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Mar 07 2011

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Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories (NWT or NT) is the second largest of the three territories in Canada. It includes several large islands located in the Arctic Ocean. In 1870 the area became Canada’s first territory. Yukon, Nunavut, Alberta, Saskatchewan, parts of Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec were once part of the N.W.T.

Interesting facts about NWT:

• Yellowknife is the capital city. The largest community is the capital city of Yellowknife. It is also known as the Diamond Capital of North America.
• More than half of the people are aboriginal – Dene, Inuit (Inuvialuit) and Métis.
• Other communities include Hay River, Fort Smith and Inuvik. Most people live in the Mackenzie River Valley or around Great Slave Lake.
• The Dene community lived along the Mackenzie Valley ten thousand years ago.
• Mackenzie and Franklin Mountain Ranges are in the western part of the N.W.T.
• Great Bear Lake is eighth largest lake in the world and the Great Slave Lake is the deepest lake in Canada and tenth largest lake in the world.
• Mackenzie River is Canada’s longest river (1738 km). The entire river system is 4241 km long making the Mackenzie River the second longest river in North America.
• Part of the land is rocky where moss, tough grasses and small willows grow.(tundra)
• Part of the territory has trees like black spruce, white spruce, birch, poplar.(taiga)
• A large portion to the Northwest Territories population continues to rely on the Aboriginal peoples’ traditional subsistence activities; fishing, hunting and trapping. Fur harvesting continues to be very important, supplementing the income of many Aboriginal families.
• Mining is by far the largest private industrial sector of the N.W.T. economy. Oil and gas exploration and development are also important and diamond mining is expected to be a major industry in the 21st century.
• Other activities such as sports fishing and big-game hunting play a small role. Recently, with the advent of adventure tourism, a new tourism service industry has become increasingly important.
• The highways are mostly all-weather gravel roads, with some paved sections. There are long distances between service stations.
• From January to March, truckers drive on ice roads plowed on frozen lakes to deliver supplies.
• The Inuvialuit Drum Dancers perform locally, regionally and nationally.

Time Zone:

NWT is in The Mountain Time Zone.

Climate:

The Northwest Territories reaches for over 1,300,000 square kilometers (500,000 sq. mi) so there is a large climate variant from south to north. The southern part of the Territory (most of the mainland portion) has a subarctic climate while the islands and northern coast have a polar climate.

Summers in the south are short but warm with daytime highs reaching on average the low 20 °C (68 °F) range, with overnight lows around 10 °C (50 °F). Winters are long and cold, with daytime highs around −20 °C (−4 °F), and lows around −30 °C (−22 °F). . In winter in the south it is not uncommon for the temperatures to reach the −40 °C (−40 °F)’s but can also reach the low teens during the day. Thunderstorms are not rare in the south.

Summers in the north are short and cool, with daytime highs in the mid-teens, and lows in the single degrees. Winters are long and harsh, daytime highs in the mid −20 °C (−4 °F) and lows around −40 °C (−40 °F). Extremes are common with summer highs in the south reaching 36 °C (97 °F) and lows reaching into the negatives. In winter in the north it is not uncommon for the temperatures to reach the −50 °C (−58 °F) but can also reach the single digits during the day. Thunderstorms are rare in the north, but do occur. Tornadoes are extremely rare but have happened with the most notable one happening just outside of Yellowknife that destroyed a communications tower.

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