On Tuesday, I leave the cherry blossomed bosom of Vancouver to spend two days in Yellowknife. I’m going up there to do to some work, so it’s an all expense paid trip.

For my non-Canadian readers1, Yellowknife is the capital of the Northwest Territories. A territory is sort of like a province, but not exactly. To be honest, I don’ t actually know the difference between a province and a territory (*hanging head in shame*). But I digress… take a look at this map of Canada and look up, waaaaay up:

Image credit: Natural Resources Canada

Yup, up there near the Arctic Circle. I checked the weather in Yellowknife the other day and this is what I saw:

Apparently their thermometers have negative numbers on them. Interesting. We don’t have that here in Vancouver, because temperature, as far as we know, only exists in positive numbers.

OK, now I’m ticked off that I don’t know the difference between a territory & a province. So I’ve looked it up. According to Wikipedia,

The major difference between a Canadian province and a territory is that a province receives its power and authority directly from the Crown, via the Constitution Act, 1867, whereas territories derive their mandates from the federal government.

And since I cannot easily find the answer to this question on the Government of Canada website, I’m going to assume that Wikipedia is not steering me wrong on this one.

Anyhoo, I’m very much looking forward to my trip. I’ve never been to any of the Territories before and seeing as one of my goals in life is to visit all the provinces and territories in Canada, a free trip to Yellowknife is a great way to get closer to that goal! Also, the furthest north I’ve ever been is, I believe2, Beaversmouth, BC, a town on the Trans Canada Highway between Golden & Revelstoke whatever the northernmost point on the Trans Canada between Toronto & Vancouver (ok, not Toronto exactly, but wherever the hell I got onto the Trans Canada after I left Toronto). Which means that even my stopover in Edmonton en route to the Northwest Territories will beat my record for northerly-ness.

My itinerary says that my hotel has wi-fi, so hopefully I’ll be able to post some photos while I’m there. Provided I can see over the snow to take photos.

1Now, I’m making the assumption that non-Canadian readers won’t know where Yellowknife is. Please feel free to tell me that I’m an idiot if this is incorrect.
2I don’t exactly remember going through Beaversmouth, but my map tells me that it’s the northernmost point on the stretch of the Trans Canada that I drove when moving from Toronto to Vancouver.My map is a liar.

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  • What are the odds that two Vancouver bloggers (Meg Fowler is the other) I read would be travelling Yellowknife in the same week?

    I’ve been there, but only to travel through on my way to Dawson City, which is charming.


  • @Chris – Hmm. The map I was looking at put Beaversmouth right on the Trans Canada. Well, at any rate, the furtherest north I’ve been is whatever the northernmost point is on the Trans Canada between here and T.O.

    @Darren – That is odd! What is Meg going to be doing in Yellowknife? I’m guessing it’s not the same thing, as I believe she is a tech person (whereas I’m doing a health research thing).


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  • I just asked my mom, who used to live in Revelstoke and now lives in Golden, and she says that Beavermouth is between Donald and Glacier National Park *on the railway*. Not on the highway. Which is why I’ve never seen or heard of it before.


  • I am not an expert here either, but I think that territories often get designation to become provinces when the population has grown sufficiently (or is about to grow sufficiently) to allow for easier delivery of services from the provincial government.

    While certain provinces (e.g. ON, QC , NS, NL, NB, PEI, BC) were existing British colonies and welcomed into the Dominion as such, the others provinces had to be carved out of “territorial land” and given provincial status. MB got it in the 1870s, SK and AB in 1905.

    I would argue that the main reason they are still territories is because of the TINY population (all three combined have around 100,000). PM Martin wanted to eventually grant them provincial status, though. With Arctic sovreignty and global warming as issues, I can see it happening in the next decade or so.

    FYI – Australia still has a territory, too. They have States (which are governed like provinces) and the Northern Territory, which actually voted NOT to become a state in a recent referendum. They like their rough and tumble, rogue status, perhaps?

    And now I will cease talking (out of my ass).


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  • @Chris – Cool, thanks for checking that out! Clearly I need to invest in a new map!

    @Sarah – This is why I pay you the big bucks to be my resident Canadian historian here on NTBTWK. You sound authoritative and your husband be agreeing, so we will take your explanation to be truth, so help us Flying Spaghetti Monster.


  • My favorite book in the whole wide world takes place in the Northwest Territory (Mrs. Mike). I’ve always wanted to go there. Take lots of pictures, over the snow, of course.


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