culture & community relationships & love travel

Yellowknife via Photo – Because Describing it in Words Will Only Tell You How I Really Feel.

by Amber β€” July 23, 2012

I’ve lived in Yellowknife for four years this September. I still don’t know how I feel about it. I describe my relationship with this city as a love/hate kinda thing. I can’t wait to leave, to experience something new and unfamiliar and I am so lucky that we have a lifestyle that affords us frequent trips to our closest cities (Calgary or Edmonton, each a one hour and forty minute flight away.)

It’s become a bit of a sport telling family and friends back home what its like living up here. They all seem to want to compare the weather, to know what sort of stores we have and can’t believe that anyone would choose, what they believe is, an isolated life.

Below are some pics that will give everyone an idea of what life is like here. I’m doing it this way because I think people might be interested in seeing what life in Northern Canada is like…. but also, because, I’m too chicken to explore how I really feel about this place.

This isn’t the most flattering picture, I know. This is a few years back and my friends are standing on the foundation of our, in-the-process-of-being-built, home. I wanted to use this picture because it shows one of my favourite parts of living here. LIGHT. This is probably around 1am in June.


And on the opposite side of things, this is around 9:30 am in February. Yes, the sun has only just begun to rise.






We do get A-list visitors. Will and Kate included us on their honeymoon tour and we repaid the favour by stalking the newlyweds with our cameras.








We also have a yearly zombie walk like every other city in the world, these guys are also stalked by locals with cameras….. on a side note, does anyone know why these happen? πŸ™‚







This is my husband goofing around on the ice road. (not sky diving as it might appear). In the winter some trips are shorter from point A to B, because we can drive across a number of frozen lakes. You may have seen some documentation of 18 wheelers doing this on a show called Ice Road Truckers. It takes place in Yellowknife (as does Ice Pilots and some of Arctic Air.)


The two main industries in Yellowknife are Mining (as of late, diamonds, previously gold) and Government (federal and territorial). I’d venture a guess that the third industry is aviation. There are a lot of ‘outfits’ here in town that will fly you and your equipment out to mine sites, hunting lodges, etc that are not accessible by land. This picture is actually of a Fundraiser for the Special Olympics. Teams compete to pull the herc. a certain distance in the fastest amount of time. (for those that watch Ice Pilots, they fly hercs. on that show.)


Ah, yes, the snow castle. Every year around Christmas the Snow King…. I don’t know this man by any other name, will begin to build a large ice castle. When it is done (March 1st, every year) it houses art shows, concerts, weddings, etc. Local artists will carve pretty patterns into the walls or create ice sculptures. This is an homage to the Snow King himself and my friend, apparently, loves him!


Β One of my favourite times of the year, is September. That’s when Northern Cranberries are ready to pick. They grow close to the ground, are often mistaken for bear berries and honestly you have to do a lot of scouting and picking to get any amount worth baking with, but this is one of the last times we get outside before winter sets in late October.




This one of my favourite things to see in winter. It’s called Hoar frost. I’m not sure how it gets there…. I think things must warm up enough for the snow to melt a bit and then it freezes to something in between snow and ice…. but it’s like each tree has been crystallized.








This is a beautiful winter day. The sun is setting over the city skyline, my friend is making a snow angel on the lake just out side of my house.





This is a beautiful summer day. My husband is looking out over the lake outside of our house. This view (and the house) is one of the reasons I’d hate to leave this city.

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  • Sara

    Amazing the way you captured all the beauty of the north. We are very lucky to have the opportunity to live in the land of the midnight sun. Good job!

  • Lovely, Amber! Even though you didn’t feel ready to truly explore your feelings about your city, you still managed to convey much through the pictures…of friends, of family and of the similarities and differences between home and Home. Now, the question is..which is which?

  • JodyO

    Makes me what to visit even more! This was so much fun to read. Becca once told me how some of the most interesting people live there and how wonderful that is. I would agree knowing you and Becca! πŸ™‚

  • JoAnna

    Yellowknife is perhaps one of the most beautifully ‘raw’ places I’ve ever been. What amazed me most was the 30 minute descent over Great Slave Lake, which seemed to go on forever. That was followed by my surprise at how green and light it is. Your pictures reminded me of that time and how there are some – all Canadian – things that my heart aches for. Lovely post.

  • Amber

    JoAnna – I love that you’ve been to Yellowknife. What brought you this way?

    JodyO- We’re looking forward to a visit from you, and all three of your boys, one of these days…. as for interesting people, yes, Becca is right, but I wouldn’t discount the interesting people in Toronto either…. no one has proposed to me in Yellowknife, with a cup of Urine in their hand, only people in Toronto do that!

    Maggi – Yes, which is which…. There is still so much of me left in Toronto and Dublin, I try not to dwell, but I’m waiting for Yellowknife to catch up, you know?

    Sara – Thank you. I’m lucky to be here, despite my reservations in exploring how I feel about it. Good friends certainly help make this place feel more like home.