Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre
Journey through the history and culture as well as the geology and wildlife of the Northwest Territories at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre. Varied museum exhibits tell stories about the land and its people including frontier aviation, mining and the Arctic. The Centre is more than a museum as it also houses the Government’s archives and they design and circulate exhibits interpreting the human and natural history of the Northwest Territories. The Centre is located near downtown Yellowknife on the shores of Frame Lake close to the Legislative Building. You can also enjoy coffee or lunch at the Museum Café.
The Legislative Building of the Northwest Territories
The Legislative Building of the Northwest Territories is one of the most unique legislatures in Canada, highlighting the consensus style of government and the traditional values of the people that sets the Northwest Territories apart from other Canadian provinces. The Legislative Assembly also houses one of the territory’s best art collections. Guided tours are available. In a natural setting on the shores of Frame Lake, the beautiful Legislative Assembly building is a short walk from the downtown Yellowknife.
Yellowknife’s Old Town
One of the most diverse, historic, offbeat neighborhoods in Canada, Old Town is the heart of Yellowknife. Here, where the Precambrian Shield blends into the Great Slave Lake, gold seekers approximately 80 years ago pioneered what was to become the North’s greatest settlement. Today the area is an intriguing mixture of log cabins, mansions, houseboats, float planes, art galleries, famous restaurants, monuments and more. Guides to Old Town’s historic sites are available from the Northern Frontier Visitor Center.
NWT Diamond Centre
At the NWT Diamond Centre enjoy a journey through the vast history of diamond mining in the Canadian North. Learn about the many complexities that bring this truly unique product to market. The centre also features and sells a variety of loose diamonds – mined, cut, and polished in the Northwest Territories as well as displays of jewellery.
The Bush Pilot’s Monument
The Bush Pilot’s Monument in the Old Town is a must do attraction when visiting Yellowknife. It is a local monument honoring the bush pilots of today and yesterday, who helped open up the north to the rest of Canada. The monument sits on “The Rock”, a six-storey-high hill in the centre of Yellowknife’s Old Town. From the top enjoy the 360 degree view of the city and watch floatplanes land and take off amongst the houseboats.
Yellowknife Farmers Market
The Yellowknife Farmers Market is coordinated by a group of community volunteers. The Farmers Market features: home-made, home-grown, locally harvested products, kids craft area, musical entertainment, and plenty of space for picnics.
When: June – mid-September, every Tuesday, 17:15–19:15.
Dettah, or “Burnt Point,” is Yellowknife’s Dene settlement of about 220. With a prime location on the rolling shield-rock at the mouth of Yellowknife Bay, Dettah was traditionally a seasonal fish camp which has turned into a permanent settlement in the 1930s. Here you’ll find many examples of traditional Dene lifestyle – whitefish drying on racks and moosehides being tanned. It is 27 km up the Ingraham Trail.
ART, CRAFTS AND GALLERIES
The Old Town Glassworks
The Old Town Glassworks is a worker’s cooperative that has been creating beautiful recycled glassware from rescued bottles on the shores of Great Slave Lake since 1994. Choose ready-made gifts or express your creative side, and make your very own one-of-a-kind and eco-friendly souvenir, sandblasted with unique northern designs.
Wild Sky Silk Art Originals
Discover the magic of water marbling, which is as easy as 1, 2, 3. You will express your creative side by choosing your colours, floating your paint and designing a 100% silk scarf. It is guaranteed that you will take home a true work of art.
Dream Catcher Lesson
Dream catchers are one of the most fascinating traditions in Indigenous culture. The traditional dream catcher was intended to protect the sleeping individual from bad dreams, while letting positive dreams through. This 2 hour lesson will guide you through making your own dream catcher so you will always have a souvenir from your visit to Yellowknife.
At the Fireweed Studio during weekends throughout the summer you can venture into the little log building beside city hall to peruse an array of local arts and crafts made by the Yellowknife Guild of Arts and Crafts.
Gallery of Midnight Sun
Founded in 1989, the Gallery of the Midnight Sun is the largest and most comprehensive Northern Art gallery in the Canadian Arctic which includes Inuit and Dene art as well as other souvenirs. Located in historic Yellowknife’s Old Town on the shores of Great Slave Lake.
Down to Earth Gallery
Operating in Yellowknife’s Old Town this artist-run Down to Earth Gallery specializes in an eclectic mix of Northern-made art and fine crafts. Located at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Bryson Drive this gallery is open year-round.
Aurora Emporium Art Gallery
Located in the centre of Yellowknife, Northern Images has been promoting Inuit, Dene and Metis arts and artists for over 40 years. This gallery offers an exceptional selection of authentic sculptures, prints, books, jewellery and giftware including northern apparel and traditional hand-made crafts. Take a piece of the North home with you and support the Arctic Co-operatives Limited, a service organization owned and controlled by 32 community-based, multi-purpose co-operatives in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukon. The Co-ops are independently owned and controlled Inuit and Dene businesses which Northern Images supports by marketing their art and crafts as well as being committed to the preservation of their heritage as depicted through arts and crafts.
Yellowknife City Tour
These 2 to 4 hour tours introduce you to Yellowknife and what makes it unique through its history, northern culture and art. Attractions include the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories and the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre near Yellowknife’s modern downtown with a stop at the NWT Diamond Center as well as the Old Town next to Slave Lake with the Bush Pilots’ Monument. You may also have northern tea and homemade cookies served along the way. Some tours take you out of town to the Giant Mine rich in the history of Yellowknife’s gold mining days, Buffalo Airway’s home of the popular TV series, Ice Pilots with its hangar filled with vintage aircraft and a local Dene community.
