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Practical information about living in the Northwest Territories.

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Blaine's Story - Fort Smith

I spent a couple of years in Edmonton when I was 16 and 17, but even then I couldn’t wait to get back to Fort Smith. Where else but the NWT can you get on your snowmobile, and no matter what direction you are heading, be at your favourite fishing hole in under 30 minutes?

I’m the owner of Lou’s Small Engines – so in winter it’s all about preparing customers for snowmobiling and in the summer it’s all about boating. I consider myself lucky to be one of those people who gets paid for doing what I love. I also run the snowmobile club, so the side benefits are great too. My family and I have a cabin on Salt River and we go back and forth in no time at all.

I’m no expert on southern living – and never want to be – but I couldn’t imagine having to tow my snowmobile for half a day to get somewhere where I’m allowed to ride it. Here, within 30 minutes I’m ready to start drilling through the ice for my fishing hole.

Fort Smith is a tightknit community where everyone knows each other and gets along really well. With a population of about 2400, we’re good at making do with what we have – we have to because we’re at the end of the road. But I’m told we have everything and more than a small town in the South anyway. 

Winter is part of Canadian living, so making it through is not a problem if you keep busy. I play hockey 4 times a week and I’m away most weekends at the cabin or on a trip. My advice is to come and try it, but come open-minded. Give yourself all 4 seasons here, because we do have 4 distinct ones. You may not like one, but the next one could get you. There are an awful lot of people here who came for a short-term stay and 25 years later are still here. But hey, don’t take my word for it. Come and see for yourself. The North may grab you, but Fort Smith holds on tighter!