My home is a wondrous place. It is a land of snow and ice, lakes and rivers; and endless expanse of ancient rock, littered with stunted trees that look like asparagus stalks, or something out of a Dr. Seuss story. We struggle through long, dark winters where the sun sets at 3pm and doesn’t rise again until 10am. We drive cars over frozen lakes, drill holes to fish through 4 feet of ice, and walk to work in -56 degrees Celsius. In summer we thrive on 3am sunrises and midnight sunsets. We tend our gardens until midnight, carry bug spray at all times, and forget to go to bed because the sun refuses to remind us it is bedtime.
We cannot tell our children to come home when the street lights come on, because in summer it doesn’t get dark enough for them to come on.
We have a hard time deciding which lake to go swimming in between the 6 fresh, clean ones the town is nestled between.
We have counted hundreds of bug bites on one limb after a night of camping.
We buy $800 parkas rated for the Antarctic because they work. Because we actually need them.
We throw steaming water outside in winter and watch it turn instantly to vapor in mid air.
Our eyelashes gather ice and freeze together, forcing you to bare your fingers to the cold and melt the ice so you can open your eyes again.
We have a festival every year on a frozen lake inside a castle made out of ice and snow. There is a giant slide made of ice, live music and huge dance parties inside. Yes that’s right, we have raves inside castles made of ice and snow.
We have an incredible music festival every summer called Folk on the Rocks which brings bands from Greenland to Australia, to perform in the midnight sunsets. The festival closes with the traditional Dene drummers pounding their moose hide drums into the the orange midnight sky while everyone joins hands and dances in a huge circle
We have 13 official languages in our Territory. Thirteen with a population of just 43,000.
We have a small, lively community of folk who spend year round living on house boats. During ice break up they have to walk with one leg in a canoe, while the other pushes them along the increasingly thin ice to get to shore and head to work each day.
We are home to Buffalo airline, a fleet of planes that were used in world war II and still bare some of the bullet holes proudly. As a kid we used to fly this airline to get across the big lake for hockey tournaments. Now they have a hit reality TV show about these planes.
We have Ravens the size of small dogs that are smarter than most 5 year old children. Foxes roam around the town casually, sometimes you can catch them playing and yipping in the early hours of morning. Bears often ramble into town causing quite the disturbance and have to be chased out (just got word that one was seen down the street this morning from my old apartment- yikes!).
There is only one road in and out of Yellowknife, and in summer you will always share this road with huge herds of wild bison. Sometimes you just have to sit and wait while they meander slowly down the road, while other times they stampede furiously down it to escape the massive swarms of horseflies.
We get to watch the Aurora Borealis dance for hours on end while we sit on frozen lakes, completely awestruck by the majestic show they put on, even if we’ve seen them waltz a hundred times before.
We are so blessed to be surrounded by such pristine land and waters, traveled often by such diverse wildlife.
But most of all we have people. We have the friendliest, most welcoming, people I’ve ever met. When someone moves to Yellowknife, or comes for a visit, the community reaches out to embrace them. We have this strong sense of pride about our home – we know it is special, unique and vibrant and we want nothing more than to show you all of its wonders.
Yellowknife has been my home for over 21 years now. Yellowknife will always be home. And I hope one day you will come and visit this magical place so I can show you all its wonders.