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Practical information about living in the Northwest Territories.

Housing and food cost questions for living in the Northwest Territories are answered here.


Food Costs

We import a lot of items, from avocados to zuccini. But we also have fresh homegrown eggs and our long summer days encourage successful community gardening co-ops. While food is a bit more expensive in our smaller communities, many families find they have cash to spare due to higher wages. A 2008 survey by The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada looked at the costs of a healthy food basket in 66 cities, and found that Yellowknife ranked 27th – cheaper than cities such as Edmonton, Calgary, Grande Prairie, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon and Kelowna.

Food Selection

Prices in Yellowknife are comparable to southern centres, although the further you get from the road system in the Northwest Territories, the higher the prices. In partial compensation, folks living in more remote communities often fish and hunt wild game for the family’s food. Inuvik is home to the Inuvik Community Greenhouse, where locals can raise their own fresh produce in a decommissioned arena.

In fact, thanks to groups like the Territorial Farmers Association, there is more locally produced food in the NWT than ever before. Residents and local farmers in most NWT communities are taking advantage of long hours of summer daylight to grow vegetables and fruit. Potatoes are a staple in Norman Wells, Hay River is supplying eggs, and locally caught fish are widely available.

There’s plenty of variety to be had in grocery stores across the territory. Fresh vegetables and fruit are on offer in even the smallest communities, though distance and freight add considerably to the cost. Residents also have the option of ordering food direct from suppliers in Yellowknife, or southern centres.

For dining out, there is a growing selection of international fare - Thai, Vietnamese, sushi, and gourmet French are rounding out the usual Chinese and pizza options.