Yellowknife (city)

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Downtown Yellowknife
Downtown Yellowknife
Location in Canada
Yellowknife (Northwest Territories)
State : CanadaCanada Canada
Territory : Northwest Territories
Region: North Slave Region
Coordinates : 62 ° 27 ′  N , 114 ° 24 ′  W Coordinates: 62 ° 27 ′  N , 114 ° 24 ′  W
Height : 206  m
Area : 136 km²
Residents : 19,569 (as of 2016)
Population density : 143.9 inhabitants / km²
Time zone : Mountain Time ( UTC − 7 )
Postal code : X1A
Mayor : Rebecca Alty
Website :
Great Slave Lake and Lake Athabasca
Giant mine
Downtown Yellowknife

Yellowknife ( English for yellow knife ) is the capital of the Canadian Northwest Territories with about 19,600 inhabitants. It is located on the north bank of the Great Slave Lake , where the Yellowknife River flows into Yellowknife Bay. The area covers an area of ​​105.20 km² and is rich in gold and diamonds .


The name Yellowknife comes from the yellowish shimmering copper knives of the Canadian First Nation Yellowknife , who exchanged copper knives, axes and tools for food with other tribes in the early 18th century. It is in the traditional hunting grounds of the Dogrib , also part of the Dene , who took possession of the land from the Yellowknife in the 1820s, so that they were forced to join the related Chipewyan for protection .

From 1933, the Canadian government controlled the area. As an independent municipality, the place received its own town hall in 1953 . With the appointment as territorial capital in 1967, government buildings and new residential buildings were built. From January 1, 1970, the municipality was the first in the Northwest Territories to receive city ​​rights . After the last gold mine was closed in 2004, the city changed more as a seat of government and a service center for the local diamond industry.

Yellowknife Airport is part of Canada's National Airports System. It is a kind of hub for scheduled flights to more distant destinations such as Iqaluit , Edmonton or Cambridge Bay , but also to the surrounding area. With a charter flight from here z. B. Bathurst Inlet accessible. The landing area for seaplanes in Yellowknife Bay, which is frequented in summer, is also of importance.

The population is ethnically mixed and the territorial administration distinguishes several Athapascan languages , English and French. Many of the 18,000 residents work for mining companies.


From 1798 the Fort Providence post office was operated on the west bank of the Great Slave Lake, but was abandoned after 31 years. On their way, prospectors discovered the first gold finds in the Klondike in 1896 . In the late 1920s, airplanes were used to explore the arctic regions of Canada. The radium and silver deposits discovered at Großer Bärensee in the early 1930s attracted more curious people looking for precious metal in the area .

In 1933 the two prospectors Herb Dixon and Johnny Baker pulled their canoe down the Yellowknife River to investigate possible mineral deposits. They found gold in two places . Mining of the precious metal began just a year later. Shortly after state geologists found more deposits west of Yellowknife Bay in 1935, the area experienced a brief gold rush . The first Old Town settlement was built around 1936/37 and the Con mine started mining gold on September 5, 1938. The Yellowknife Administration District was established in 1938 and the population rose to 1,000 by 1940.

In 1942 two of the six gold mines had to close. Two years later, gold production was temporarily stopped due to a lack of workers. But the planning for the exploitation of the Giant mine at the northern end of the village, which contained enormous deposits, already began . After new discoveries, more and more people were drawn to Yellowknife. Due to overpopulation, the settlement was expanded to include the new New Town district . The hydroelectric power plant on Snare Lake , which went into operation in 1948, was an important factor in a renewed upswing . In the same year, production began in the Giant mine.

Diamonds were discovered three hundred kilometers north of Yellowknife in the fall of 1991 and gave the area a new boom, but also a new dispute over land between the Canadian government and the Yellowknife Dene Indians. In North America's first diamond mine Ekati , over five tons of the gemstone have been mined from the kimberlite rock since it opened on October 14, 1998 . The Diavik diamond mine has been producing 1,600 kg or eight million carats annually since 2003 .

Yellowknife is the starting point for the world's longest ice road , which connects the mines with the American road network. This road crosses frozen lakes, is only open two months a year and is called Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road .

Since 1979, the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Center has been the territory's main museum and archive.

The city has hosted the Arctic Winter Games several times , most recently in 2008.


Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Yellowknife
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) −22.7 −18.6 −11.2 0.4 10.6 18.2 21.1 18.2 10.3 1.0 −9.9 −19.7 O −0.1
Min. Temperature (° C) −30.9 −28.1 −23.3 −11.0 0.5 8.7 12.4 10.3 3.8 −4.4 −17.7 −27.7 O −8.9
Temperature (° C) −26.8 −23.4 −17.3 −5.3 5.6 13.5 16.8 14.2 7.1 −1.7 −13.8 −23.7 O −4.5
Precipitation ( mm ) 14.1 12.9 13.4 10.8 19.1 26.9 35.0 40.9 32.9 35.0 23.5 16.3 Σ 280.8
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 1.5 3.5 6.1 9.0 10.9 12.7 11.9 9.2 5.2 2.0 1.4 0.8 O 6.2
Rainy days ( d ) 11.2 9.0 8.2 5.4 6.7 7.5 9.5 10.1 10.8 14.2 14.4 12.0 Σ 119
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec



Northern lights over Yellowknife

As the largest city in the Northwest Territories, Yellowknife has become a major location for mining and tourism, as well as for the transportation and communications industries. Education, health and government agencies are also located.

In the beginning, gold mining was an important economic factor. Due to the falling gold prices and rising costs for the mines, the last gold mine was closed in 2004, which led to a realignment of the economy in the city. However, Yellowknife's economy has recovered strongly due to the diamond boom. The Ekati Diamond Mine , operated by BHP Billiton , opened in 1998. A second mine, the Diavik Diamond Mine, started production in 2003. The two mines produced 12,618,000 carats (approx. 2524 kg) in 2004 with a value of over C $ 2.1 billion . This made Canada the third largest diamond producer in the world by production value and the sixth largest by weight. A third mine, Snap Lake Diamond Mine of De Beers received its mining permit in 2005 and began production in 2007. In addition, De Beers proposed in 2005 a mining permit for a new mine, Gahcho Kue Diamond Mine Project . Construction of the mine began in 2010. The mine is expected to reach full production capacity in 2012. Economic growth in the Northwest Territories in 2003 was around 10.6%.

Major employers include the provincial government, the federal government, Diavik Diamond Mines Incorporated (a subsidiary of Rio Tinto Group) / Harry Winston Diamond Corporation, BHP Billiton , First Air , NorthwesTel, RTL Robinson Trucking and the City of Yellowknife. Public employers create around 7,644 jobs.

During the winter months, the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road , an ice road, is open to trucks. These supply the northern area of ​​Yellowknife with the necessary materials. The ice road is usually passable from the end of January to the end of March / beginning of April. During this time, Yellowknife developed into a magnet for truck drivers who want to drive on the ice track. During the 2007 ice season, several drivers were accompanied on this route by the History Channel documentary series in the Ice Road Truckers series .

Tourism is also one of the major industries in the Northwest Territories and Yellowknife. The vast majority of tourists come from Japan to experience the northern areas of Canada with their traditional local culture and the northern lights .

The headquarters of the regional airline Canadian North is in Yellowknife. The airline uses Yellowknife Airport as its main commercial airport .

Public facilities

RCMP building

Public order in Yellowknife is ensured by the Canadian Federal Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) . The RCMP is headquartered in Yellowknife, which has more than 30 officers. There are also several auxiliary police officers employed by the city. The Yellowknife Fire Department is responsible for fire fighting and medical first aid, and the Stanton Territorial Hospital for medical treatment.

Oddities / trivia

In September 1984 Pope John Paul II's plane had to land in Yellowknife during his trip to Canada , as the actual destination Fort Simpson airport could not be approached due to thick fog and the fuel threatened to run out. The Pope was escorted to the airport building, where he gave a short speech and greeted those onlookers who had heard about the unforeseen event on the radio and who had gathered with "I greet you, people of Yellow". The people replied in chorus with "knife" whereupon the Pope repeated his greeting in amazement, the onlookers shouted "knife" again - until someone whispered in his ear: "Holy Father, we have landed in a place called 'Yellowknife'", whereupon the Pope had to laugh and the good mood was restored.

Twin cities

United StatesUnited States Reno , Nevada , United States
United StatesUnited States Fairbanks , Alaska , United States
RussiaRussia Yakutsk , Sakha , Russia


See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Yellowknife  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Census Profile, 2016 Census. Statistics Canada, November 16, 2017, accessed March 8, 2018 .
  2. ^ Council Members. City of Yellowknife, accessed September 15, 2019 .
  3. Sombrero for the father in a hurry . SPIEGEL SPECIAL 3/2005. Retrieved December 27, 2011
  4. Tobias Mehler in the Internet Movie Database (English)