Yellowknife, NWT, Canada. Until V told us about it, I couldn’t even place it on a map. Home to approximately 21,000 people and ranking 35th in Money Sense’s list of Canada’s Best Places to Live 2014, it’s arguably one of the best locations in the world to view the aurora borealis. It’s also apparently “The Diamond Capital of North America”. Not to mention, there are beautiful hiking trails and great fishing spots and is one of the featured locations in the show Ice Road Truckers.
I’ll admit I was unprepared for how small the ‘city’ was and having not been fully prepared for the trip (this was probably the first holiday we’ve been on without actually planning anything), it was a bit of a shock to the system. How did we end up holidaying in Podunk?!
The downtown area consists of a handful of restaurants, hotels, one tiny visitor’s centre, a Shoppers Drug Mart (think Boots), and an Independent Grocer. To put things into perspective, I used to think Guildford was tiny (having moved from London), but it at least has everything a girl could want in terms of shopping. That said, the more time we spent exploring Yellowknife, the more I appreciated the simplicity of life there. Old Town has some interesting galleries and a bistro with a lot of character that serves amazing local fish.
The south side of town has a Walmart, a string of petrol stations, a larger Independent Grocers, a Co-op and Tim Hortons! I had heard about ‘Timmies’ and was happy to finally try my very own maple donut (although I must say I much prefer American donuts–they’re a lot fluffier and not as dense).
There is a considerable Inuit population in Yellowknife and I loved seeing signs in Inuktitut, English and French. Monkey loved finding Inuksuks everywhere, as well. Yellowknife may not be your typical holiday spot, but an aurora holiday is a unique experience and we would definitely recommend making Yellowknife your destination for it (especially if you don’t like the idea of freezing in -30ºC weather). There aren’t many places in the world where you can see the northern lights in late August/early September, which seems to be the time to visit. The people we met were all so lovely and the locals were all so helpful–we will definitely consider returning to see the northern lights in Yellowknife again.