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Practical information about living in the Northwest Territories.

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David's Story - Yellowknife

My name is David Heffernan, and my wife (Florence) and I, and our two wonderful sons (7 and 8) have been living in Yellowknife for just over two years now.  Since we arrived, we have come to really enjoy everything this amazing young city has to offer our family.  Fears of an isolated, desolate, wind-driven, snow-laden town were thoughts that were soon replaced by a much warmer, rain-free (mostly), consistent climate than we experienced in our former home town. This little piece of paradise provides more for the outdoor and indoor adventurers than most large metropolises you'll visit in other parts of Canada, or even south of the border.

One of our biggest fears about bringing a young family North of 60 was that we would not be able to replace the extracurricular activities they had been accustomed to participating in.  Wow, were we pleasantly surprised when we learned that Yellowknife had more to offer our young family than we've ever had immediate access to.  With three indoor hockey rinks, outdoor rinks, a swimming pool, a curling rink, outdoor parks, tennis courts, biking and walking trails, lakes galore, and even two indoor Soccer pitches under development, what more could a young family ask for?  Our children have had the opportunity to experience karate, soccer, swimming, skating, curling, and squash.  Yellowknife even has a beautiful little beach with all the amenities you could expect – that was a real shocker.  Never in a million years did we expect to find a real sand beach on a beautiful little lake within minutes of the city, and never would we have imagined that we would see 20–25°C temperatures during summer months, with consistently sunny weather.

Does all of this sound too hard to believe?  I can see how it would.  But looking back on the past two years, I have to say that I feel our move to this fine town was one of the best things for our family.  Our children have experienced so many things here that they likely would never have experienced in the South.  The diversity Yellowknife has to offer, from its patchwork quilt of multiculturalism to the integration of Aboriginal cultures and values in the mainstream school system, is warming to a parent's heart.  Seeing your children respect the values that have been lost on generations before them is exciting.  It instills a hope that change is possible.

That's the family side of things.  What about "making your mark" you may ask, since that's the focus of this website and what these stories are about?  Well, I like to think that making our mark is an ongoing process that we are all active participants in – through the values and experiences we instill in our children, and the through life experiences and learning they receive here in the North.  Not to mention the incredible experiences nature has to offer.  It's been a quick two years since we first arrived, and I hope that in some small way, I'm able to impress upon you, the mark which will be impressed upon your own life and your children's lives by seizing the opportunity to experience this amazing land in your own way.

The Heffernan Family