The first part of November is not usually a great time to fly to the Canadian North. I had been invited by the Yellowknife Arts and Crafts Guild which was made possible by a generous grant by the NWT government. With three days and three evenings of workshops to deliver I had made a few general plans to explore the city by night and by day. This comprises Part 1 of my Yellowknife Diary.
The best days in Yellowknife start out at the Dancing Moose Cafe, a landmark with great food and attentive service. Located in Old Town along the shore of the Great Slave Lake we enjoy unobstructed views over the frozen lake.
With our bellies full and warmly dressed my self-appointed tour guide Minnie navigats the car up to Pilot’s Monument, an excellent place to view the city and surrounding areas.
Pilot’s Monument stands to honor the bush pilots who have in the past and continue to serve the Canadian North. The time of day is about 11 a. m. – the sun has nearly reached its peak for this time of the year.
Climbing the large boulders and capturing the frozen surface of the surrounding lakes I came across this plaque providing in-depth facts of the location. This granite is the oldest exposed rock on earth.
The mysterious autumn light transforms the icy surface of Great Slave Lake with its islands and house boats.
Downtown Yellowknife with its business, government and apartment buildings is visible in the distance.
We make our way down the hill and arrive in Old Town. Colorful shacks are witness to the diversity and individuality of its inhabitants. Color and humor go hand in hand and are apparent no matter where I turn.
Bullock’s Bistro came highly recommended. Imagine my disappointment when I discover that the Bistro would be closed until my departure day. Yellowknife just appeared on my list of places to visit again…
The water truck’s pump is noisily replenishing the Bistro’s reserves. I make my way closer, step over the water hose on the ground and can’t get enough of the signs and details adorning the outside of Bullock’s.
Hmmm, I wonder where the drinking water comes from.
And now for something even more humorous.
Stapled to the veranda, some great advice!
Just above the sign: “Still life with beer bottle”
This great mailbox is nailed to the railing.
Bullocks Bistro is a heritage building in Old Town. It was the original location for Weaver and Devore Trading Post.
Across the street, Weaver and Devore. This humble building houses the most complete collection of clothing to combat the relentless cold of the north. A treasure trove of jackets, pants, mukluks, mittens and gloves ensures hours of exploration. The main level is a conglomerate of import delicatessen, convenience and hardware store.
Only a few steps from Weaver and Devore a small log building is home to “Just Furs.” The name implies it all – fur mittens, fur hats, fur shawls, a heaven of warmth for the real winter ahead. My patchwork fur-lined mittens and rabbit fur hat will make the Saskatchewan winter a lot easier to take.
With a multitude of galleries all over the city, “Earth” in Old Town is the one that represents a great cross-section of local talent. A chance to interact with author and photographer Fran Hurcomb ensures that I would pick up a copy of “Old Town” which she is only too happy to autograph.
We turn the wheels back to the busy downtown after we stop briefly to check the condition of the ice road. The road is still closed but it won’t be long before it offers alternate routes to various destinations, including a way to reach the houseboats.
Yellowknife is highly underrated when it comes to a travel destination. The photo opportunities are endless and the people are the friendliest around. More about Yellowknife coming soon!