Yellowknife's Wildcat Cafe still closed for repairs

The heritage restaurant and a top tourist attraction was expected to reopen in May after being shut for renovations since the fall of 2010.

Stolen range hood adds latest delay to ongoing renovations

Yellowknife’s Wildcat Cafe, one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions, is still closed for renovations after more than a year and a half.

The heritage log building houses a seasonal restaurant, and was expected to open in May after being closed all of last summer.

After being rebuilt from the ground up, the interior remains unfinished. The latest hurdle is one the city definitely didn't plan for.

"The range hood over the stove — which is a big stainless hood which is important for the operation of the stove and fire suppression — was stolen about a week ago," said Mayor Gord Van Tighem.

He said the focus is now on getting things ready for next year, though the café may open sometime in August.

Van Tighem added the Wildcat Cafe’s short season is part of its allure.

"That's one of the things about the Wildcat.  It creates a bit of anticipation — ‘Will it be open when I'm there or not?’"

That's little consolation to tourists.

"I'm really disappointed. Very, very disappointed," said visitor Barb Neuman.

NWT Tourism said the Wildcat Cafe is one of the top five things visitors want to see when they visit the capital city.

"Our experience in Yellowknife has been great without it; it probably would have been a little nicer with it," said visitor Ed Stryker.

But according to Jenni Bruce with NWT Tourism, the season may not be a total write-off.

"We have a summer aurora season, which goes Aug. 15 to around Sept. 30 and it is one of our very quickly growing tourist attractions."

Van Tighem said the delay won't increase the price of the renovation. That was negotiated when the contract was signed.

There will be some money required to replace the stolen range hood, but he said that could be covered by insurance.