Yellowknife: Where the Money Is

Yellowknife is known for its cultural heritage, its mining history, the Northern Lights and much more! Yellowknife gets its name from the First Nations Dogrib tribe who called it ‘S’ombake’ or ‘money place’. The Dene tribe made knives from the cooper deposits in the lake – this tribe are also known as the Yellowknives. There are eleven official languages in the Northwest territories, six of which are spoken in Yellowknife: Dene Suline, Dogrib, South and North Slavey, English, and French. 

It is the capital and the largest city on the Northwest Territories (NWT). It has a population of 20,000. The city of Yellowknife is situated approximately 250 miles or 400 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle on the shore of Great Slave Lake. Nearby are the Yellowknife River and Yellowknife Bay. 

Yellowknife History 

Yellowknife was founded in 1935 when gold was found on the north shore of Slave Lake. A tent city sprung up and the first gold brick was poured in 1938. Gold mining was suspended during World War II and resumed after war was over in 1946. The site of the town became so overcrowded they had to move the town and a new city was under construction by 1947. 

Yellowknife Facts 

Today the Old Town site is a base for float planes flying and out of Yellowknife. 
The municipal government developed over the 1940’s until 1970 when Yellowknife officially became a city. The gold rush was over by the 1990’s. Fortunately diamonds and oil were both found shortly thereafter and quickly have become the new major industries. 

Today diamonds, minerals and gas are the biggest industries. Yellowknife offers opportunities for employment investment and tourism. Today, Yellowknife is the Diamond Capital of North America. Known for its friendly and relaxed residents and it also enjoys a healthy tourism industry. 

Yellowknife Tourist Attractions 

There are many things to do in Yellowknife: wildlife viewing, boating, fishing, camping, and the famous Caribou Festival, held every year! On the longest day of the year, June 21st, there is a festival that lasts all night- Raven Mad Daze is when Yellowknifers go mad and party all night long! There is an air show in the summer as well as golf tournaments and the Snow King Winter Festival. 

Yellowknife has very large and active arts community. Performances are on all the year at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre. During the summer there are festivals like Folk on the Rocks and the NorthWords Writers Festival. The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre document the history of Yellowknife. Yellowknife is also home to a guild of crafts as well as many galleries showcasing local artists.