What is it like to live in the northwest territories?

Northwest territories

The Northwest territory of Canada, first named in 1870, is still home to descendants of many of the initial tribes of the land. Present-day civilization, the hospitality of its indigenes, and the discovery of resources have expanded the area’s population and made it an abode for many of the country’s immigrants. Its gorgeous landscape makes it popular as a hotspot for fun outdoor activities for tourists. This article contains a little more insight on what it is like and reasons why you might want to move to the second largest territory in Canada.

It’s not easy live in the Northwest Territories. The winters are long and cold. This place has a lot of natural beauty, from the Northern Lights to some of Canada’s largest waterfalls. You’ll find plenty of things out there that will keep you busy on your days off, whether you want to take a leisurely hike or go fishing for Arctic Char. If you can’t handle the winter weather, then this might not be your best bet. The people are friendly and helpful with visitors.

Geography and Population

The Northwestern territories of Canada include regions of Dehcho, North Slaves, Sahtu, South Slave, and Inuvik, at a land area of 1,144,000 km2It has the second largest percentage of the three territories that make up the national land area of Canada although it is loosely populated with only about 44,826 people.

The Yukon Territory borders this territory to the west, to the north it faces the Arctic ocean and Nunavut to the east, with just about 25% of its territory above the Arctic circle, it also boasts the country’s largest lake, the great bear lake which is 31,153 km2 

Its capital city is called Yellowknife and was founded in 1934 following the discovery of gold on its grounds, meteorologists say Yellowknife enjoys the longest summertime in all of Canada, although the territory gets very cold in the winter, sunlight in the area is almost continuous for about 3 months in the summer.

The Northwestern territories boast a beautiful landscape scenery and have been described as the outdoorsman’s paradise, its landscape allows for a wide range of fun outdoor activities ranging from ice fishing to canoeing, hiking, cross skiing, snowballing, mountain climbing, and even dog sledding also including indoor activities like pottery, quilting, hockey, basketball, volleyball, and soccer are options in different communities across the Northwestern territories.

Residents across the north of Canada are generally described as generally more hospitable and friendlier than their southern counterparts, and the lifestyle in the Northwest is calm and relaxed.


The economy of the provinces in the Northwest Territories is largely dictated by the resource industry, with mining as its biggest private sector industry. The territory has major mines for gold and uranium, and in more recent years, a growing industry surrounding the mining and exploration of diamond, its strongest growth area currently.

A recently introduced business sector is oil and gas exploration and development along the Mackenzie River which flows along with Slave Peace, Finlay, and also offshore in the Beaufort Sea; this has boosted this area’s economy by a lot.

Although a large portion of the population in this territory is of Aboriginal descent and still relies largely on the traditional subsistence activities of the Aboriginal people like hunting and trapping, fishing, and fur harvesting as major sources of income for these families.

The territory’s population is still small but its mining industry and oil and gas exploration have started to attract investments and people to its main hub -Yellowknife, ranking at the third fastest growing economy in all of Canada.

This new, steady influx of wealth is being managed carefully, maintaining the Arctic ecosystem and the traditional lifestyle and culture of the northwestern people.

Standard of living

The unemployment average in the Northwest territory is the same as the average across Canada which is 7%, however, because the territory is isolated and transportation within is more expensive, the cost of living is fairly more here than in other parts of the country.

As compensation, the wages and salaries here at $13 per hour are some of the highest in Canada and skilled workers are encouraged to move here as the government pays bonuses to applicants. 

Culture and Demography

The majority of the population is Aboriginal and a lot of the traditional cultural practices are still kept intact to a large extent, many of its traditional languages are still spoken today. Of the eight official languages in the Northwest territory, six are aboriginal languages in addition to English and French, about 14 languages are spoken in the area.

Yellowknife is very much a modern-day city with the same stores and modern-day entertainment and cultural elements as you would find in other high brow Canadian cities, these perks alongside opportunities in its mining industry and overall job availability attract about half of the population of the entire territory.

This blend of a rich traditional culture with modern Canadian culture is a unique blend that fascinates and attracts even more visitors that appreciate it.

Over the years, the natural resource boom has also influenced the population increase in the area, although nearly half of its population are of aboriginal descent, the English, French, Irish, Scottish, and German are largely represented in the other half of its population.

The territory’s immigrants take up about 3000 of its population, the largest groups of immigrants are from the United Kingdom and the Philippines. 

The major religion in the area is Christianity, more than 50% of the population are of Catholic or Protestant faiths although other religions including Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhismare also represented.

Education and Health Care

From early childhood through college, citizens and permanent residents of Canada are eligible for free education as long as they are below 20. The public education system in the Northwest territory is just as good as the rest of the country despite its population, also included in its curriculum are different training and apprenticeship programs to prepare young people for careers, the education system is particularly designed to cater for the needs of the indigenous communities and the country at large.

For post-high school education, the Aurora college with its three campuses in Yellowknife, Fort Smith, and Inuvik is the popular one in the Northwest territory, there is also the Academy of Learning College.

Both colleges are great choices for a candidate looking to study business management as they offer programs in accounting, information technology, business, and office administration majorly.

The Canadian law states that all citizens must be provided with universal and publicly funded health care, its laws also cater for legal residents of Canada, so most basic health care services are provided at no direct cost to the patient.

The country’s laws ensure that all residents have access to necessary physician and hospital services on the basis of need and not on the ability to fund said treatment. 

The Northwest territory also provides a range of services beyond the basic provisions stated by the act although a number of dental care procedures and other procedures not deemed necessary (for instance, an elective cosmetic surgery) are not covered.

Is Northwest Territories a good place to live?

In conclusion, the perks of the Northwest Territory of Canada is not limited to its beautiful landscape scenery or it’s deep and still preserved culture but extends beyond the hospitality of its indigenous population and the diversity of its growing economy, whatever the reasons are -and there are quite a few we have highlighted here, you are sure to enjoy living here if you do decide to make the move.

Recent Posts