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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.


Liz's story - Hay River

My family moved us here to Hay River 10 years ago from Calgary. As a 14-year old, I knew nothing about the North. I thought everyone here lived in igloos and it was cold year round. After graduating up here, I went to school in Edmonton and received my Mechanical Engineering Technology diploma from NAIT in 2009. Following graduation, I moved up North with a seasonal job offer while I searched for something permanent; I knew that the North was where I wanted to start my career. I eventually got in touch with the Northwest Territories Power Corporation where I had previously worked as a summer student and they had an open position that I immediately applied on. I started working for NTPC in January 2010.

The North is the best place to be if you’re starting a career. You are paid more and you are allowed to do more. As a Tech, I have many responsibilities that I would not have if I were working down South. A big part of my job is monitoring projects. We get to follow projects from beginning to end – everything from finances and contracts to site supervision. No one I graduated with has the same variety and responsibility in their job. My former classmates mock me sometimes; it’s hard to get people to consider moving up here, but I have no doubt that I made the right choice.

I definitely miss some things from living in a big city, but I mostly like that it’s quiet here. This town has a slower pace and it suits me. I’m one of those people you hear other people talk about – the kind of person that actually misses the snow in the summer. And the winter sunsets are unbelievable! Not to mention the northern lights. Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t trade anything for the long, bright summer days – but the beauty makes the cold less noticeable (at least it does for me). It really is amazing here!

I do a lot more sports and outdoor activity here than I would in Edmonton. To pass the winter, I do activities like skating, swimming, curling, yoga and aerobics. In the summer, I do a lot of golfing on the best course north of the 60th parallel. If I were living in the city, I probably wouldn’t be doing half of these things. I do wish that my family still lived here, but I’ve made so many friends who are like family that it makes things easier.

So what I have to say to you is this:

Come, give it a try; the money is good and the experience is great. It’s a great place to start a career, but you’ll stay because it’s a great place to live.