Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories is situated in northern Canada and is one of the 3 federal territories of Canada. The area borders two territories of Canada – Yukon is on the western side and Nunavut is on the east. The three provinces such as British Columbia are on the southwest, while Alberta and Saskatchewan are towards the south. The total land area of the territory is 440 000 square miles. Yellowknife is the capital of the Northwest Territories since 1967. Certain geographical features of the area are Great Bear Lake which is the biggest lake in Canada, Keller Lake, Great Slave Lakes and the Mackenzie River. Nahanni National Park Reserve contains the canyons. Mount Nirvana which is close to the Yukon border is the tallest point of the Northwest Territories. More than half the area is beyond a tree line. The eastern areas and the north islands are marked by absence of trees.

There is a great deal of climatic variations between the south and the north. The Territories southern part experiences subarctic climate. The northern coast and the islands have polar climate. The southern regions summers are warm, though short. Winters are very long and cold. In the north, summers are cool and short while winters are bitterly cold and long. Thunderstorms are more common in the southern areas than in the north. The climate of the Territory is predominantly dry.

The Northwest Territories of today was actually formed in June 1870. At this time, Hudson’s Bay Company made a transfer of Rupert’s Land and North-west Territory to the Canadian government. This vast region consisted of all non-confederation Canada with the exception of British Columbia, the Great Lakes coast, the Saint Lawrence River valley, the southern Quebec, Newfoundland, the Maritimes as well as the Labrador coast. Arctic Islands were also excluded excepting the southern part of Baffin Island. These regions were under the British reign till 1880. Subsequent to the transferring, the territories were eventually whittled away. The Canadian government dropped the hyphenated spelling form and renamed it Northwest Territories.

The major ethnic groups of Northwest Territories include First Nations, English, Scottish, Irish, Inuit, French, German, Metis and Ukrainian. French became the official language in the year 1877. However other languages like Chipewyan, Cree, English, Inuktitut and others also came to be recognized as official languages of the Northwest Territories.

The geological resources of Northwest Territories are gold, natural gas, diamonds and petroleum. The extensive natural resources and comparatively low population provide for the highest per capita GDP among all the provinces and Canadian territories.

The communities of Northwest Territories include:

• Yellowknife
• Norman Wells
• Inuvik
• Hay River
• Fort Smith
• Fort Simpson
• Fort Liard

Famous people
Nellie Joy Cournoyea from Aklavik was the earliest woman head in Canadian government. Margot Kidder (actress) is a resident of Yellowknife.