

The following year, Johnny Baker returned as part of a larger crew to develop the previous gold finds and search for more. Gold was found on the east side of Yellowknife Bay in 1934 and the short-lived Burwash Mine was developed. When government geologists uncovered gold in more favourable geology on the west side of Yellowknife Bay in the fall of 1935, a small staking rush occurred.[9] Con Mine was the most impressive gold deposit and its development created the excitement that led to the first settlement of Yellowknife in 1936–1937; the mine entered production on September 5, 1938.

Yellowknife in the 1940s or 50s.

The population of Yellowknife quickly grew to 1,000 by 1940, and by 1942, five gold mines were in production in the Yellowknife region. However, by 1944, gold production had ground to a halt as men were needed for the war effort. An exploration program at the Giant Mine property on the north end of town had suggested a sizable gold deposit in 1944. This new find resulted in a massive post-war staking rush to Yellowknife.[10] It also resulted in new discoveries at the Con Mine, greatly extending the life of the mine. The Yellowknife townsite expanded from the Old Town waterfront, and the new townsite was established during 1945–1946. The Discovery Mine, with its own townsite, operated 81 km (50 mi) to the north-northeast of Yellowknife from 1950 to 1969.[11]

Between 1939 and 1953, Yellowknife was controlled by the Northern Affairs department (now Indian and Northern Affairs Canada) of the Government of Canada. A small council, partially elected and partially appointed, made decisions. By 1953, Yellowknife had grown so much that it was made a municipality, with its own council and town hall. The first mayor of Yellowknife was John "Jock" McNiven. In September 1967, Yellowknife officially became the capital of the Northwest Territories. This important new status sparked what has been coined as the third boom in Yellowknife. New sub-divisions were established to house an influx of government workers.[12]

In 1978 the Soviet nuclear-powered satellite Cosmos 954 crashed to Earth near Yellowknife. There were no known casualties, although a small quantity of radioactive nuclear fuel was released into the environment, and Operation Morning Light—an attempt to retrieve it—was only partially successful.[13] A new mining rush and fourth building boom for Yellowknife began with the discovery of diamonds 300 km (190 mi) north of the city in 1991.[14] The last of the gold mines in Yellowknife closed in 2004. Today, Yellowknife is primarily a government town and a service centre for the diamond mines. On April 1, 1999, its purview as capital of the NWT was reduced when the territory of Nunavut was split from the NWT. As a result, jurisdiction for that region of Canada was transferred to the new capital city of Iqaluit. Consequently, Yellowknife lost its standing as the Canadian capital city with the smallest population.[15]

Law and government

Northwest Territories Legislative Building.

Yellowknife has a municipal government system and is governed by the Yellowknife City Council, which consists of an elected Mayor and eight Councillors.[16] The Government of the Northwest Territories delegates powers to the municipality through legislative acts and regulations. Council meetings are held in the Council Chambers at City Hall on the second and fourth Monday of each month, and are open to the public. Municipal elections are held every three years.[17] The current mayor of Yellowknife is Gordon Van Tighem. [18]

Yellowknife is represented in the territorial government by seven of the 19 Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories (MLAs). These MLAs are elected every four years and sit in the Northwest Territories Legislative Building, located in Yellowknife. The MLAs elect the Speaker of the House as well as six Cabinet Ministers and the Premier, which forms the Cabinet.[19] In addition, a Commissioner is appointed by the Federal Government to fulfill a similar role to that of the Lieutenant Governor.[20] The Northwest Territories is one of only two federal, provincial or territorial jurisdictions in Canada that operates under a consensus system of government.[19]

The Northwest Territories is in the federal electoral riding of the Western Arctic and has one Member of Parliament and one Senator, currently Dennis Bevington and Nick Sibbeston, respectively.[21][22] Yellowknife is home to seven of the 19 electoral districts in the Northwest Territories, the Frame Lake, Great Slave, Kam Lake, Range Lake, Weledeh, Yellowknife Centre and Yellowknife South ridings.[23]


