Many towns have an Old Town part of them. It might be the original town site, which is the case in Yellowknife, or it might be a part of a town that is now neglected.
No matter how many other “Old Towns” there are out there, Yellowknife’s Old Town is special. It is thriving with history and culture that mixes with art and expression. It is a representation of where we’ve come from and what we’re proud of. You can almost guarantee if you are talking to a local they will tell you to explore Old Town. To visit the many galleries, walk Ragged Ass Road and eat at Bullock’s Bistro or The Wildcat Cafe.
To help you explore Old Town, here are four different ways you can make the most of your experience:
1. By yourself with no guide or map
It is easy to walk down the Franklin Ave hill into Old Town if you’re not already staying there, and quick too. Old Town is a peninsula jutting out into Great Slave Lake. So wherever you wander, you’ll end up back where you started.
What makes exploring with no information or guide so great? You see things for the first time. You will have no preconceived notions of what you’ll see. You will have the freedom to lead yourself down routes that interest you. And who knows where you’ll end up!
2. With an Old Town Brochure
Wandering with no information is fun and gives you a sense of adventure but there are brochures you can use. There are a couple different options for brochures and maps, all which can are at the Northern Frontier Visitor Centre. The Old Town Heritage Map and Yellowknife Old Town Brochure are also available online at those links.
Why use a brochure while exploring Old Town? Not only will it give you a guided route to follow, it will also give you a brief history of the different buildings and historical sites found in Old Town. You’ll start learning about some of the old timers who first set up Yellowknife.
3. With the Old Town Soundwalk App
For even more information on Old Town, you can use the Old Town Soundwalk App for Apple and Android devices. It digitally guides you through this part of Yellowknife. Once you have the app and select the route you want, as you walk the app tells you the historical significance of the buildings around you. And stories from the past, all narrated by actual Old Town residents.
You’ll get to see photos of buildings and places as they were when built. There is even a local lingo directory.
4. With a longtime local guide
One of the best ways to explore Old Town, and all Yellowknife for that matter, is with a local guide. Strong Interpretation’s Rosanna Strong is a longtime Yellowknifer. She has a wealth of knowledge and a passion for the history and culture of Yellowknife, especially Old Town. Her Old Town walking tour, A Walk in the Past Old Town Tour, takes you on a 3-hour walking tour that explores Old Town. Everything from the history of the area to the early prospectors, to where we are today. Rosanna’s eloquent way of spreading her passion and sharing the stories of the town will have you feeling like you lived it.
Bonus: Yellowknife Online Community Tour
At Yellowknife Online we now offer a two-hour driving tour of all of Yellowknife, where we share stories of Yellowknife’s past, things to do during your visit, and see all the popular and not-so-popular places to see. Much of this tour is also in Yellowknife’s Old Town.
There are many ways to explore Old Town Yellowknife, whichever you choose will show you its eclectic past and its creative future.