Everything Yellowknife History

YK Centre Sign: Tracking Yellowknife’s Temperature

The YK Centre sign is an icon in Yellowknife and it dates back many, many years. Many Yellowknifers who have lived in Yellowknife for more than 10 years will remember the old sign. It wasn’t a fancy sign, the old one. It was barely readable by the end. The new sign though, it is fancy. Clear to read too.

The sign, when it displays Yellowknife’s cold temperatures, is a stamp of our strength and resilience to get through the winter. It is also an attraction in itself. Just watch on any given day in the winter and watch visitors gaze up at it as they marvel the temperatures.

Yellowknife Weather -40 The photo on the left is thanks to the YK Centre and from 2001, the photo on the right was taken by myself in December 2013.

While I was trying to find out when the original sign was put in place, Mayor Heyck dug up a photo from the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre – GNWT Archive of the sign from between 1975 and 1979, which you can see on the PWNHC website here. It is hard to make out but the sign appears have an analog clock and another clock type face, possibly a temperature gauge. The chatter on Twitter last night was fun as a group of residents and myself tried to narrow down when the YK Centre sign was first installed. We narrowed it down to between 1971-1975.

Do you have a photo of the sign through the years? Post it on Facebook, Flickr or Instagram and leave a link in the comment.


About the author

Kyle Thomas

Kyle grew up in Yellowknife and is a local entrepreneur, writer, baker, and Yellowknife Advocate who is addicted to learning as much as he can about the community and sharing it with anyone who'll listen. In 2009 he developed YkOnline.ca. A website all about living, working and thriving in Yellowknife for residents, newcomers, and visitors.


  • Two analogue clocks on the same side of a sign would be pretty dumb… I’ll bet that there was an analogue clock and the other dial was an analogue thermometer and that would have been duplicated on the other side… That makes some kind of sense…

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