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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.


Cory's Story - Hay River

I was born in Hay River and except for when I was at the University of Alberta I’ve always lived here. During university I came home for the summers and worked at NTPC (Northwest Territories Power Corporation). When I graduated with a Business Degree, I was offered a 6-month term position with the company. That was 11 years ago and counting!
My position with NTPC is Manager of Treasury and Risk and I oversee the Corporation’s $37 million portfolio of investments, its banking relationships and insurance portfolio. However, right now I am also Acting Manager of Financial Planning where we’re working on leveling rates into zones, which will help far northern communities to be more attractive for business development. It’s a busy time, but fascinating!
You can’t beat the opportunities for work in Hay River. Because the companies are smaller here than in a big urban centre, you get exposed to far more experiences than you would as a specialist in the South. You also leap-frog into positions of higher authority much more quickly, which is great. One thing about this though, is that there may be only one of you in that position, so it can bring a lot of challenge. But, if you’re ambitious and like to work, you will be well compensated for it.
I think the most important personality trait for someone living in Hay River (or the NWT in general) would be that you can easily adapt to new situations. If you love the outdoors, this is the place for you. You can snowmobile or quad to work in 5 minutes and right outside your back door you have access to hunting, fishing, skiing and all manner of outdoor activities. But, if you don’t embrace life in the North and get involved in the community, you may not like it here.
Although my family lives here, one thing about living in the NWT and in Hay River in particular is that as soon as you get involved in the community you develop a close circle of friends who become like family. I’m involved in the company’s social club and the curling club. I also participate in a rec hockey league and get involved in organizing events.
Two years ago what started out as an informal pond hockey mini-tournament, ended up being a full-blown tourney that raised funds for one of the Olympians that came through Hay River. Volunteerism is very big in small communities and it allows us to put on lots of events because of it. It helps pass the winter and try out things you never thought you’d experience.