Yellowknife, NWTAugust 12, 2017 in Canada
Yellowknife has not had the greatest recommendations from most people we spoke to before we arrived. The Northwest Territories has rave reviews, but not so much its provincial capital. It's pretty industrial, being built around the mining industry, but definitely has its charm. The farmer's market is a real hub of activity, the bars and restaurants are plentiful, have a good atmosphere and serve great beer and food. They even have a pretty big local baseball scene - Marie being the star player :)
It also has a great health service which we had the unfortunate opportunity to sample when Maddie went in for emergency surgery to remove some painful ovarian cysts. It could have been a very scary time in terms of health and expense (we did think it might be the end of our trip a couple of times), but the care we received was just fantastic. Get sick in Yellowknife everyone!
It's also apparently one of the best spots to view the northern lights which we didn't know before we got here! Even in August, we saw it several times very clearly! It's a place that transforms in the winter - the lakes completely freeze (including Great Slave I think which is the size of the south east of England!) opening up the iceroads and tons of winter sports! Would love to come back in March which is the party month apparently. It's cold, but not as inhospitable as people think. Although I'm sure that's a secret Yellowknifers want to keep to themselves!
It has its fair share of wildlife.. we were visited by a few bears whilst at Madeline Lake who were after France's compost, came too close to a howling coyote on the highway at 1am, watched the eagle's, ospreys and beavers on the lake, got woken up a rowdy family of lynx and heard tales of wolf packs terrorising and befriending the dogs!
One very sinister aspect to the area is the legacy the huge gold mine has left - tons of poisonous arsenic spewed into the atmosphere, polluting the lakes. It's an incredibly sad story which has a lasting legacy. Millions of tons of arsenic are being contained below ground at great expense. If it ever leaks out, best case scenario it makes the area uninhabitable, worst case.. well there's enough to kill every human on the planet several times over. Arsenic will never decay either so it's here to stay. For ever and ever and ever...
But it's pretty safe right now and perfectly fine for a visit! Forget freezing nights watching a cloudy sky in Iceland - get to Yellowknife!Read more