The October 2014 meeting of Senior Arctic Officials will take place in Yellowknife, capital of the Northwest Territories, Canada. Learn about this unique northern city...

Situated on the Northern shore of Great Slave Lake, Yellowknife is the capital of the Northwest Territories, Canada. Founded in 1934, the city is located in the traditional territory of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation who founded the nearby community of Dettah in the early 1930s. Contrary to popular belief, Yellowknife’s name does not come from its gold mining origins, but refers to a local Dene tribe who made yellow bladed tools from copper deposits in the region and came to be known as the Yellowknives Dene.

The city of Yellowknife has its origins in gold mining and was designated as territorial capital in 1967. Since then the city has grown to 20,000 residents and has become a cultural, economic and government services hub for the territory. Diamonds were discovered in the area in 1991, and with the founding of three operating diamond mines within short flights of Yellowknife, the city  is once again getting in touch with its mining roots. Tourism, transportation, and communications are other significant Yellowknife industries.

With its modern amenities and small town feel, Yellowknife has a number of interesting attractions, including the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, numerous walking trails, and the northern lights (aurora borealis), which are best seen between late August and mid-April. The city hosts a number of winter race events, including the Frostbite 45 ski, snowshoe and running race, and the Diavik 150 Canadian Championship Dog Derby, which draws competitors from across Canada and around the world.

Yellowknife is also host to a number of cultural events. The SnowKing Winter Festival takes place throughout the month of March.  It involves the construction of an elaborate snow castle on Great Slave Lake, where daily festivities include live music and children’s programs. The Long John Jamboree, a family-friendly Yellowknife winter celebration complete with an ice carving competition, takes place from March 28 to 30 in 2014. Every summer since 1980, Yellowknife has held Folk on the Rocks, an outdoor music festival featuring local, national and international musicians.

If you would like to learn more about Yellowknife, visit:



Photo: Bob Wilson, 2013