Buffalo Airways Hangar Tours
Tours guide you around the northern airline Buffalo Airways Hangar and its fleet; a local icon with vintage and active aircraft in the hangar and outside (weather permitting). The airline was founded by Buffalo Joe (Joe McBryan) in 1970, who gained international fame by the History Channels docu-series “Ice Pilots NWT”. Bush planes and their pilots had a key role in the exploration for diamonds, especially in the Canadian North. Memorabilia can be purchased from the gift shop.
Tours are free and can be booked by calling 867-765-6023 or by emailing [email protected] (by appointment only).
Northern Artist Studio Tour
Yellowknife has a vibrant and eclectic mix of local artists and is known for the quality and variety of locally-produced arts and crafts that reflect life in the North. There are a variety of artists and diverse set of mediums that they use including: jewelry, acrylic paintings, carvings in stone and bone, pottery, furs, et cetera.
Enjoy these local artists welcoming you into their studios and take the time to speak with you about their craft.
Borealis Bike Tours
Borealis Bike Tours offers 2.5-hour tours which vary in routes depending on the season, the cycling level, and the type of ride that the guests prefer. Other tours include tours in Territorial Parks and areas along the Ingram Trail.
Yellowknife Boat Tour
Enjoy a boat tour on Great Slave Lake, the world’s 10th largest freshwater lake. You will cruise through the local houseboats, and past Latham and Jolliffe Islands, and around Yellowknife Bay. Take in a view of the city from the water, and see the vast ocean-like lake stretch off into the distance.
Houseboat and Heritage Boat Tour
Enjoy a unique historical 1.5 hour boat tour from the heart of Yellowknife’s Old Town. Journey through Yellowknife’s unique houseboat community, around N’Dilo, a Dene community, before stopping at Giant Mine to learn about the early mining days in the north.
Yellowknife Bay Paddle Tour
The best way to see Yellowknife is from the water! While paddling along the shores of Yellowknife, you will be able to enjoy the scenic views of the historic old town and Latham Island. Your canoe or kayak glides through the water as you will notice colorful houseboats along our route.
Hiking Tour – Cameron Waterfalls & Ramparts
Just beyond Yellowknife’s city limits, after a scenic drive on the Ingraham Tail, an approximately 1.2 km short hike takes you to view the magical Cameron Waterfalls. Highlights and possible stops along the way include the outdoor Mining Heritage Display at Giant Mine and the Yellowknife River where you will learn about the Yellowknife River Legend, a piece of Dene history.
Join a resident guide on a beautiful nature walk. Enjoy learning and enrich your knowledge of the incredible bird life that migrate through Yellowknife. Right within the city of Yellowknife as well as close by on the shore of Great Slave Lake lie some first-class birding locations. Whether you’re a birder or enjoy nature walks you’re sure to enjoy our birding tour.
The wild landscape of the Northwest Territories is home to stunning views, lakes, rivers and amazing wildlife. It is one of the last remaining places you will see Woodland Bison or ‘Buffalo’ roaming free in the wild. Also, you may spot other wildlife such as foxes, black bear, wolverines, bald eagles, sand cranes, and other rare animals along the way.
Guided half or one day fishing trips travel up to 40 or 90 km along the north shore of Great Slave Lake fishing for Arctic Grayling, Northern Pike or possibly Lake Trout. Relax and enjoy a delicious shore dinner of fresh caught fish. Great Slave Lake is the deepest lake in North America at 614 metres (2010 ft) and the second largest lake in the NWT (behind Great Bear Lake).
A Fantastic Fish Fry – Fishing Trip
This trip is a great way to experience a bit of everything Great Slave has to offer – fishing, sightseeing and the great taste of fresh fish. Travel out into Yellowknife Bay past the native village of Dettah and fish for Northern Pike, which are excellent eating from the cold waters of Great Slave Lake. Take time out to enjoy a fantastic fresh fish fry over an open fire. Fishing gear provided at no charge.
Floatplane Scenic Tours
Come experience Yellowknife or Great Slave Lake a different way– from the sky! Operating out of Yellowknife’s historic Old Town, each visit begins with a warm welcome and picturesque views. Floatplane Tours Depart from the Air Tindi Float base located at 23 Mitchell Drive in Yellowknife’s Old Town.
Cultural Hiking Tour
Take a guided walk on the back trails of Aurora Village to learn about the flora and fauna that people of this land have used for centuries. The cultural hiking experience takes you on a journey into the woods at Aurora Village, you’ll learn about the local traditions of the land and the wildlife and flora of the area.
Indigenous Culture Tour
On this tour you will be taken out to the teepee camp set in the wilderness outside of Yellowknife. A 100% full blood Indigenous tour guide will do a “show and tell” about our culture, and talk about how life was like in the old days and how they are trying to preserve our traditional ways in the modern world. The guide will show you how they set traps and snares to catch the animals they use for food, clothing and medicine.
Given there’s a 90 percent probability of viewing the Aurora Borealis when in-season (August 15 to April 10), it’s no wonder that Yellowknife is considered the most popular Aurora destination in North America. The Aurora offers an entrancing, dramatic display that fascinates all who see it. While it’s spell-binding, it’s not without explanation. In short, it’s science.