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Practical information about living in the Northwest Territories.

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Eli's Story - Yellowknife

I should have born in the NWT, but at the last minute my mom was flown by medivac to Edmonton. I’ve spent most of my life in the NWT and Nunavut living in very small communities like Resolute and Pangnirtung, before settling in Fort Smith. Most of my family is still here.

After completing high school and my undergraduate degree in Ontario and my Master of Science in Preventive Conservation at the UofA, I did my final project in Smith, where I also spent summers as an interpreter at the museum. Now I’m in Yellowknife interning as a Conservation Technician at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre. I work on stabilizing and conserving everything from clothing with insect problems, to a sewing machine, to an 11,000 year-old steppe bison skull.

Since I’ve lived in Ontario and Alberta, I’ve seen the differences between the North and South. There are definitely opportunities available in the South that aren’t available here, but on the other hand, I’ve had a lot more opportunities than kids in the South. The Student Financial Assistance program here is amazing. And where else could I finish my schooling and get a job in my profession right out of school?

My motto is “Say Yes!” and since moving to Yellowknife in January 2010, I’ve said yes to Ultimate Frisbee, soccer, a half-marathon – even a pottery class! I’m also the Western Arctic’s Green Party candidate. As an avid motorcyclist, I help organize the NWT Ride for Dad, which raises funds and awareness for prostate cancer and I also volunteered for the Relay for Life. I enjoy everything from reading and gaming to canoeing, hiking and climbing. I’m planning to ski and train for the Rock and Ice Ultra this winter. 

It’s easy to follow your dreams here because people are so encouraging. I’ve renewed my passion for acting. This summer I was in 2 different plays, helped organize a one-act play festival and I’m involved in 2 productions right now. I’m also helping to direct a play for the V-Day North 2010/11 campaign (a worldwide initiative to stop violence against women/girls).

To me, Yellowknife is a big city with a small town feel but to southerners it may feel like a small city with a big town feel. With all the amenities Yellowknife has, the only difference I see is the shorter time to get across town than other cities. But if you yearn for home, take a drive at 5:00 and you’ll experience rush minute!