Buildings at Giant Mine

As the largest city in the Northwest Territories, Yellowknife is the hub for mining, industry, transportation, communications, education, health, tourism, commerce, and government activity in the territory.[24] Historically, Yellowknife's economic growth came from gold mining, and later government; however, because of falling gold prices and increased operating costs, the final gold mine closed in 2004, marking a turning point for Yellowknife's economy.[25]

After a downturn in the 1990s during the closure of the gold mines and the downsizing of the government workforce in 1999, Yellowknife's economy has recovered, largely because of the diamond boom;[25] the Ekati Diamond Mine, owned and operated by BHP Billiton, opened in 1998.[26] A second mine, Diavik Diamond Mine, began production in 2003.[27] Production from the two operating mines in 2004 was 12,618,000 carats (2,524 kg; 5,564 lb), valued at over C$2.1 billion. This ranked Canada third in world diamond production by value, and sixth by weight. A third mine, De Beers' Snap Lake Diamond Mine, received final approval and funding in 2005 and went into production in 2007.[28] De Beers also applied in 2005 for a permit to open the Gahcho Kue Diamond Mine Project on the property formerly known as Kennady Lake. Upon receipt of approval, construction is expected to start in 2010 and the mine will reach full production by 2012.[29] As well, growth and expansion in natural gas development and exploration sectors has contributed to this growth. Economic growth in the Northwest Territories was 10.6% in 2003.[30]

The major employers in Yellowknife include: the Territorial Government, the Federal Government, Diavik Diamond Mines Incorporated (a subsidiary of Rio Tinto Group)/Harry Winston Diamond Corporation, BHP Billiton, First Air, NorthwesTel, RTL Robinson Trucking, and the City of Yellowknife. Government employment accounts for 7,644 jobs, a large percentage of those in Yellowknife.[31]

During winter, the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road is opened for semi-trailer truck traffic to take supplies from Yellowknife north to various mines located in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. This ice road is usually open from the end of January through late March or early April, and Yellowknife becomes the dispatch point for the large number of truck drivers that come north to drive on the ice roads. During the 2007 ice road season, several drivers were featured on the History Channel TV series Ice Road Truckers.

The Aurora Borealis over Yellowknife.

Tourism is the largest renewable industry in the NWT and Yellowknife is the main entry point for visitors. Many of these tourists are Japanese, and come to experience the Northern climate and traditional lifestyle, as well as to see the Northern Lights. In 2004-05, visitors to the territory spent C$100.5 million.[17]

The City of Yellowknife raises 50% of its operating revenue through property taxation. Yellowknife School Districts also raise a portion of their operating revenue through property taxation. Property taxes in Yellowknife are calculated through property assessment and the municipal and education mill rates. Mill rates in 2005 were 13.84 (residential) and 19.87 (commercial).[17]

Canadian North, a regional airline, is headquartered in Yellowknife.[32]

Regional mines

Yellowknife was originally established as a supply center for numerous gold mines operating in the region in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The following is a list of the major mines, all of which are now closed. There were also tungsten, tantalum, and uranium mines in the vicinity. Most mines in the Yellowknife area are within the Kam Group, a part of the Yellowknife greenstone belt.[33]

Aerial photo of Con Mine
Buildings at north end of Giant Mine site
Mine Years of Operation Minerals Mined
Con Mine (includes Rycon) 1938–2003 gold
Giant Mine 1948–2004 gold
Ptarmigan and Tom Mine 1941–1942, 1985–1997 gold
Negus Mine 1939–1952 gold
Burwash Mine 1935 gold
Thompson-Lundmark Mine 1941–1943, 1947–1949 gold
Discovery Mine 1950–1969 gold
Camlaren Mine 1962–1963, 1980–1981 gold
Beaulieu Mine 1947–1948 gold
Outpost Island Mine 1941–1942, 1951–1952 gold, copper, tungsten
Ruth Mine 1942, 1959 gold
Rayrock Mine 1957–1959 uranium

