Timeline of Yellowknife history

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This timeline of Yellowknife history summarises key events in the history of Yellowknife, a city in Northwest Territories, Canada.

19th century[edit]

20th century[edit]

Yellowknife in the 1940s or 50s.
  • 1920s – In the late 1920s, aircraft were first used to explore Canada's Arctic regions. Samples of uranium and silver were uncovered at Great Bear Lake in the early 1930s, and prospectors began fanning out to find additional metals. Yellowknife Bay is a fuel cache point for aerial exploration to the arctic coastline.[2]
  • 1930 – By the 1930s First Nations people had a settlement on a point of land on the east side of Yellowknife Bay, Dettah.[3]
  • 1933 – Two prospectors, Herb Dixon and Johnny Baker, canoe down the Yellowknife River from Great Bear Lake to survey for possible mineral deposits. They found gold samples at Quyta Lake, about 30 km (19 mi) up the Yellowknife River, and some additional samples at Homer Lake.[4]
  • 1934 – Johnny Baker discovers gold on the east side of Yellowknife Bay in 1934 at what becomes the Burwash Mine.
  • 1935-1936 - The Burwash Mine is developed - the regions first underground gold project.
  • 1935 – The Geological Survey of Canada under Dr. Alfred Jolliffe is dispatched to map the Yellowknife Bay region. One of their crews uncover gold in more favourable geology on the west side of Yellowknife Bay and a small staking rush occurs which leads to the staking of the Con and Negus Mines.[5]
  • 1936-37 – 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;
  • 1937 – First evidence of a settlement on what becomes Yellowknife. Business that are open during 1937 include: Corona Inn, Yellowknife Supplies Ltd, Weaver & Devore, Mining Corporation warehouses, and the Wildcat Cafe.
  • 1938 – Yellowknife is booming and construction around Old Town and Latham Island is quickly proceeding. Canadian Bank of Commerce opens the first Yellowknife Bank in February 1938. Vic Ingraham build his first hotel in July. A newspaper called 'The Prospector' also starts that summer.
  • 1938 - The Con Mine entered production on September 5 with the pouring of its first gold brick.
  • 1939 – Mildred Hall, Yellowknife's first schoolteacher arrived; Mildred Hall School was named after her.
  • 1939-53 – Yellowknife (Administrative district) created. Yellowknife was controlled by the Northern Affairs department (now Indian and Northern Affairs Canada) of the Government of Canada. A small council, partially elected and partially appointed, made decisions.
  • 1940 – The population of Yellowknife quickly grew to 1,000 by 1940.
  • 1942 – Five gold mines were in production in the Yellowknife region.
  • 1943 – Gold production winds down in Yellowknife as men were needed for the war effort.
  • 1944 – 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. A new period of financial excitement brings two new banks to Yellowknife: the Bank of Toronto and the Imperial Bank of Canada. [6]
  • 1945-46 – The Yellowknife townsite expanded from the Old Town waterfront, and the new townsite was established during 1945–1946.
  • 1948 – Giant Mine begins gold production in May
  • 1950 – The Discovery Mine, with its own townsite, operated 81 km (50 mi) to the north-northeast of Yellowknife from 1950 to 1969.[7]
  • 1953 – By 1953, Yellowknife had grown so much that it was made a municipality, with its own council and town hall. The first mayor of Yellowknife is John "Jock" McNiven.
  • 1955 – Operation Bulldog III.
  • 1958 – The Gold Range opened, one of the oldest and most colorful drinking establishments in the Northwest Territories was featured in Mordecai Richler's novel Solomon Gursky Was Here[8]
  • 1960 – Yellowknife Highway built.
  • 1963 – Carrothers Commission established in April.
  • 1967 – On September 18, Yellowknife officially became the capital of the Northwest Territories. This important new status sparked what has been coined as the third boom in Yellowknife. New sub-divisions were established to house an influx of government workers.[9]
  • 1967 – CFYK-TV first airs.
  • 1970 – Yellowknife hosts the first Arctic Winter Games.
  • 1972 – The first edition of the Yellowknifer was published by Northern News Services.
  • 1978 – The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre is opened.
  • 1980 – Folk on the Rocks is a local music festival that has been an annual occurrence since 1980, and features a wide variety of musical acts, and is not limited to only Folk.
  • 1982 – Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road first built to service the Lupin Mine.
  • 1984 – Northern Arts and Cultural Centre opened on May 3.
  • 1984 – Yellowknife hosted the Arctic Winter Games.
  • 1984 – Up Here (magazine) published.
  • 1986 – L'Aquilon established.
  • 1989 – Above&Beyond first issue.
  • 1990 – Yellowknife hosted the Arctic Winter Games.
  • 1990 – SSI Micro founded.
  • 1991 – A new mining rush and fourth building boom for Yellowknife began with the discovery of diamonds 300 km (190 mi) north of the city.[10]
  • 1992 – Aboriginal Peoples Television Network launched.
  • 1993 – The Northwest Territories marked a new era when council moved into a newly constructed legislature building on November 17. The new legislature was the first building built specifically for the Northwest Territories government since the government sat in Regina 72 years earlier. The legislature building was constructed to feature themes derived from the Inuit culture, which signaled that the government was sensitive to the ethnicity of the resident population.[11]
  • 1998 – Canada's first diamond mine, Ekati Mine, opens in October 1998 north of Yellowknife.
  • 1999 – On April 1, its purview as capital of the Northwest Territories was reduced when the territory of Nunavut was split from the NWT. Jurisdiction for Nunavut was transferred to the new capital city of Iqaluit.
  • 1999 – Yellowknife Transit founded.
  • 2000 – Gordon Van Tighem elected in October; he was acclaimed in 2003 and again in 2006. The Yellowknife City Council consists of a mayor and eight councilors elected to three year terms.
  • 2000 – The N.W.T. Mining Heritage Society is established.

21st century[edit]


  1. ^ Price, Ray. Yellowknife, Peter Martin Associates, Toronto, 1967. Page 22.
  2. ^ Watt, Frederick B. Great Bear: A Journey Remembered, Outcrop, Yellowknife, 1980. ISBN 0-919315-00-3.
  3. ^ "Agreements, Treaties, and Negotiated Settlements Project". Indigenous Studies Program, The University of Melbourne. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  4. ^ "Northwest Territories Timeline - "Yellowknife Johnny" Baker". Prince of Whales Northern Heritage Centre. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  5. ^ "Northwest Territories Timeline - Dr. Alfred Joliffe, Geological Survey of Canada". Prince of Whales Northern Heritage Centre. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  6. ^ Decoursey, Duke. The Yellowknife Years, Parkview Publishing, Squamish, British Columbia. Page 112.
  7. ^ "Northwest Territories Timeline - Discovery Mine". Prince of Whales Northern Heritage Centre. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  8. ^ Richler, Mordecai. Solomon Gursky Was Here. Google Books. ISBN 978-0-670-82526-4. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  9. ^ "Yellowknife (NWT)-Government". Historica Foundation of Canada. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  10. ^ "Northwest Territories Timeline - Discovery of Diamonds in the NWT". Prince of Whales Northern Heritage Centre. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  11. ^ "Our Building". Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  12. ^ "2006 NWT Socio-Economic Scan" (PDF). Government of the Northwest Territories. Retrieved 2007-05-12. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Yellowknife Statistical Profile" (PDF). NWT Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2007-05-09. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Yellowknife". Aboriginal Identity (8), Sex (3) and Age Groups (12) for the Population of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2006 Census - 20% Sample Data. Statistics Canada. 2008-01-15. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  15. ^ "Aircraft Movement Statistics". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 

See too[edit]