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.
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.
Great Slave Lake
Looking toward the town
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!