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Experience Yellowknife.


Yellowknife  is the capital and only city, as well as the largest community in the Northwest Territories (NT or NWT), Canada. It is located on the northern shore of Great Slave Lake, approximately 400 km (250 mi) south of the Arctic Circle, on the west side of Yellowknife Bay near the outlet of the Yellowknife River.

Yellowknife and its surrounding water bodies were named after a local Dene tribe once known as the ‘Copper Indians’ or ‘Yellowknife Indians’, referred to locally as the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, who traded tools made from copper deposits near the Arctic Coast. The current population is ethnically mixed. Of the eleven official languages of the Northwest Territories, five are spoken in significant numbers in Yellowknife: Dene Suline, Dogrib, South and North Slavey, English, and French. In the Dogrib language, the city is known as Sǫ̀mbak’è (Som-ba Kay) (“where the money is”).


The Yellowknife settlement is considered to have been founded in 1934,after gold was found in the area, although commercial activity in the present-day waterfront area did not begin until 1936. Yellowknife quickly became the centre of economic activity in the NWT, and was named the capital of the Northwest Territories in 1967. As gold production began to wane, Yellowknife shifted from being a mining town to a centre of government services in the 1980s. However, with the discovery of diamonds north of Yellowknife in 1991, this shift has begun to reverse.




Geography and climate

Yellowknife has a subarctic climate[26] (KöppenDfc) and averages less than 300 mm (12 in) of precipitation annually, as the city lies in the rain shadow of mountain ranges to the west.[27] Thanks to its location on Great Slave Lake, Yellowknife has a frost-free growing season that averages slightly over 100 days.[28] Most of the limited precipitation falls between June and October, with April being the driest month of the year and August having the most rainfall. Snow that falls in winter accumulates on the ground until the spring thaw.

Yellowknife is on the Canadian Shield, which was scoured down to rock during the last ice age.[28] The surrounding landscape is very rocky and slightly rolling, with many small lakes in addition to the larger Great Slave Lake.[29] Trees such as spruce and birch are abundant in the area, as are smaller bushes, but there are also many areas of relatively bare rock with lichen.[30] Yellowknife’s high latitude causes a large variation between day and night. Daylight hours range from five hours of daylight in December to twenty hours in June. Twilight lasts all night from late May to mid-July.[31]

Yellowknife has very cold winters and mild to warm summers. The average temperature in January is around −26 °C (−15 °F) and 17 °C (63 °F) in July.[27] According to Environment Canada, Yellowknife has the sunniest summer in the country, averaging 1034 hours from June to August.[32] The lowest temperature ever recorded in Yellowknife was −51.2 °C (−60 °F) on 31 January 1947, and the highest was 32.5 °C (90.5 °F) on 16 July 1989.[27] Yellowknife averages 2256.5 hours of bright sunshine per year or 43.5% of possible daylight hours, ranging from a low of 15.4% in December to a high of 63.0% in June.[27] Due to its warm summer temperatures, Yellowknife is well below the arctic tree line in stark contrast to areas further east in Canada on similar parallels.