Climate and physical geography

Yellowknife has a semi-arid subarctic climate[37] and averages less than 300 mm (12 in) of precipitation annually, as the city lies in the rain shadow of mountain ranges to the west.[38] Thanks to its location on Great Slave Lake, Yellowknife has a frost-free growing season that averages slightly over 100 days.[39] Most of the limited precipitation falls between June and October, with April being the driest month of the year and August being the wettest. Snow that falls in winter accumulates on the ground until the spring thaw.

Climate data for Yellowknife
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 3.4
Average high °C (°F) -22.7
Average low °C (°F) -30.9
Record low °C (°F) -51.2
Precipitation mm (inches) 14.1
Source: Environment Canada[38] Jan 2007

Yellowknife is located on the Canadian Shield, which was scoured down to rock during the last ice age.[39] The surrounding landscape is very rocky and slightly rolling, with many small lakes in addition to the larger Great Slave Lake.[40] Trees such as pine and birch are abundant in the area, as are smaller bushes, but there are also many areas of relatively bare rock with lichen.[41] Yellowknife's high latitude cause a large variation between day and night. Daylight Hours range from five hours of daylight in December to twenty hours in June. Twilight lasts all night from late May to early July.


RCMP headquarters

Emergency services

Policing in Yellowknife is provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; Yellowknife is the headquarters for G Division, and houses more than 30 officers. Municipal enforcement services are provided by bylaw enforcement officers, who are employed by the city. The Yellowknife Fire Department handles the city's fire, ambulance, rescue, and hazardous materials responses.[42] A point of debate in recent years has been the implementation of 911 services in Yellowknife (currently one must dial one of two local numbers) through a partnership with five other Northwest Territories communities; the cost of installation is high (currently estimated at around $1 million a year), and there have been a number of incidents where emergency services have been either misdirected, or improperly dispatched.[43] Health services are provided through the local Stanton Territorial Hospital.

Utilities and services

Snow removal in Yellowknife

Electricity is provided to Yellowknife by Northland Utilities, serving 6,350 residential and 800 commercial customers. Yellowknife operates almost entirely on hydroelectricity from the Snare-Bluefish systems,[44] provided by the Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC). NTPC's local production capacity is 67.9 megawatts, 30.89MW from 10 generators at the Jackfish Diesel Plant, 28.8MW from Snare Lake, and 7.5MW from Miramar Bluefish.[45] The City of Yellowknife provides pressurized potable water throughout the majority of the city, and has a network of gravity-fed sewage lines; trucked water and sewage is provided in areas not serviced by piped infrastructure. Sewage, with the aid of lift stations, is pumped to a series of lakes, referred to as Fiddler's Lake Lagoon, where it is held and allowed to naturally decompose. Water is obtained from the Yellowknife River and is disinfected with chlorine and liquid fluoride is added, but is not otherwise filtered or treated.[46] Residential garbage removal is through a user pay system, in which residents are allowed three 77 l (17 imp gal; 20 US gal) garbage bags per week; any additional bags must have a purchased tag.[42] The City of Yellowknife Solid Waste Management Facility is located on the Ingraham Trail (Highway 4) 2 km (1.2 mi) north of the city;[47] salvaging is encouraged, and the dump is infamous for the number of still useful items often found in it.[48]


Yellowknife, while isolated geographically, has a modern transportation system. The Yellowknife Airport (IATA: YZF) is the busiest airport in northern Canada, having 70,699 aircraft movements in 2007 and handling over 400,000 passenger and 30,000 tonnes of cargo yearly.[49] It has two asphalt runways, one 7,500 ft (2,300 m) strip and another of 5,000 ft (1,500 m);[50] while the Yellowknife Airport is classified as an airport of entry by NAV CANADA and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency, it is certified for general aviation aircraft only.[51] However the airport can accommodate 747s and other wide-body aircraft for emergency landings.[52][53] Air traffic control services, ILS (Category 1), and radar services are provided by NAV CANADA.

