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Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Photo Album

A Guide to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Click on each photo to greatly enlarge it.

Many more photographs from the August trip that these were shot on were posted on my blog, starting here.

For those who drive to Yellowknife, the last 339 kilometers are on the Yellowknife Highway, Highway 3 (see map). To the east of the highway for much of that distance is the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary. I saw a lot of signs warning about the possibility of bison on the road, but this was the only animal I saw.

This is the bridge that carries the Yellowknife Highway over Frank Channel, which joins Marian Lake with Great Slave Lake.

The village of Rae, on Marian Lake 7 miles off the Yellowknife Highway, is worth a visit. It has a population of about 1,500 people. In the background is the Catholic church which was built in 1926. Rae is actually the old name of the community ("Fort Rae" even older), often combined with the smaller village of Edzo as Rae-Edzo. As of 2005, however, the pair of communities is collectively called Behchoko.

One of the first sights you see entering Yellowknife is this Bristol Type 170 Freighter up on a pedestal. It's a Mk 31 variant, registered as CF-TFX when it operated with Wardair in the 1960s. It's there to commemorates the fact that Max Ward, founder of Wardair, got his start here. This particular aircraft, piloted by Bruce D. Allcorn, was the first wheeled plane to land at the North Pole, in May 1967.

A close look revealed the fact that both the plane and the site are being trashed by vandals - there's a great deal of graffiti on the plane and and garbage strewn around.

The view to the east over Niven Lake and Back Bay of Great Slave Lake, from the 6th floor of The Explorer Hotel.

The dawn light over Back Bay of Great Slave Lake at 5:40am on August 26, 2011. This photo was shot from the 6th floor of The Explorer Hotel.

Sunrise over Back Bay of Great Slave Lake at 6:00am on August 27, 2011. This photo was shot from the 6th floor of The Explorer Hotel.

The Northern Frontier Visitors Centre on the edge of downtown Yellowknife, with Frame Lake and the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in the distance.

Another view of the Northern Frontier Visitors Centre.

Hundreds of colourful banners featuring Yellowknife themes help brighter the city.

Fans of the National Geographic television series Ice Pilots will want to visit the Yellowknife base of Buffalo Airways, the airline that the show follows. Tours are available if you call ahead, and there's a store with all manner of "Buffalo AirWear" and souvenirs (it's also online). Their fleet of aircraft, including Douglas DC-3s and DC-4s, Lockheed L-188 Electras, Curtiss C-46s, Canadair CL-215s, a Norseman and others, is very impressive.

"Old Town" is the first destination for many visitors to Yellowknife - this is the original townsite. The Old Town Heritage Walking Tour brochure helps navigate the town and understand the history.

A climb up to "The Rock" to the Pilots Monument gives a good view of the city and surrounding area.

The old and new Yellowknife. The building in the foreground is commonly called "the House of Horrors" due to the wild parties and card games held there in the 1940s. Built as a rooming house in 1938 by Alphonse Cyr, it's also been a barber shop and private home but has been abandoned for decades. The next building is a private residence, one of many new homes taking advantage of the views available in Old Town.

There are a lot of bicycles in Yellowknife - this group is at the government wharf in Old Town. In the background can be seen some of the city's famous houseboats.

The most famous heritage building in Yellowknife is certainly the Wildcat Cafe, which is currently undergoing a total restoration. It was built in 1937 by Willy Wiley and Smokey Stout. The cafe closed in 1951 and the building was slated for demolition until a group was formed to save it. The Old Stope Association re-opened the cafe in 1979, and in 1992 it was designated a heritage site.

There is a full-size replica of the Wildcat Cafe in the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec.

This massive piece of art is called “Yellowknife Cultural Crossroads”. It’s a collaborative and evolving piece by Native, Dene, French- and English-Canadian artists to commemorate cooperation between the cultures. The main elements are the bronze sculpture, a steel teepee and some 1,500 signs and symbols painted on and sometimes carved into the rock.

