Moving to the Northwest Territories, Territorial Description & Overview

WHY MOVE to Northwest Territories?

This region covers the western half of the Arctic Islands, and is resource rich, with everything from oil & gas, to diamonds and uranium. Most of the population is centered around its capital Yellowknife, and its government recognizes 11 official langagues (including French and English-whew!)

Northwest Territories' Location

The Northwest Territories includes most of northern Canada - all the area north of the provinces and and between the Yukon and Nunavut. It stretches 3,560 kilometres to the North Pole and 4,256 kilometres from east to west, covering 1,171,918 square kilometres or more than 12 percent of the total area of the country.

The Northwest Territories can be divided into two broad geographical regions: The taiga is the boreal forest belt that circles the subarctic zone below the "treeline." The tundra is a rocky Arctic region where the cold climate has stunted vegetation. NWT includes Great Bear Lake (31,328 sq km, eighth largest in the world); Great Slave Lake (28,568 sq km, tenth largest in the world) and the Mackenzie River (4,241 km long, Canada's longest).

Northwest Territories Map

Northwest Territories' History

Nahanni National Parks' Virginia Falls.jpg

The ancestors of the Dene Indian people lived in the Northwest Territories some 10,000 years ago, and were joined by the Inuit who are believed to have crossed the Bering Strait about 5,000 years ago. European expeditions in the 1570s were the first recorded visits to the Northwest Territories. Fur trading began in the late 1700s and whaling in the 1800s, starting a process of substantial change for the Inuit. Stable communities grew around trading posts, mission schools and Royal Canadian Mounted Police stations. In 1870, the British government transferred control of the North-Western Territory to Canada (then everything north and west of Manitoba). In 1905, both Alberta and Saskatchewan became provinces and in 1912 Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec were enlarged to their current northern boundaries. In 1999, the Northwest Territories were divided in two. The eastern two-thirds of the territory is known as Nunavut, which means "Our Land" in the Inuit language of Inuktitut. The new territory is the result of a land settlement and Aboriginal rights agreement between the Inuit and the Canadian Government.

Northwest Territories Economy

Dogsledding is the traditional way of getting around

Northwest Territories' People

The Northwest Territories is the only place in Canada where over half of the population is Aboriginal. The present population of the N.W.T. is approximately 40 000. Dene, Inuvialuit and Métis make up 48%, non-Aboriginals about 52%. Most live in small communities; Yellowknife, the capital, has a population of more than 15 000.

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