Yellowknife Transit is the public transportation agency in the city, and is the only transit system in the Northwest Territories. [54]

Road construction in Yellowknife is often a challenge due to the presence of permafrost, and roads often need to be leveled and resurfaced every 10 to 20 years. All roads in Yellowknife are paved, and road width varies from 9 to 13.5 m (30 to 44 ft). During the winter, snow removal is done on a regular schedule by the City of Yellowknife.[42] Speed limits are 45 km/h (28 mph) on most roads, 30 km/h (19 mph) in school zones, and 70 km/h (43 mph) on highways. School zones and Playground zones are in effect 24 hours per day 7 days per week. The highway system in the NWT is maintained by the Government of the Northwest Territories. Highway 4 (Ingraham Trail) and Highway 3 (Yellowknife Highway) both run through Yellowknife and are all-weather roads.[42] One well-known, almost infamous, road in Yellowknife is Ragged Ass Road, after which Tom Cochrane named an album.


Yellowknife, like most other urban centres, has distinct commercial, industrial, and residential areas. Frame Lake, Niven Lake, Range Lake, and Old Town are the residential sectors, with some of the population living in high-rises in the downtown core. Niven Lake is the only area under active development and expansion.[55] Downtown Yellowknife is home to most of the city's commercial activity, though some retail does exist in Range Lake. Industrial activity is limited to the Kam Lake and airport subdivisions.[56]


Historical populations
Year Pop.  %±
Est. 1996 18,258
Est. 1997 18,306 0.3%
Est. 1998 17,671 -3.5%
Est. 1999 17,483 -1.1%
Est. 2000 17,415 -0.4%
Est. 2001 17,758 2.0%
Est. 2002 18,273 2.9%
Est. 2003 18,958 3.7%
Est. 2004 19,312 1.9%
Est. 2005 19,429 0.6%
Est. 2006 18,700 -3.8%

As of the 2005 city survey, there were 19,429 people and 5,795 households in the city.[57] The population density was 142.86 people/km² (369.85 people/sq. mi). The 2006 Census found that 22.2% of residents identified as aboriginal.[58]

In Yellowknife, the population is slightly disproportionate in terms of age distribution compared to the national average; the average age is 31.2, compared to a Canada-wide average of 39.5.[59] As of the 2005 survey, 15.2% of residents were 9 or under, 7.8% were from 10 to 14 years old, 16.1% were from 15 to 24, 36.3% were from 25 to 44, 19.5% were from 45 to 59, and 5.1% were 60 or older. From 1996 to 2005, the average annual growth rate was 0.7% for the total population; broken down by age, it was -0.4% for < 15 years, and 7.1% for 60 years and older.[57]

In 2006, two-person households in Yellowknife were the most common household size at 28.8%. Overall, almost half of all households had only one or two occupants. The average income in the city was C$57,246, and the average income for a family was C$124,200.[60] Minimum wage is C$8.25 in Yellowknife, the second highest in Canada.[17] Average household expenditures were C$103,762 in 2007.[61] In 2004, the unemployment rate was at 5.0%, an all-time low, and is currently 5.7%; the employment rate for males was 83.8%, for females it was 75.5%.[57]

The crime rate in Yellowknife is 38.3 (per 1,000 persons) for violent crimes, and 52.5 (per 1,000 persons) for property crimes.[62] There were 316 births and 35 deaths in 2005.[63][64]

