Yellowknife Wanderings

While I can’t say I was thrilled when Mack and I decided that we would be spending a part of the holiday north of Edmonton, in the end, I was glad we went. Not only we were able to spend some quality time with his family, but I am also now able to appreciate Edmonton’s relatively milder temperatures (really, anything above –30 feels like a blessing) and generous amount of daylight.

We were able to explore the city somewhat – on dogsled, in a vehicle, and on foot. Because Martin and Patti live in the downtown core, we were able to walk to the nearby shopping centres and restaurants.

The street where Martin and Patti live

Ravens (even larger than the birds we encountered in Banff)

Thom helped orient us to the area

Centre Square Mall, one of the two shopping centres

In YK Centre, the other shopping centre, we found The Chocolatier, a specialty shop that makes all their own chocolate in-house. Though truffles are their specialty, I picked up a package of their Carnutzel (caramel covered pretzel then dipped in chocolate), while Mack decided on their chocolate-covered Rice Krispie squares. Mack’s squares ended up being the winner – the pretzel base needed to be thicker to stand up to all of the caramel used.

Inside The Chocolatier

We also encountered a store in YK Centre that was dedicated entirely to Ragged Ass Road, a cheekily named street. Martin and Patti eventually took us to the small unmarked residential roadway, but it was a bit anti-climactic (and hence, no photos).

To Ragged Ass Road

We also window shopped at the Gallery of the Midnight Sun, a lovely local boutique filled with handmade treasures. I had to take a photo of the furs for Amanda.

Furs and pelts

Of course, something I was also interested in was the grocery shops. While I knew most produce and items would be available in Yellowknife, the question was – how much would they cost? Luckily, I came across this post at YK Online, which saved me from taking pictures of basic goods myself. While groceries are not surprisingly more expensive, some things still left me with sticker shock, like a bag of grapefruit that was nearly $8.


My favourite store in Yellowknife, and one that I could see myself shopping in if I ever lived there, was Le Stock Pot (how could you not love the name?). The owner of the kitchen supply store and deli also owns two restaurants in the city – Le Frolic and L’Heritage. Even though they were in the process of moving their kitchen supplies to a separate location, I still fell in love with their pantry, stocked with pretty bottles of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and the like. And, never one to resist good bread, I picked up a baguette which I later consumed with butter. It was perfection.

Inside Le Stock Pot

The one restaurant I had some intention to visit was Bullocks, which some say serve the best fish in Canada. Much like other establishments in Yellowknife during the holidays, however, it was closed, and we ended up at the Vietnamese Noodle House instead. Who knew I would end up having pho in Yellowknife? It was all right, and did the job of warming me through, though the rare beef was a little tough.

Combination Beef Noodle Soup

As we were also in Yellowknife for the New Year, Patti took us to the fireworks show at Frame Lake. It was amusing to me that the show took place at 9:30 instead of midnight, but given how cold it was then, I was thankful for the early kick-off to 2010. Unlike in Edmonton, where the people setting off the fireworks are shielded by office towers, we were able to see the trio of men on the lake lighting off the rockets. The show almost felt intimate with a crowd of around 200, and the  fireworks themselves seemed larger, without any buildings in the way.


More fireworks

It ended with a bang!

On our last full day in Yellowknife, we checked some other things off of our tourist to-do list. First, it was up to Pilot Hill for some shots of the magnificent sunset, and the view from the top. Boy was it cold, but it was worth it.

Gorgeous sunset

Great Slave Lake

Looking toward the town

With Patti

Lastly, Martin took us to the ice road across Great Slave Lake which provide drivers with a shortcut to a small community across the Lake. We didn’t drive across, but it was pretty cool to see the ploughed snow roadway.

On the ice road

While we didn’t get to see any Northern Lights, we still got to experience many of the sights that make Yellowknife unique. Thanks again to Martin and Patti for their hospitality, and for making our stay special!

11 thoughts on “Yellowknife Wanderings

  1. You look SO COLD in that last picture on the ice road! I’ve never been to Yellowknife so I really enjoyed reading about your recent adventures there and seeing your photos.

  2. It does look like a great trip. Thanks for the recap.

    And who would have thought you’d be eating a bowl of pho (no tripe or tendon Sharon?).

  3. Debra – it was -36 thereabouts out on the ice road. Thanks for reading.

    Chris – I can’t remember if they had tripe or tendon as choices, but no, I’m not a tripe fan…

  4. I’ve been following your blog, and have enjoyed reading it. I am also amazed with your pictures. Do you mind sharing what kind of camera you are using? I’m looking for a new one. Not sure if it’s my camera, or my lack of photographic talent! Thanks!!

  5. We were thrilled to have you and Mack come to Yellowknife Sharon to visit, glad the cold weather didn’t hinder you guys from exploring the city too much. Both Martin and I were also disappointed that you and Mack were not able to see our gorgeous Northern Lights but with that full moon there was just too much light in our night sky. The coat Amanda is an original Canada Goose Arctic Parka – Expedition Clothing Outfiters (only coat for the North unless you get an Arctic Parka specially made) and although it is way too big for me, I needed to wear it over my own winter coat to keep warm with our low -30 temps while Mack and Sharon were here…it was just darn COLD! I think with Great Slave Lake so close to us, the temperatures seem even colder, the wind is sharp and bites you! I don’t remember being shiver cold when we lived farther north in Inuvik with much colder temperatures. Tonight was their Annual Sunrise Festival where locals celebrate the return of the sun with a giant bonfire and fireworks and other celebrations throughout the day. A friend posted tonight that it was a balmy -43 for the celebration! The Arctic Sun set over Inuvik on December 5th 2009 and rose again for the first time after a month of darkness on January 6th. Great Photos Sharon, very happy that both you and Mack could welcome in 2010 with us! Happy New Year! HUGs too!

  6. Cathy – I rely on Mack’s camera, which is a Canon PowerShot SD870 IS. It is a few years old, but I find it is great at picking up ambient light. You can probably get the newer model at a decent price if you wait for a sale!

    Patti – thanks again for having us! I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of light in YK, and had it been warmer, all of our weather-related worries prior to getting there would have been anti-climactic. Perhaps we’ll get to see the Northern Lights next time!

  7. Sharon,
    I know I told you how impressed I was by your Northern experience, but I had to zip back to it again. The outdoor photographs are amazing. The light is magical reflecting off the snow. It feels quiet, and cold, and clean.
    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  8. Cool pictures and great write-up. I would reccomend a seperate trip up just for Bullocks. Make sure you sit at the bar so you can get the full experience.

  9. Valerie – thanks for reading!

    Stu – I have heard great things about Bullocks! And yes, I think I will have to make sure they’re open if we do go again!

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