Art, Heritage, Culture

Beautiful beaded moccasins. Indigenous hand games. Bush planes and daring pilots that opened the North. Colourful mining lore. Nationally recognized artists and entertainers. All part of the Yellowknife experience.

Historically, the north shore of Great Slave Lake was home to the Yellowknives and Tlicho Dene. Their descendants continue to live in the Yellowknife region, some in the adjoining communities of Dettah and N’dilo. Explorers in the late 18th and early 19th centuries recorded their visits to the Yellowknife area. First was Samuel Hearne in 1770, followed some 50 years later by Sir John Franklin on his epic journey to the Arctic Coast. Hearne’s meeting with the Dene took place in a bay near the Yellowknife River, just outside the current city of Yellowknife.

Yellowknife’s mining history started with the discovery of gold by prospectors enroute to the Klondike in 1898, but actual gold mining didn’t begin until the mid 1930s. This led to the establishment of a small community, which grew as a gold mining centre and was named capital of the Northwest Territories in 1967. Just as gold mining was declining in Yellowknife, diamonds were discovered several hundred miles north of the city and Yellowknife was transformed into the service centre for diamond mining.

Today, Yellowknife is a culturally rich city with dozens of nationally recognized artists, including musicians, carvers and painters and skilled craftspeople. Our residents come from nearly 100 different countries and their customs and cuisine are part of the city’s fabric.

Plaques around the city highlight Yellowknife’s early history, and our arts and crafts are readily available in local galleries. Tourism operators can walk you through our history, introduce you to the Dene culture, or guide you through galleries that highlight our home grown talents. The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre features fascinating exhibits on our culture and heritage, including the role of bush planes in opening the North.

Things to Do in Yellowknife
Art, Heritage, Culture

Teaching the Dene way of life through our history, language, and unique connection to the land. Camp is just outside of Dettah, across the bay from Yellowknife. 100% Aboriginal owned and operated.   

Down to Earth Gallery is an artist run art gallery selling original Northern art created by NWT artists. The artists of the gallery also offer various art workshops. Hours of Operation: Monday-...

Frozen Rock Studio has upwards of eight artists, focusing in different mediums, from different cultural backgrounds. Stop in for a visit! We carve soapstone, Chorite, Marble. We provide soapstone...

Established in 1998, Gallery of the Midnight Sun is the NWT's largest gallery and gift shop offering fine arts and crafts from across the North. Located in Yellowknife's historic Old Town in a...

In summer, visit the commercial fishery and fish for Northern Pike, Lake Trout, Walleye/Pickerel and Lingcod. Half day to a week long tours.  Feast on a freshly cooked fish dinner accompanied by...

Danny Hudson, lifelong northerner and carver, specializes in stone and bone. Laura Love creates rose petal beads and black beads from recycled carving dust. A unique style of jewelry and carvings are...

Chase the Aurora by snowmobile in winter, or by Voyageur Canoe in fall. Specializing in small group tours. In the winter, hop on a snowmobile or strap on your snowshoes to discover an adventure with...

North Star Adventures is a 100% Aboriginal owned, local tour company. We grew up in Yellowknife, we know Yellowknife! We are happy to share our Aboriginal culture. We offer Aboriginal Cultural Tours...

Northern Images supports and promotes northern artists and their products by marketing Inuit and Dene art and crafts in galleries located in Churchill and Yellowknife. Northern Images is the retail...

Visit the NWT Diamond Centre at 5105-49th St. where the stories of NWT Diamond Mines - located 300 kilometers north of Yellowknife - are told in this interpretive exhibit, showcasing the fascinating...

Yellowknife Glass Recyclers Cooperative Limited is a worker's cooperative dedicated to the transformation of bottles into glass art. In 1994, Matthew Grogono developed an innovative technique to cut...

There are many stories written here on this northern landscape, in the movement in the animals, in the growth of a jack pine, and in the people who live here. Strong Interpretation is here to...

The Tlicho Online Store was the idea of the Tlicho Government and the Tlicho Community Services Agency to promote awareness of the Tlicho culture and peoples. To advance, foster, encourage and...

Visual Effects is a staple in Yellowknife, owned and operated by long-time northerners since the early eighties. Together, Peter Bent and John Lodge provide high-quality framing and a beautiful local...