The old Canadian Pacific Airlines building was built in 1946 and served Associated Airways and Pacific Western Airlines as well as CPA in the early days, and Air Dogrib and Northward Aviation more recently. There is a badly damaged rotary aircraft engine outside the building that commemorates a 1932 crash that killed famous pilot Andy Cruikshank and his engineers Horace Torrie and Harry King.

Here’s a plane that I’ve seen photos of for many years – certainly the finest float-equipped Beech 18 in existence! It’s a 1951 Model 3N, C-FWWV.

The view of Yellowknife, looking across Frame Lake from the airport area to downtown.

Free hour-long guided tours of the Legislative Assembly are available every morning Monday through Friday, and self-guided audio tours are available anytime during regular building hours. This desk is where the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly sits. Its design was inspired by the shape of an ulu, the Inuit knife - the desk in front being the blade of the ulu.

As little vegetation as possible was disturbed when the Legislative Assembly building was constructed in 1993. Trees are still growing a couple of feet from the building, which can just barely be seen in this photo.

This is the Canadian Forces’ Joint Task Force North headquarters.

The main post office in downtown Yellowknife.

This is the Gold Range Hotel, which was built in 1958 on the site of the Veterans Hotel which had burned in 1956. The New Town Heritage Walking Tour brochure says that the hotel "...has been the town's most infamous hotel and bar operation since [it was built]". The reviews of the hotel at TripAdvisor are quite amusing.

The head office of NorthWesTel in downtown Yellowknife.

The NWT Mining Heritage Society has a large open-air display of old mining equipment set up at the old Giant Mine townsite a few miles northeast of Yellowknife on Highway 4, the Ingraham Trail. This impressive beast, called an Alligator, was brought north in 1948 to haul mining equipment across the rocks and muskeg – it didn’t work, and the convoy was abandoned in the middle of nowhere.

Among several pieces of particularly unusual pieces in the NWT Mining Heritage Society collection is this underground-railway ditch digger.

The headframe of the original Giant Mine A-Shaft operation, adjacent to the associated townsite which is the location of the NWT Mining Heritage Society collection. Built in 1945 and used until 1982, this is the oldest original gold mining headframe left in the Yellowknife area.

This is the Giant Mine which operated from 1948 until 2004. It is located on Highway 4, the Ingraham Trail, just east of the original Giant Mine A-Shaft operation. Within a couple of years most of the Giant Mine remediation will be complete and this massive complex will be just a memory.

Above the Giant Mine A-Shaft operation is this glacial erratic that got carried many miles before being dropped here as the glacier retreated.

Members of the Great Slave Cruising Club anchor their boats in Back Bay of Great Slave Lake. The club fleet consists almost exclusively of sailing vessels, ranging in size from Lasers to large keel boats. The sailing season, according to the club, is "from early June to late September for the prudent, and into October for others".

The Yellowknife River The Yellowknife River, seen from a bridge on Highway 4, the Ingraham Trail. The highway dead-ends at Tibbitt Lake, Km 70, in the summer, but in the winter that’s the start of the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road that was the site of the first season of the TV series Ice Road Truckers.

Madeline Lake, Ingraham Trail Madeline Lake is a very nice day-use spot along the Ingraham Trail.

Glacier-scoured rocks along the Ingraham Trail. A particularly fine example of the glacier-scoured rocks that are seen at many locations along the Ingraham Trail.

Cameron River, NWT The Cameron River.

Ingraham Trail, NWT This is the end of the Ingraham Trail – the furthest point you can drive north in this region during the summer.

Ingraham Trail – Cameron Falls This is the reward for a very pleasant 20-minute walk from the Ingraham Trail – Cameron Falls.

Ingraham Trail – Cameron Falls Walking back along the Cameron River just above the falls.

These photographs are all © 2011-2013 by Murray Lundberg, and are not to be copied without express permission.

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