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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.


Hilary's Story - Fort Smith

I came to Fort Smith 3-1/2 years ago to join my husband and his three kids. We just had a new baby, Noah, who is 3 months old, so now we have 4 kids – an occupation unto itself! However, my husband and I also own the bookstore/coffee shop in town, North of Sixty Books and I have my full-time job at Aurora College in the Business Administration department.
Fort Smith is a great place to start and raise a family. There are lots of great activities for families. It may be small, but I was amazed when I came at the number of services for just 2400 people. We have the rec centre, with a pool, and there are a number of events and festivals throughout the year. I came here from Vancouver Island and I didn’t expect to have so many services and activities. And of course, the access to outdoor activities is fabulous! We park our snowmobiles on the front lawn all winter and we’re at our cabin in 20 minutes. Every time we go there it feels like we’re away. I also enjoy walking through our boreal forest trail system, along the river, cross-country skiing, hiking, and now kayaking on the river.. The nice thing is that it takes 2 minutes to get to all of our activities and the cost to register is less than in the South.
Here there is a sense to community that is harder to achieve down south. I know almost everyone here and I have a strong sense of belonging. It’s easy to be as involved as you want to be here. I’m on the Tourism Advisory Board and the Skating Club Executive. In Victoria I didn’t know my neighbours.
We’re pretty far south here in Smith, so we get daylight here year round and a ton of sun – even in winter. On Vancouver Island it can get wet and grey during the winter. I didn’t realize how good it is to have sun in winter until I came here! 

Another surprising benefit to living here is that it’s actually more economical. Groceries are a bit more expensive, but you also get paid more in the NWT. Our quality of life is quite high as the property values are lower versus somewhere like Victoria. That’s a really big deal for us because it meant we could take a trip with the whole family to Cuba last year. We couldn’t afford to do that in the South. It makes up for some of the things I miss, that’s for sure.