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Practical information about living in the Northwest Territories.

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Alayna's Story - Yellowknife

I come from the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, Aylesford to be exact. It’s a beautiful part of the world, but hard to get anywhere in a career. I guess I’ve always had a lust for adventure because after I graduated from university in New Brunswick, I moved to Japan (where I met my husband) to teach English, then to Finland, England and back home to Canada, where I went back to school for the Public Relations program at MacEwan University in Edmonton. 
In September 2007, fresh out of school, I was hired by the Government of the Northwest Territories for a Communications Coordinator position. After a couple of years of working in Yellowknife we moved to Australia for a year, but found ourselves missing Yellowknife, so we came back. I’m now the Public Affairs and Communications Manager at Industry, Tourism and Investment with the GNWT. I’m a huge fan of the NWT — I don’t know of many other places I could live where I could own my own home at the age of 27 and by the age of 30 be at management level. The North is the place to be if you like to work hard and you want to be rewarded for it. 

The people are so friendly here; it’s one of the many things I love about the NWT. We moved here in September and by October we had 3 invitations for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s as if people close in around someone who is new, making them feel welcome. Because everyone is from somewhere else (and lots are from the Maritimes), it’s a place that’s very open to all kinds of people.

My husband, Robert, loves it here too. Growing up in England, he watched the TV show “Northern Exposure,” so he expected people and life here to be different – but he has really embraced the northern lifestyle. For the first 3 years we kept saying to ourselves, “Wow, only in the North would that happen,” when we get to do things like ride in the tiniest of small ski planes, or meet someone whose lifestyle is quirky by southern standards. I’ve become so “jaded” about all the weird yet wonderful things that happen here that I’ve stopped being shocked by odd things. It takes all kinds of people to make such a small city such a great place to live. I don’t have to sacrifice family for a great job because my friends are like family — but the salaries here are so good we enjoy a lifestyle that includes vacations and visits home to Nova Scotia and England.
But one of the reasons I love the NWT is because of the never-ending stuff to do. We are active in outdoor activities both summer and winter — everything from trail running and camping to snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Yellowknife also has a great arts and culture scene. We enjoy live music shows and theatre. For the first time this year I played a role in a theatre production of “Vagina Monologues” as Part of the V-Day global awareness campaign. I never would have thought I’d be up on the stage, but it was a great experience. This year I plan to take pottery classes and play on an indoor soccer league. There is never a shortage of things to do and always a shortage of time to do as much as we’d like.

So, if you come to Yellowknife, come with an open mind, your eyes open and a sense of adventure. I’ve done things since I’ve been here I never thought I’d do. You can’t help but love it here!