chris vs. the arctic

chris: 72 // the arctic: 47

A Brief Background On Yellowknife

Many of you probably don't know much about my home city -- Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. In fact, I bet you don't even know where it is, do you? It's okay. Most people don't. Here's a map: Yellowknife. Try zooming out and see exactly where the city is.

Yellowknife is the capital of the Northwest Territories. It has about 19,000 people, yet it's considered a 'city.' It was originally established as a gold mining town, but now it's main industries are diamond mining and government.

During the peak of the short summers in Yellowknife, there is nearly 24-hour daylight. The sun will dip below the horizon around 01:00, and come back up at 03:00. (It sucks, trust me.) The summers are a pleasant 25°C, but you are lucky to enjoy the weather for all the mosquitoes, blackflies, and other biting/sucking bugs looking for blood.

During the fantastically long and frigid winters, Yellowknife usually reaches an average temperature of around -40°C. The days are dark, with the sun rising at around 09:00 and setting at 15:00. You can see the northern lights only in the winter, but they are frequent.

Yellowknife Aurora
The Northern Lights (a.k.a. The Aurora)

Many Japanese tourists visit Yellowknife every year to see the aurora. I believe this phenomenon holds a special significance in Shintoism.

There's a TV program on CBC called Rick Mercer Report. (It's like The Daily Show, for you Americans.) The host of the show ventured up to Yellowknife last year to check it out. Here are some hilarious videos from his visit:

Yellowknife Video

Rick also visited the NWT (Northwest Territories) Legislature (capital building). I used to work in this building. It's really sweet! Actually, I hope to work there again once I leave Japan...

NWT Legislature Video

I hope you are now well-versed in all that you didn't want to know about Canada's Arctic (and my home)!
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On November 15, 2005, Blogger Gillian said:

Ha ha, I watched those Mercer Report videos one day at school last year... and almost pissed my pants in the middle of the staffroom trying to control my laughter! Oh, Canada.... What inspired the post?    

On November 16, 2005, Blogger Chris said:

I just felt homesick. I also figured a lot of people who read my blog in Toyama don't know about Yellowknife and would like the videos. :)    

On November 16, 2005, Anonymous Samantha said:

Hey Chris! It's Samantha (your cousin...just in case you know a lot of Samantha's)
I tried e-mailing but the address I have doesn't work. E-mail me at
I would like to know where to send your Christmas card =)    

On November 17, 2005, Blogger Linea said:

Hey Chris!
Thanks for the Northern Lights photo! I miss them! Even in little ol' Grande Prairie, they are brilliant!
I've been to your fine city a few times -both summer and winter. I must say, the summers are beautiful but driving across a frozen lake in the dead of winter in a school bus had it's moments too!    

On November 18, 2005, Blogger ambamarie said:

I enjoyed reading about Yellowknife as well. After my trip home for Christmas, I have a free N.American flight. I may just have to come check out the Northern Lights for myself next year!    

On November 19, 2005, Anonymous B said:

Ahhh, Yellowknife. Such a love/hate relationship with that city. So full of gossip, giant mosquitos, and smoky summers. I can't believe you don't like the long hours of sun in the summers! Thats one of the things I love! I do miss the Northern Lights... they don't have them in Belgium and I won't be going back for Xmas this year :( Im still trying to open the video - with Rick Mercer Im sure its going to be hilarious!    

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