On the northern shore of Great Slave Lake on Highway 3; 205 miles north of junctions of Highways 1 and 3; 914 miles from Edmonton, AB. Population: 18,028. Visitor Information: Northern Frontier Visitors Centre, #4 4807-49th Street, Yellowknife, NT, X1A 3T5; Toll Free Phone: (877) 881-4262; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.visityellowknife.com
Yellowknife, the largest city in the Northwest Territories, is described as the place "Where a Golden History Meets A Brilliant Future." In 1896 Prospectors on their way to the Klondike discovered gold at Yellowknife Bay. People began settling in Yellowknife in 1936, and a number of companies started to mine for gold. In 1967 Yellowknife was named the capital of the Northwest Territories; in 1970 it became a city. In 1991 diamonds were discovered in the Northwest Territories, sparking the largest staking rush in Canadian history. In 1999, Yellowknife became trademarked as the Diamond Capital of North America. Yellowknife is also home to a successful diamond cutting and polishing industry, with several cutting and polishing plants now operational. The Northwest Territories is expected to produce 15 percent of the world’s rough diamond by value.
Diamonds in the Northwest Territories are not simply being extracted from the ground; jewelry retail shops in Yellowknife offer Canadian diamonds, loose or incorporated into local art and jewelry. The Gallery of the Midnight Sun in Yellowknife also has a diamond polisher on site; book 24 hours in advance to watch the craftsperson at work. The Diamond Information Centre (owned by Diavik Diamond Mines Inc.), the Northern Frontier Visitors Centre, and the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre have displays and information related to diamond activity in Yellowknife and across the territory that also emphasize Yellowknife’s historical links to gold mining. Aurora College offers a 22-week diamond cutting and polishing program, which recently won the nationally recognized Outstanding Innovation in Education Award.
Yellowknife is also the best place to the view the Aurora Borealis. From September to April, the shimmering light display dances across the northern sky, offering visitors an unforgettable show. Recreational opportunities in Yellowknife include hiking, fishing, hunting, boating, canoeing, kayaking, golfing, dog mushing, cross country skiing, walking tours of Old Town, Frame Lake, Niven Lake and Prospectors Trail, mountain biking and wildlife viewing.
SPECIAL EVENTS: Caribou Carnival; Raven Mad Daze; Float Plane Fly-In; Funk Fest; Folk on the Rocks; Festival of the Midnight Sun; NWT Mining Week
Cruise the mighty Mackenzie River on the M.S. Norweta: The adventure of a lifetime awaits those wishing to explore the spectacular scenery along the majestic Mackenzie River, and experience aboriginal Dene hospitality and culture, by touring on the Norweta, a one-of-a-kind cruise ship that sails over 1,000 miles between the south shore of Great Slave Lake and Inuvik, at the northern end of the Mackenzie near the point where the vast river delta merges with the Arctic Ocean.
One of the world’s great rivers, the Mackenzie (or Deh Cho) drains the northern portion of the Great Plains. First charted by Alexander Mackenzie in 1789, the river later became a main transportation route for northern fur trade. Most of the communities along the Mackezie started as fur trading posts, and today are fully serviced Dene villages with strong ties to the land.
The Norweta is best described as casual comfort; sleeping accommodations are compact, but the ship has a large lounge, sundeck and dining lounge, and a family atmosphere prevails. Shore excursions and photo expeditions present daily opportunities to explore pristine beaches where few have tread. Indulge a passion for northern history, ancient archaeology, abundant wildlife or relaxing lunches on shore, with guided visits to a number of historic sites and native settlements.
Three northbound and three southbound trips are scheduled during the travel season, which starts in mid-June and wraps up by mid-August. Northbound travel takes 7 days running with the current; southbound travel is against the current and takes 9 days. Tours begin and end in Yellowknife. For information on Norweta cruises, contact Margaret Whitlock at 866-NORWETA (866-667-9382) or (403) 932-7590; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: www.norweta.com; Mailing Address: NWT Marine Group, Unit # 8 8, Riverview Circle, Cochrane, AB, Canada, T4C 1X1.