Yellowknife: Capital of the Northwest Territories

Yellowknife City Hall
Yellowknife City Hall. All Canada Photos / Getty Images

Yellowknife is the capital city of the Northwest Territories, Canada. Yellowknife is also the only city in the Northwest Territories. A small, culturally diverse city in the far north of Canada, Yellowknife combines all the urban amenities with memories of the old gold prospecting days. Gold and government administration were the mainstays of Yellowknife's economy until the late 1990s when the fall of gold prices led to the closure of the two main gold companies and the creation of the new territory of Nunavut meant the transfer out of a third of government employees. The discovery of diamonds in the Northwest Territories in 1991 came to the rescue, and diamond mining, cutting, polishing and selling became major activities for Yellowknife residents. While winters in Yellowknife are cold and dark, long summer days with plenty of sunshine make Yellowknife a magnet for outdoor adventurers and nature lovers.

Location of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Yellowknife is located on the north shore of Great Slave Lake, on the west side of Yellowknife Bay near the outlet of the Yellowknife River. Yellowknife is about 512 km (318 miles) south of the Arctic Circle.

Area of City of Yellowknife

105.44 sq. km (40.71 sq. miles) (Statistics Canada, 2011 Census)

Population of City of Yellowknife

19,234 (Statistics Canada, 2011 Census)

Government of City of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Yellowknife municipal elections are held every three years, on the third Monday in October.

Yellowknife's city council is made up of 9 elected representatives: one mayor and 8 city councilors.

Weather in Yellowknife

Yellowknife has a semi-arid subarctic climate.

Winters in Yellowknife are cold and dark. Because of the latitude, there are only five hours of daylight on December days. January temperatures range from -22°C to -30°C (-9°F to -24°F).

Summers in Yellowknife are sunny and pleasant. Summer days are long, with 20 hours of daylight, and Yellowknife has the sunniest summers of any city in Canada. July temperatures range from 12°C to 21°C (54°F to 70°F).

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Munroe, Susan. "Yellowknife: Capital of the Northwest Territories." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, Munroe, Susan. (2020, August 25). Yellowknife: Capital of the Northwest Territories. Retrieved from Munroe, Susan. "Yellowknife: Capital of the Northwest Territories." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).