Advice for Visitors to Canada
A Vacation in the Northwest Territories
When you think of a vacation in the Northwest Territories, nature’s
beauty comes to mind; matter of fact, this is actually an understatement
as those who have visited the area's lakes and national parks agree that
words cannot describe the hypnotizing panorama of the Great North.
The Northwest Territories are situated in northern Canada, bordering
Nunavut to the east, Saskatchewan and Alberta to the South, British Columbia
is southwest, Yukon to the west, and the sea to the north. It covers an
enormous amount of land yet, like Canada's other northern regions, it
remains barely populated. This is good news for those wanting a vacation
in the Northwest Territories in order to get away from the maddening crowds
and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature.
the Northwest Territories
Roughly half of the territory sits above the tree line; consequently,
it gets a bit of a warmer climate than its neighboring territories. However,
since it covers over 500,000 square miles, you can expect a range in climate
from north to south.
The northern coast experiences a polar climate, characterized by a substantial
lack of warmth during the summer months. While the sun shines almost 24
hours a day in the summer, the winter rarely sees any light. Temperatures
can reach as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Southern portions of the territory have a subarctic climate with short,
mild summers, averaging 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and long, cold winters,
averaging daytime temperatures of -4 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime
lows of -22 degrees Fahrenheit.
While thunderstorms are rare, occurring mostly in the southern areas,
the territory experiences arctic blizzards, violent snowstorms that cause
whiteout conditions and can bring about temperatures of -60 degrees Fahrenheit.
While these phenomena are a thrill to watch when you are safe and sound
inside, visitors should take weather warnings very seriously.
- Yellowknife – It is the capital of the territory
and the highest populated city with less than 20,000 habitants. Seeing
its first settlement in 1935, when gold was found in the region, it
is a relatively new city. Every vacation in the Northwest Territories
must include a trip to The Gold Range Bar, the oldest drinking establishment
in the area, and the inspiration for “Solomon Gursky Was Here,”
a novel by Mordecai Richler.
- Hay River – This small town of approximately
3,500 people is second in line as the most populated area in the territory.
It is said to have been inhabited as far back as 7,000 BC, but it was
not until 1892, that settlers brought dairy cows and started building
log cabins. Anyone interested in the country's history will certainly
enjoy a visit to Hay River.
- Inuvik – Here is a town known for its Igloo
Church – a must-see. Since1989, for 10 days in July, the Great
Northern Arts Festival celebrates its local artists, artisans, and performers.
Things to Do
Regardless of the season, there are a multitude of things to
do on a vacation in the Northwest Territories. Whether you play in the
snow, visit a wilderness lodge, or hike one of the hardest trails in North
America, there are enough activities here to keep you busy and happy.
- Cross-country Skiing – It is a way of life
to dwellers in the Northwest Territories. Some trails have been made
famous by Canada's first cross-country team to participate in the Olympics.
- Hiking – From scenic trails for the casual
stroller to challenging treks for the advanced backpacker, the region
offers memorable hiking adventures. Canoe Heritage Trail is known to
be a worthwhile challenge. There are also guided tours on horseback
or on foot in the Mackenzie Mountains.
- Rafting – Visitors from around the world take
a vacation in the Northwest Territories just to go white water rafting.
Expeditions on major rivers are always accompanied by seasoned guides.
- Canoeing and Kayaking – There is virtually
every type of freshwater adventure available here. A peaceful canoe
ride on a lake surrounded by unspoiled wilderness is a breathtaking
experience, while kayak enthusiasts burn off adrenaline on the Pelican
Rapids and the unforgiving Rapids of the Drowned. Some of the fastest
moving waters in the world flow through this area.
- Dog Sledding –Dogsleds rule in this region.
You can choose to drive your own team of huskies or leave it to the
experienced mushers. Lovers of nature enjoy a long run through the Mackenzie
Bison Sanctuary, with an overnight stay in an insulated tent; and they
can watch the northern lights.
- Wildlife Watching – Canada's most pristine
wildlife areas are found in the Northwest Territories. Take a guided
tour through a wildlife sanctuary and you may spot a moose, bison, black
bear, fox, caribou, wolf, or perhaps a grizzly. At the edge of a floe,
you may be lucky enough to observe some whales.
- Shopping – Souvenirs are truly one-of-a-kind.
Clothing is made from traditional materials with exquisite bead work
while unique carvings and paintings are created by the local artists.
Do not forget that since the diamond boom of 1991, this is the ideal
place to buy some sparkle to take home with you.
Whatever it is you choose to do, rest assured that your trip to Northwest
Territories will be memorable.
Read more information about cities
to visit in Canada.
About the Author
Johnny Mangiante is an online journalist. He is also the editor and webmaster
for many websites. For more information on Travel Medical Insurance for
Visitors to Canada see his website http://www.visitorstocanada.com/.