Almost 82% of residents spoke English as their mother tongue and almost 4% spoke French. More than 4% spoke an aboriginal language as their first language, including 1.3% who spoke Inuktitut, another 1.3% who spoke Dogrib, and 0.6% who spoke North Slavey, 0.5% who spoke Dene/Chipewyan, and 0.4% who spoke South Slavey. Other languages spoken in Yellowknife include Tagalog at 2.3%, Vietnamese at 1.6%, Chinese at 1.1%, German at 0.7% and Spanish at 0.4%.[65]

Yellowknife is home to just over 500 recent immigrants (arriving between 2001 and 2006) who now make up just under 3% of the population; 36% of these immigrants came from the Philippines, while 18% came from Ghana, 9% from Vietnam, 7% from the United States, and 5% came from China.[66]

Almost 73% of residents identified as Christian while 24% said they had no religious affiliation in 2001. For specific denominations Statistics Canada found that 36% of residents identified as Roman Catholic, 11% as Anglican, 10% for the United Church, about 2% each as Baptist, Lutheran, and Pentecostal, and more than 1% for The Salvation Army.[67]



The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre.

Folk on the Rocks is a local music festival that has been an annual occurrence since 1980, and features a wide variety of musical acts, and is not limited to only Folk. In the past, it has drawn acts such as The White Stripes, Buffy Sainte-Marie, the Trailer Park Boys, The Weakerthans, African Guitar Summit, Mad Bomber Society, Gob, Sam Roberts Band, Sloan, The Great Lake Swimmers, and Hawksley Workman.[68] The Midnight Sun Golf Tournament, with games played through the city's well-lit summer nights, is also a significant cultural event.[69] In previous years, there was an annual summer festival known as Raven Mad Daze, a street festival celebrated as part of the summer solstice. The festival was not celebrated in 2007 because an organizer was not found for the event.[70] During the winter, there is the Snowking Winter Festival, featuring a snow castle on Great Slave Lake,[71] and Caribou Carnival, which is held every March on Frame Lake and has ice sculpting competitions, dogsled races, and a fireworks display.[72] In 2008, Yellowknife hosted the Arctic Winter Games.[73] In 2007 The White Stripes played in Yellowknife for their tour of Canada. The entire tour was recorded for a documentary called Under Great White Northern Lights.


Wildcat Cafe in the Old Town.

Some notable places to visit in Yellowknife include:

  • The Wildcat Cafe, which first opened in 1937. The popular restaurant still operates in its original building during the summer, which was moved to its current location after being saved from demolition in the late 1970s.[74]
  • The Gold Range Bar, one of the oldest and most colorful drinking establishments in the Northwest Territories and featured in Mordecai Richler's novel Solomon Gursky Was Here[75]
  • Downtown contains the Capital Area Park, a short but pleasant stroll by City Hall,[76] the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre,[77] the Legislature,[78] and the Northern Frontier Visitors Centre.[79]
  • The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (Museum) contains exhibits of the history and culture of Inuit, Inuvialuit, Dene, Métis, and non-aboriginal peoples of the NWT. It's found just north of downtown on an attractive lakeside location.
  • Near the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, the Northwest Territories Legislative Building houses the territory's legislative assembly.
  • The Northern Arts and Cultural Centre, which is located in Sir John Franklin High School and is the city's largest indoor stage for theatre and musical presentations.[80]
Plaque on the Bush Pilots monument

Other notable attractions include the Ingraham Trail, local fishing lodges, bush plane tours, the unique architecture of Old Town with the Bush Pilots monument, and any of the numerous lakes surrounding Yellowknife, many of which include beaches.


The Yellowknifer, published by Northern News Services, is the major newspaper serving Yellowknife, published twice weekly on Wednesday and Friday. Northern News Services also publishes Northwest Territories News/North every Monday, which serves the entire NWT. As well, there is L'Aquilon, a French language newspaper published weekly.

The major radio stations based in Yellowknife are: CFYK 1340, which broadcasts CBC Radio One network programs and locally produced programs; CFYK-FM 95.3, which broadcasts the programming of the CBC Radio 2 network from CBU-FM in Vancouver; CJCD 100.1, which plays largely adult contemporary music; CKLB 101.9, a community radio station; and CIVR 103.5, a French-language community radio station.

