Stuffy and stodgy, capital cities have a bad habit of dullness and taking themselves too seriously. Not Yellowknife. Beyond its reputation as the world capital for watching the Aurora Borealis, the national capital for diamonds and the parliamentary capital for the Territories, Yellowknife is the unofficial northern capital for good times.
Founded in the 1930’s by a group of gold prospectors, the early Yellowknife was gritty and freewheeling. That unrestrained feeling of charm and exuberance continues today – a place of unlimited possibilities. A city of about 20,000 inhabitants, Yellowknife both rises and curls along the northern banks of Great Slave Lake and Yellowknife Bay. You have to be hardy to live here but more importantly, you must be invested with a true zest for life.
Though known for its frontier spirit, Yellowknife cleans up nice to show off its more cultured and sophisticated side. The Northwest Territories boasts 11 different official languages and people from over 90 countries now call Yellowknife home. Visit our shops and bedazzle yourself with world renowned diamonds mined just a couple of hours away. Embrace the arts with a studio tour where you meet the artist and purchase stunning local carvings and paintings. Explore an award-winning museum or take in a concert, everything from classical to rock royalty. A few years back, the White Stripes, so inspired by the Yellowknife vibe, made the concert footage the focal point of the highly praised documentary `Under Great Northern Lights’.
Must do’s for the complete Yellowknife experience:
Wander historic Old Town and send your palate to great northern heights at the legendary Wildcat Café. Grab a shot of yourself standing in front of the Ragged Ass Road sign, then wind your way up the Pilots Monument at the top of the Rock, the highest point in Old Town, showcasing exhilarating views out to Great Slave Lake.
Check out the menus at Yellowknife’s wide range of restaurants – they boast some of the best fish dishes in the country. Or be bold and try the muskox and buffalo first.
Tour the Legislative Assembly, explore Northwest Territories history at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre and dazzle your vision with the sparkling diamond displays at the Northern Frontier Visitors Centre.
Book an aboriginal cultural tour and learn more about the local people.
Hike along the Ingraham Trail and drop a line for pike or trout at the Yellowknife River Bridge.
Soar above the city in a bush plane or ride the waves with a personalized boat tour of Great Slave Lake.
Join the excitement of Yellowknife’s extraordinary festivals, where the fun reveals itself through food, music, theatre, film, golf, fishing and traditional local games. Throw on your dancing shoes, sandals or flip-flops at Folk on the Rocks, where acts have ranged from Gord Downie to Jim Cuddy to Sloan.
Far from normal. Easy to reach.
Yellowknife is easily accessible by air with daily flights from a couple of major Canadian cities. The capital is also the perfect jumping off point for further adventures all across the Northwest Territories. Recently, it also became a much more convenient drive with the opening of the Deh Cho Bridge. The $200 million superstructure, which opened in late November, stretches more than a kilometre over the broad shouldered Mackenzie River. It now provides year round driving access to Yellowknife. So whether you choose to arrive by air or car, truck or RV camper, it’s never been easier to make your way to the Northwest Territories.
Go wild on our next story
The Northwest Territories is home to North America’s largest land mammal. It roams across a stunning World Heritage Site that is dotted with rare whooping cranes and some of the most unique landscape features in North America. To discover more about this mammal, its home and all things spectacular in the Northwest Territories, check out the next online story coming later in February.
For more information on planning a trip to the Northwest Territories, go to: www.spectacularnwt.com.