Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 34 – Yellowknife – Start of Solstice Festival


The yellow knife is based on a copper powder knife used in the mining industry. It was important for the dynamite suppliers to use a copper knife because opening the powder cases with a steel knife could cause a spark.

The City of Yellowknife adopted the knife a few years ago to symbolize gold mining as one of the major industries in the area.

Yellowknife has been the capital of NWT since 1967. Yellowknife is named after the Yellowknife Dene who moved into the area in the early 1800’s.

On January 1, 1970 Yellowknife was incorporated as the first city in NWT.

The city has continued to grow, and today, Yellowknife has a population of 18,000. It has many thriving businesses including two gold mines within city limits.

What does one do when the sun does not set? Well you just don’t go inside. One parties all day past midnight. The Solstice Festival starts June 18th and continues through the 21st. The celebrations include the Festival of the Midnight Sun, Canadian Multi-Cultural Day, St. Jean Baptiste Day, the Raven Mad Daze, the Beer Barge BBQ Party and the Mid-night Golf Tournament.

The Beer Barge Party is an historical celebration of the first barge of the season arriving from Hay River and has taken place since the 1940’s. We did not know about the Beer Barge Party until today. It turns out that the Comanche Society that we use to belong to when we had our Piper Comanche flew into Yellowknife and is partaking of the party.

We had an early dinner at the Wildcat Café’. The Wildcat is the most famous restaurant in town. It was opened in 1937 by Willy Wiley and Smoky Stout. The café was closed in 1951 and was due for demolition until a group of local residents formed a society to preserve the building. It reopened in 1979 as a summer restaurant. The building is designated a heritage site and celebrated in Canada’s Museum of Civilization.

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