Local broadcast television stations include: CFYK channel 8 cable 10, which broadcasts CBC North, the northern feed of CBC Television; CHTY channel 11 cable 9, is the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network; CH4127 channel 13 cable 4, is the French feed of CBC, Télévision de Radio-Canada.

Two magazines are based in Yellowknife: Above & Beyond - Canada's Arctic Journal and Up Here Magazine, both offering northern-related news and lifestyle articles.

Notable people

Sister Cities

See also


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  58. ^ "Yellowknife". Aboriginal Identity (8), Sex (3) and Age Groups (12) for the Population of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2006 Census - 20% Sample Data. Statistics Canada. 2008-01-15. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  59. ^ Statistics Canada (2006). "Age Groups and Sex for Population of Canada (2006 Census)". Retrieved 2007-07-22. 
  60. ^ "Income Statistics" (XLS). NWT Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2007-05-11. 
  61. ^ "Household Expenditure - Results". NWT Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  62. ^ "Number of Incidents by Detachment" (XLS). NWT Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2008-03-02. 
  63. ^ "Births". NWT Bureau of Statistics. 2005. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  64. ^ "Deaths". NWT Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  65. ^ "Yellowknife". Detailed Mother Tongue (186), Knowledge of Official Languages (5), Age Groups (17A) and Sex (3) for the Population of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2001 and 2006 Censuses - 20% Sample Data. Statistics Canada. 2007-11-20. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  66. ^ "Yellowknife". Immigrant Status and Period of Immigration (8) and Place of Birth (261) for the Immigrants and Non-permanent Residents of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2006 Census - 20% Sample Data. Statistics Canada. 2007-12-04. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  67. ^ "Yellowknife". Religion (95A), Age Groups (7A) and Sex (3) for Population, for Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas 1 and Census Agglomerations, 1991 and 2001 Censuses - 20% Sample Data. Statistics Canada. 2007-03-01. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  68. ^ "Performer Archives". Folk on the Rocks Music Festival. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  69. ^ "Home". The Yellowknife Golf Club. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  70. ^ NFVA Event Details. The Northern Frontier Visitors Association (2006). Retrieved on June 20, 2007.
  71. ^ "13th Annual Winter Festival". The Snowking. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  72. ^ "2008 Caribou Carnival". Caribou Carnival Association. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  73. ^ Arctic Winter Games 2008. Retrieved on August 5, 2007.
  74. ^ "North of 60° — Visions of the New North". Canadian Museum of Civilization. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  75. ^ "Solomon Gursky Was Here". Google Books. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  76. ^ City of Yellowknife
  77. ^ Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre
  78. ^ Northwest Territories Legislative Building
  79. ^ Northern Frontier Visitors Centre
  80. ^ "Welcome to the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre". Northern Arts and Cultural Centre. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 

Further reading

  • Bastedo, Jamie (2007), Yellowknife Outdoors - Best Places for Hiking, Biking, Paddling, and Camping, Calgary: Red Deer Press, ISBN 0889953880 
  • Eber, Dorothy (1997), Images of Justice A Legal History of the Northwest Territories As Traced Through the Yellowknife Courthouse Collection of Inuit Sculpture, McGill-Queen's native and northern series, 28, Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, ISBN 0773516751 
  • Heal, Tyler (2007), The Times Behind the Signs: The History Behind Yellowknife's Street Names, Yellowknife: Crescent Publishing, ISBN 9780973942002 
  • Lewis, C. P.; Rode, A.; Theriault, A. (1981), Report on the Yellowknife Laboratory at Yellowknife, N.W.T. Working Draft, Ottawa: Northern Social Research Division, Indian and Northern Affairs 

External links

Coordinates: 62°26′32″N 114°23′51″W / 62.44222°N 114.3975°W / 62.44222; -114.3975

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Yellowknife is a city in the Northwest Territories.


