The Seven Wonders of Northwest Territories

The Mackenzie River/Deh Cho

Mahsi cho

The Deh Cho (the Mackenzie River as it is known) has to be nominated as a wonder because it is one of Canada's longest rivers and one of the world's longest rivers. The Mackenzie River originates from the Great Slave Lake and flows north to the Arctic Ocean. How vast is that. The River is 2,641 miles long. Along this river (known as Deh Cho to our Dene peoples), there are many Dene communities that are very traditional with culture, abundance of fresh water, wildlife and serene beauty of the land. Up here we all vote for the Deh Cho (Big River) Mackenzie River.
Where I come from our band is known as Deh Gah Got’ie, which means 'By the River' in Dene.
We truly love our Deh Cho and we have a lot of respect for it.

Ragged Ass Lane, Yellowknife

Don Glickstein

I hope Ragged Ass Lane (named after a defunct goldmine) in Yellowknife, located on the shores of the Great Slave Lake, won't be penalized because it's in a less-visited location. The Lane exemplifies Canada's frontier spirit with its funky, ramshackle architecture, and highly personalized home decoration. The city's heritage walking guide notes that the area "befuddled town planners since the first municipal surveys in 1939. Shacks, cabins and outhouses were dotted among the bushes and rock outcrops." It's uniquely Canadian, and a unique wonder.

Boreal Forest

Margaret Witney

In this age of global warming and the importance of global health, the Boreal Forest MUST BE one of Canada’s leading 7 wonders.  To NOT include the Boreal forest and underline its importance in not only the health of Canadians and their environment but also global health would be a CRIME. I studied the Boreal Forest a year ago and was blown away by its beauty. I have never been there, but if you designate it in one of the 7 wonders then I promise I will take a pilgrimage and visit it soon. All Canadians who care about the environment and who appreciate beauty must join hands and place our Boreal as one of Canada’s GREAT WONDERS.

  1. The boreal forest plays a significant role in the earth's environmental balance.
  2. This forest makes up 25% of the Worlds Closed Canopy.
  3. This northern Forest is so named after Boreas, the Greek god of the North Wind.
  4. The Boreal forest is draped like a green scarf across the shoulders of North America.
  5. The boreal forest is an integral part of the Canadian economy, history, culture and natural environment.
  6.  Fossil records show that their first occurrence was during the Miocene Epoch, from 12 to 15 million years ago.
  7. Most Importantly, the history of the first Canadians - our Aboriginal people - living as part of the chain of life in the forest was and is paramount here.

We MUST designate the Boreal Forest in its rightful place as a WONDER of CANADA as it is under so much strain and threat due to human degradation of it for its fossil fuels.

We MUST protect and treat the Boreal forest with care for our WORLD, the environment, its animals and Aboriginal peoples that live there.

Fort Smith

Cheryl Hval

Fort Smith is a gem of a modern town with a population of about 2300, situated on the Alberta-Northwest Territories border alongside the scenic and historic Slave River. The Slave River has four major rapids ranging from Class 1 to 6 for paddling, Cassette, Pelican, Mountain and Rapids of the Drowned. Fort Smith is the gateway to Wood Buffalo National Park, the second largest national park in the world, the largest national park in Canada. Wood Buffalo National Park protects the northern nesting grounds for Whooping Cranes. The area surrounding Fort Smith is natural habitat for a large variety of birds and wildlife, including bison, peregrine falcons, sand hill cranes, wolves, moose, and red-sided garter snakes to name a few. Bear and foxes are seen occasionally within the town. White Pelicans nest on islands in the river, and can be seen soaring in the summer sky above town. Fort Smith is situated along the main Aurora Borealis belt giving us spectacular light shows. We have a beautiful Catholic cathedral that was built next to the historic mission site in the early sixties and a very nice museum filled with artifacts of local life past and present.

Coppermine River, Point Lake and the Taiga Shield Ecozone

Jim Peterson

The Taiga Shield Ecozone occurs where the Boreal Forest and the Canadian Shield overlap and stretches across part of Canada’s sub Arctic north.  One third of it lies in the Northwest Territories.  With an area of over 1.3 million square km, the Taiga Shield is one of Canada’s largest Ecozones…. I am fortunate enough to spend my spring, summer and fall at Point Lake located in the Taiga Shield Ecozone where I experience Canada’s Northwest Territories wilderness at its finest.  There is not another place in Canada that can touch the uniqueness, and I still wonder after spending 25 years of my life there how it all was created with such diversity of geological formations, mammals, fish, birds, and plant life in mind.  The peace and tranquility of the tundra, along with the scenery, wildlife, nature and the aurora borealis allows inspiration of the heart, soul and mind.  This is nature’s finest creation and is liked to the past, present and the future like the Dene and the Inuit. When in the Arctic you realize how insignificant you really are compared to Mother Nature and you suddenly recognize that you are like a speck of sand in the Sahara desert.

The Smoking Hills

Ken MacGillivray

Amazing when seen from the air, the Smoking Hills are located about a kilometre south of the Beaufort Sea.   Here, vast deposits of lignite  -- concentrations of carbon-rich shale and pyrite rich in sulphur - literally ignite spontaneously when the hills erode and the mineral veins are exposed to the air, producing a constant smoke.  These hills give the community of Paulatuk its name.
In 1850 British Navy Captain Robert McClure was sent to explore the coastline of this part of the Beaufort Sea during the intensive search for the lost Sir John Franklin expedition.

At the mouth of the Horton, McClure sent a search party to investigate what appeared to be a smoldering fire in what is now Franklin Bay. The party found not flames from Franklin 's campfires, but thick columns of smoke emerging from vents in the ground.   The sailors are said to have returned with a sample of the smoldering rock, and when they set it down on McClure's desk it burned a hole in the wood.

The Smoking Hills have been burning for centuries, and undoubtedly will for many more.

Old Lady of the Falls

JC Catholique

The Old Lady of the Falls is a spiritual place on the East Arm of Great Slave Lake. It is situated 20 kilometres from Fort Reliance. The Falls is located on the Lockhart River at a place called Parry Falls. The Dene name for the river is, Desnedhe Che (The Main River). The Falls itself is about 20 feet high. It is surrounded by rock on both sides. The rock on the north side is about 20 feet high. On the south side, it is about 200 feet high. The base of the Falls is shaped like a bowl. The sheer power of the Falls makes the water white and bubbly. There's a legend of the Old Lady of the Falls. It is said the Old Lady is a medicine woman. The elders say there is a cave behind the Falls and this is where the Old Lady sits. People from all over come and pay their respects to her. People who are sick make offerings to Her…. There had been old crutches found in the area from people who got healed. The Navajos and Apaches have a legend of a medicine woman who left the tribe and never returned. The elders and medicine men from those tribes have come and visited the Falls to see if there was a connection. There is no place like it in the Northwest Territories….