Northwest Territories Facts

northwest territories

Located in Northern Canada, the Northwest Territories are bordered by Yukon to the west and Nunavut to the east, and by Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan to the south. All three territories were created from parts of Rupert's Land when British Imperial authorities divested themselves of their North American territories following the end of the American Revolutionary War.


  • 1. Northwest Territories joined Canada in 1870.
  • 2. They are the second most sparsely populated region in Canada after Nunavut, with 1.6 people per square kilometre (4/sq mi).
  • 3. Over 50% of all people live in the city of Yellowknife, which is the territorial capital. Yellowknife is also the territories' largest city.
  • 4. Nine out of ten people here are aboriginal, making it one of the most aboriginal regions in Canada.
  • 5. Official languages are: English, French, Chipewyan, Cree, Gwich’in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, South Slavey, Tłı̨chǫ
  • 6. The economy in Northwest Territories is largely based on natural resources. The territory produces diamonds, uranium and gold, while agriculture dominates the economy.
  • 7. The main agricultural products include: Peat Moss; Potash; Wheat; Corn; Flax Seed; Barley; Oats and Potatoes. Communities here have good access to supermarkets, although they have a limited selection. Grocery shopping in Northwest Territories is done at the local Northern stores. Their prices are higher than in southern Canada because everything has to be shipped in by plane or boat and so there can be high shipping costs attached to each item.
  • 8. Northwest Territories is famous for its legendary aurora borealis. It is one of the best places in the world to see this phenomenon. The best time to see it is in the winter so around January and February are good months.
  • 9. The three major First Nations in Northwest Territories are the Dene, Inuit, and Métis people who are intricately linked to the land because of their farming and fishing traditions. There are also a variety of people who live here. These include English, French, Scottish, Welsh, Irish and German descendants as well as Ukrainians -- all looking for fortunes in the hazardous North.
  • 10. The climate in Northwest Territories is very cold and dry. The winters are long, and the summers are warm in the southwest, while it is usually wet and mild in the southeast.
  • 11. Fun things to do in Northwest Territories include: Dogsled racing – Enjoy a short winter excursion in a sled pulled by three lovable, huskies. Dog Sledding – when the weather is nice, people go on dog sledge rides through the city and to surrounding areas. It can be quite an enjoyable experience. You must be careful though not to run over any interesting animals you might see along the way! Snowmobiling – A popular winter pastime in Northwest Territories is snowmobiling. This involves taking a snowmobile across frozen lakes and other areas of flat land, with the wind whipping past your ears at speeds of up to 100 mph (160 km/h).