Across the N.W.T. communities will say goodbye to 2020 with a bang

New Year's eve festivities in the N.W.T. will go ahead in most communities with residents asked to maintain physical distancing.

Fireworks displays planned across the N.W.T, but with some restrictions

This year Yellowknife officials are asking residents watch the firework display from several location around the city. (Submitted by Rhonda Kennedy)

The same but different. 

That's the theme for 2020 New Year's Eve festivities across the Northwest Territories as communities gear up to end this year with a bang, but with restrictions.

"[There's] some similarities, some differences," said John Mutford, Yellowknife's acting director for community services. 

"We've been working with the chief public health officer to assure that this much loved event can go ahead safely, of course, and so we're just encouraging residents to watch the fireworks display from various areas to allow for social distancing."

As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues with new active cases daily across the country, public health guidelines around physical distancing remain in place. Yellowknife officials recommends residents check out the fireworks from Somba K'e Civic Plaza, Frame Lake Trail, Niven Lake and Pilots Monument. 

"It's been a tough year and we recognize that, but we're hoping to have the fireworks as a way of putting all that behind us and moving forward positively and just getting out and enjoying our lovely city," Mutford said.

Communities across the N.W.T. have the same idea.

Hay River's senior administrative officer Glenn Smith said this year the fireworks location moved from downtown to behind the fire hall to allow for better viewing across the town. 

"People are going to be asked to maintain their physical distance and stay in their vehicles," Smith said. "Or with a more central location for the fireworks, you should be able to get good coverage through the town, so the thought is that most people will be able to watch from their homes."

While already an outdoor event, communities in the territory cannot be too cautious for New Year's eve as the number of active cases in the N.W.T. was zero as of Dec. 30. 

Smith said he hopes the fireworks are also a celebration of a return to normality in 2021.

Where to check out fireworks and other New Years Eve celebrations in the N.W.T.

On Dec. 31:

Behchoko, Midnight

Fireworks will light up the sky across from the old Tlicho government office.

Fort Simpson: 7:30 p.m.

Dezoa Gogha, the village of Fort Simpson and the Liidlii Kue First Nation will host a fireworks show put on by the Fort Simpson volunteer fire department. 

Fort Smith, 7 p.m.

Residents are asked to park at Riverside Park and catch the show from their vehicles. Marine Drive will be closed to vehicles and people are asked to not idle their vehicles while parked. Residents arriving by foots are asked to maintain physical distancing and stay within their bubble. Non-medical masks are also recommended at all times.  

Hay River, 8 p.m.

Fireworks will be set off behind the Hay River Fire Hall. Residents are encouraged to watch from their homes or vehicles with members of their households.

Nahanni Butte, 7 p.m.

A New Year's Eve potluck, followed by a bonfire, will be held outside the community's recreation centre.

Yellowknife, 8 p.m.

Residents and visitors are reminded to social distance and encouraged to watch the display from several areas around the city, including Somba K'e Civic Plaza, Frame Lake Trail, Niven Lake and Pilots Monument.

On Jan. 1

Behchoko, 8 p.m.

If you didn't catch the first fireworks display, no sweat as the community is hosting a second fireworks show at the old Tlicho government office.

If there is an event in your community you would like to see reflected in this list, please email