Yellowknife is the capital of the Northwest Territories. It is located on the North Arm of Great Slave Lake, on Yellowknife Bay. Yellowknife was originally founded as a gold mining town. Today, most of the gold mines have closed, and the city has reinvented itself as Canada's "Diamond Capital." The city is the administrative centre for the Northwest Territories, and in spite of its mining heritage, the public service dominates the workforce.

Get in

By plane

Yellowknife Airport (IATA: YZF) (ICAO: CYZF). Daily flights connects Yellowknife with Edmonton and Calgary in Alberta, Vancouver in British Columbia, and with communities throughout the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, and Nunavut.

By train

Passenger rail service is not available in the Northwest Territories.

By car

Yellowknife is located at the end of NWT Highway 3 Yellowknife Highway. Take the Mackenzie Highway (Highway 1) north from Alberta to the Northwest Territories/Alberta border. Continue to follow the highway past the communities of Enterprise, Hay River, and Kakisa to the junction with Highway 3. Follow Highway 3 to the Mackenzie River crossing at Fort Providence. From Fort Providence, follow Highway 3 past Behchoko (formerly Rae-Edzo) to its terminus at Yellowknife.

From mid-May to late December, the Mackenzie River is crossed by a ferry. From late December to mid-April, travellers cross the river via an ice bridge -- a frozen stretch of the river that has been groomed for vehicle travel. From roughly mid-April to mid-May, the river is unpassable. Check with the Government of the Northwest Territories' Department of Transportation [1] for ferry/ice road availablity if travelling in April, May, December, or January. Preliminary construction has begun on a permanent bridge [2]; delays and design changes have moved the 2010 opening date to fall 2011 or later.

By bus

Yellowknife is served six days a week by Frontier Coachlines, which connects with Greyhound at Hay River. There is bus service within the City of Yellowknife provided by the city at a nominal fee.

Get around

Yellowknife is quite compact, and the main areas of interest can be easily reached on foot. "New Town" is the current downtown core. It is bordered by 47th street to the north, 53rd street to the south, 52nd avenue to the east, and Veteran's Memorial Way (49th Avenue) to the west. Franklin Avenue (50th Avenue) is the main thoroughfare. The corner of Franklin Avenue and 50th Street is considered to be the city's centre.

"Old town", where the original city of Yellowknife was founded, is located at the base of the hill on Franklin Avenue, on a peninsula that juts into Yellowknife Bay, and on Latham Island. This area is primarily residential, but remains home to some of Yellowknife's oldest businesses.


Take a tour from one of the Many tour companies around Yellowknife, such as Yellowknife Outdoor Adventures. They offer many programs. These include, Shoreline breakfast/lunch, Wildlife Viewing, Fishing trips,etc.


Yellowknife is an outdoor enthusiast's dream. There are several scenic walking and hiking trails within the city boundaries. The Ingraham Trail (Highway 4) connects Yellowknife to many lakes, rivers, and hiking routes that draw campers, hikers, paddlers, fishermen and women, and hunters.

The winter months are dominated by winter sports: hockey, curling, skating, cross-country skiing, broomball, volleyball, and indoor soccer.

A small but active amateur arts community brings theatre, dance, and choral works to the community. Apart from some excellent amateur performers,the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre (NACC), the main venue for the performing arts, endeavours to bring professional level entertainment such as the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (Spring 2007) and renowned flamenco guitarist Juan Martin, who has appeared annually in recent years.

The Snowking Festival, Caribou Carnival, and the dog sled races are annual winter events. In the summer, visitors can take in the Summer Solstice Festival, Raven Mad Daze (with its 24-hour golf tournament), and Folk on the Rocks, a popular music festival. Raven Mad Daze is a festival to celebrate the beginning of summer with bands on city blocks, vendors selling food and drinks, and silly string is avaliable for those who are pumped up and into the spirit. It is located in Downtown Yellowknife where all vehicle traffic is rerouted to other surface streets.

