Sunday, December 25, 2016

Northwest Territories

Canada's Three Territories are Yukon, Nunavut
and centering them is Northwest Territories.

The Northwest Territories entered the Canadian Federation on July 15, 1970
but the current borders were formed on April 1, 1999
when the Northwest Territories was subdivided to create Nunavut to the east.

Geography: Combining the regions of Dehcho, North Slave, Sahtu, South Slave and Inuvik, their remote landscape encompasses forest, mountains, Arctic tundra & islands in the Canadian Archipelago. Dehcho's Nahanni National Park Reserve centers around the canyons of the South Nahanni River and 90 m-high Virginia Falls. The regional capital, Yellowknife, is on the north shore of Great Slave Lake.

The Northwest Territories is bordered on the south by three provinces:
British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Of Interest: My son, knowing that I had, a few years ago, visited the 'Four Corners' of United States being Colorado and Utah to the north, Arizona and New Mexico to the south, my son advised me that Canada also had 4 corners which he had map-discovered. Check it out: Northwest Territories and Nunavut to the north, Saskatchewan and Manitoba to the south! These 'four corners' of taiga forests is hundreds of kilometres from any road or railway...but can be accessed from nearby Kasba Lake Airport/Water Aerodrome as well as from Points North Landing near Wollast on lake.
The 'Four Corners', marked by a metre-high obelisk
is inscribed to say it was erected in 1962.
On the top of the obelisk, there is a disc warning of 5 years imprisonment
for removing or distroying this monument.

Date Entered Confederation: In 1870 when Rupert's Land and the Northwest Territories became the property of Canada, they were renamed the North West Territories, becoming part of Confederation.
Today, with an estimated population of 43,537 in 2013 it is the most populous Territory in Northern Canada...with Yellowknife becoming the terratorial capital in 1967.

Geographical features include Great Bear Lake, the largest lake entirely in Canada...and Great Slave Lake, the deepest body of water in North America at 614 m (2,014 ft), as well as the Mackenzie River and the canyons on Nahanni National Park Reserve...a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its highest point is Mount Nirvana near Yukon at an elevation of 2,773 m (9,098 ft).

Climate: The southern part of the territory (most of the mainland) has a subarctic climate; the islands and northern coast have a polar climate. Summers in the north are short and cool; winters are long and harsh. Thunderstorms are not rare in the south, yet very rare in the north. The Territory has a fairly dry climate due to the mountains in the west. About half the territory is above the tree line.

Demography: The NWT is one of two jurisdictions in Canada (Nunavut) being the other), where the Aboriginal peoples are in the majority, consisting 50.3% of the population. According to the 2006 Canadian census, the 10 major ethinic groups were: North American Indian (36.5%), English (17.2%), Canadian (14.7%), Scottish (14.3%), Irish (11.8%), Inuit (11.1%), French (10.5%), German (8.5%), Metis (6.9%), Ukranian (3.5%).

Religion: The largest denominations by number of adherents according to the 2001 census were Roman Catholic (46.7%)...the Anglican Church of Canada with 5,510 (14.9%)...and the United Church of Canada with 2,230 (6.o%)...while a total of 6,465 (17.4%) people stated no religion.

Language: French was made the official language in 1877 by territorial government; later in 1892, assembley members voted for an English-only territory. Today, the Northwest Terrtories' Official Languages Act recognizes the following eleven official languages...which are more than in any other political division in the Americas: Chipewyan, Cree, English, French, Gwich'in, Iuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavay, South Slavey, Tlicho.
NWT residents have the right to use any of the above languages
in a territorial court and in debates; however laws are legally binding
only in French and English versions.

Economy: The NWT's geological resources include gold, diamonds, natual gas and petroleum. BP is the only oil company currently producinng oil in the Territory. NWT diamonds are promoted as an alternative to purchasing blood diamonds. Two of the biggest mineral resource companies in the world, BH) Billiton and Rio Tinto mine many of their diamonds from the NWT.
Yellowknife(the closest city in North America to the North Pole
is called “The Diamond Capital of North America.”

Symbols of Northwest Territories
Flower: Mountain Avens...a creamy-white which blooms in profusion in early spring.
Tree: Tamarack Larch...a prime source of wood for poles and posts.
Bird: Gyrfalcon...found in all regions, it is sleek, strong and fast being the largest of the falcons.
Territorial Symbol...polar bear
Motto: “Explore Canada's Arctic” (as viewed on a licence plate).

N.W.T. Promotes Last Chance to Drive Ice Road
From Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk
(a recent article by The Canadian Press in mid autumn)
In southern Canada, driving on ice is something to avoid. In parts of the North, it's the only wintertime option...and for some adventurers, part of the attraction. But that option will soon cease to exist on one well-known route: the 187 kilometres between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories.

This winter, offers the last chance to drive the seasonal ice road to 'Tuk' (as the Arctic Ocean hamlet is called). Beginning in winter 2017-18, the frozen of several northern ice roads...will be replaced by an all-season overland highway...a project that has been planned for decades.

What's it like to drive Arctic ice? A description on on Inuvik's tourism website puts it this way:
A trip in the winter, meandering through the Mackenzie Delta
and the treeless Arctic tundra as your four wheels leave pavement
in favour of dreamlike!”
According to a 15-year-average, the ice road to 'Tuk' opens in mid-December and closes around the end of April. Speed limits on the roads are enforeced for your safety. Dangerous holes can open in the road if speeding traffic creates waves under the ice. N.W.T. States that cars can be rented for the adventure.
There are daily flights to Inuvik from Edmonton, Yellowknife and Whitehorse...and weekly flights from Vancouver, Calgary and other airlines flying year-round to Inuvik.

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...September 24, 2016
Comments welcome...mbairdkerr@cogeco or

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