Yellowknife is the capital and only city, as well as the largest community in the Northwest Territories, Canada. It is located on the shore of Great Slave Lake, approximately 400 km south of the Arctic Circle. The current population is ethnically mixed, of the eleven official languages of the Northwest Territories, five are spoken in significant numbers in Yellowknife, Dene Suline, Dogrib, South and North Slavey, English, and French. In the Dogrib language, the city is known as Sǫ̀mbakè, the Yellowknife settlement is considered to have been founded in 1934, after gold was found in the area, although commercial activity in the present-day waterfront area did not begin until 1936. Yellowknife quickly became the centre of activity in the NWT. As gold production began to wane, Yellowknife shifted from being a town to a centre of government services in the 1980s. However, with the discovery of diamonds north of Yellowknife in 1991, traditionally, First Nations people of Yellowknives Dene culture had occupied this region, by the 1930s they had a settlement on a point of land on the east side of Yellowknife Bay, Dettah. The current municipal area of Yellowknife was occupied by prospectors who ventured into the region in the mid-1930s, blakeney, made the first discovery of gold in the Yellowknife Bay area in 1898. The discovery was viewed as unimportant in those days because of the Klondike Gold Rush, in the late 1920s, aircraft were first used to explore Canadas Arctic regions. Samples of uranium and silver were uncovered at Great Bear Lake in the early 1930s, in 1933 two prospectors, Herb Dixon and Johnny Baker, canoed down the Yellowknife River from Great Bear Lake to survey for possible mineral deposits. They found gold samples at Quyta Lake, about 30 km up the Yellowknife River, the following year, Johnny Baker returned as part of a larger crew to develop the previous gold finds and search for more. Gold was found on the east side of Yellowknife Bay in 1934, when government geologists uncovered gold in more favourable geology on the west side of Yellowknife Bay in the fall of 1935, a small staking rush occurred. From 1935 to 1937, one prospector and trapper named Winslow C, Ranney staked in the area between David Lake and Rater Lake with few commercial results. The nearby hill known as Ranney Hill is his namesake and a hiking destination today. Although Con Mine was the most impressive gold deposit and its development created the excitement that led to the first settlement of Yellowknife in 1936–1937, Some of the first businesses were Corona Inn, Weaver & Devore Trading, Yellowknife Supplies and post office, and the Wildcat Cafe. Con Mine entered production on September 5,1938, the population of Yellowknife quickly grew to 1,000 by 1940, and by 1942, five gold mines were in production in the Yellowknife region. However, by 1944, gold production had ground to a halt as men were needed for the war effort, an exploration program at the Giant Mine property on the north end of town had suggested a sizable gold deposit in 1944. This new find resulted in a massive post-war staking rush to Yellowknife and it also resulted in new discoveries at the Con Mine, greatly extending the life of the mine
Skyline of downtown Yellowknife
Looking south-west, across Yellowknife from the Bush Pilots Monument
Yellowknife in the mid-20th century
April 28, 2012 on Yellowknife Bay. The surface melt begins to make transportation more difficult to and from the houseboats near Jolliffe Island.