  • Enodah Wilderness Travel - Trout Rock Lodge, Great Slave Lake, 867-874-4334, [3]. Fly in wilderness lodge on Great Slave Lake. Fishing, bird watching, Aurora packages. Day trips or overnight. (62.27,114.58) edit
  • Beck's Kennels, 124 Curry Drive, PO Box 161 Yellowknife, NT X1A 2N2, 1-867-873-5603, [4]. World class dogsled tours! Kennel owned and operated by World Champion dog racer, Grant Beck. Winter activities: Aurora by dog sled, traditional dogsled tours and learn to drive your own dogteam experience. They also offer overnight dogsled adventures. November 1 - mid May. Summer and fall activities: Aurora tours and dogsled on wheels! August 1 - October 31.  edit


The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre houses the territorial museum and archives.

The many art galleries in town feature the works of local and northern artists.

  • A Canadian Diamond.
  • A painting by a local artist.
  • An Inuit stone carving.
  • A hand made birchbark basket.
  • Caribou-skin mittens.
  • A northern parka, trimmed with fur.
  • The Wildcat Cafe, 3904 Wiley Road, tel: 867-873-8850. Caribou, fish, steaks in a Gold Rush atmosphere. Originally built in 1937, this rehabbed establishment is a popular eatery and perhaps Yellowknife's best tourist attraction.
  • Office Dining Lounge, 4915 50th Street, tel: 867 873-3750. Gourmet Canadian and Northern cuisine. This restaurant was purchased, closed, and re-opened as Fuego's International Cuisine. Still a delightful place to eat.
  • Oldtown Landing Northern Gourmet, 3506 Wiley Road, tel: 867 920-4473, [5]. Innovative cuisine "with international and northern influences."
  • Tiny Bullock's Bistro, 3534 Weaver Dr, 867-873-3474. Relaxed, cramped, extra-casual bar and restaurant in circa 1930s cabin. The menu features fish, game, and salads. The fish is as fresh as this morning, and the seemingly hectic grill manages to produce fine results with it. Don't expect anything fancy in service or presentation, but you'll enjoy the lively and authentic atmosphere. Make sure your wallet is well-stocked before coming: a simple plate of fish-n-chips and a bottle of self-serve beer will run between $30 and $40.  edit


Le'Frolic Bistro & L'Heritage Restaurant are some of the best places to eat north of 60, the chef there as won several awards and is still in the kitchen every day. A trip to Yellowknife would not be complete without a meal at Le'Frolic, though be sure to bring a well-stocked wallet as even the soft drinks cost a small fortune. 11 dollar pints are nothing to sneer at.

  • Super 8 Motel - Yellowknife, 308 Old Airport Road, tel: 866-875-7666, [6].
  • Bayside B&B, 867-669-8844, [7]. View of the Back Bay from the wrap-around deck.  edit
  • Island B&B, 867-873-4803, [8].  edit
  • Signature Suites Fraser Tower, 5303 52 Street, Phone: 867-873-8700, [9].
  • The Explorer Hotel, Yellowknife, NWT, 4825 49th Avenue, Phone: 1-800-661-0892, [10].

Stay safe

Driving, particularly away from the main highway, may involve long distances without seeing much traffic. Be sure to check the usual summer driving requirements, spare tire, water etc. In winter temperatures can drop to -50C and colder. Be prepared! Bring a candle lantern for heat, a thermos of hot water, foods such as chocolate or nuts and a heavy blanket, mitts not gloves. If stranded do not leave your vehicle unless forced to.

Bison are prevalent between the Mackenzie River at Fort Providence to Rae\Edzo. They like to amble on the highway. Take care during night driving along this section.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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Proper noun




  1. Capital of the Northwest Territories, Canada.

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