How the GNWT is participating

The Government of the Northwest Territories is making the most of Canada 150 to build the national and international profile of the NWT and its people.

Through our participation in local and national events, we will promote the NWT and raise awareness of the role Indigenous people and all northerners play in Canada’s history, heritage and culture.

Here are some of the ways the GNWT is participating in Canada 150 celebrations.

Responding to requests from across Canada

Every day, the Government of the Northwest Territories receives requests for information, maps, pins, postcards and flags from Canadians who are celebrating Canada 150 in their own way: teachers who want to help their students learn about Canada, students who are doing their own learning and community groups who want to celebrate their country.

RCMP Special Constable Exhibit

This multiplatform exhibit will feature the support of NWT residents who worked side by side with the first RCMP offers in the NWT as Special Constables, seamstresses and interpreters. This project is collaboration between the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (Department of Education, Culture and Employment), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and the Department of Justice. It will launch this summer and run over the next three years, including a travelling component that will be taken to all regions of the territory.

BioBlitz Canada 150

Nature selfie for Canada’s 150th

From July 28 – August 12, 2017 the Canadian Wildlife Federation, in partnership with Government of Northwest Territories, is hosting a series of BioBlitz events the NWT. A BioBlitz is a period of time (usually 24 hours) when the general public is invited to work with scientists to identify as many species in the designated area as possible.

BioBlitz events are happening across Canada this summer. Be a part of this exciting happening and help Canadian scientists collect new data and document new species! Information collected will help inform choices on climate change, loss of biodiversity and other important phenomenon.

BioBlitz Canada 150 is a free fun-filled family event. The schedule of 2017 BioBlitz Canada 150 events in the NWT is:

  • Tuktoyaktuk: Friday, July 28
  • Inuvik: Sunday, July 30
  • Norman Wells: Wednesday, August 2
  • Fort Simpson: Wednesday, August 9
  • Yellowknife: Thursday, August 10 to Saturday August 12 at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre

To find out more, visit:

An NWT HUB for Canada C3 expedition

Canada C3 is a Signature Project for Canada’s 150th. The centrepiece is a 150-day sailing journey from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage. The expedition is divided into 15 legs ranging from seven to 12 days, each leg bringing a new group of participants on board to connect with communities and Canadians. The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre is a C3 HUB, hosting a small exhibit where visitor can watch video from the voyage, use a touch screen to learn more about the ships activities and even share the experience using Virtual Reality goggles! (Goggles are available for use on Tuesdays from 4 to 5 pm and on Fridays from 1:30 to 2:30 pm throughout September.)

National Aboriginal Day (APTN national broadcast)

The Aboriginal People’s Television Network will be broadcasting National Aboriginal Day Celebrations from all provincial and territorial capitals across Canada. The Government of the Northwest Territories will participate and support this important initiative.

This year will mark the 15th year that National Aboriginal Day is recognized as a statutory holiday in the NWT. When the 14th Legislative Assembly passed the National Aboriginal Day Act in 2001, the NWT became the first jurisdiction in Canada to recognize Aboriginal Day as a formal statutory holiday. The act came into force in January 2002.

150 Secrets Contest

In honour of Canada’s 150th birthday, NWT Tourism has given away 150 round trip Air Canada tickets to the Northwest Territories. Five “super prizes” will also be awarded that take winners into each of the NWT’s five tourism regions.

The Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway

This year, the winter road which has provided a lifeline for Tuktoyaktuk communities will close for the last time. On November 15, 2017, a new 120-km all-weather highway will provide the community with a year-round link to Inuvik. Infrastructure Canada has identified this project as one of its major Canada 150 projects, under the theme “Rebuilding Canada for the 21st Century”.

50th Anniversary of the Canada Games 2017

The first Canada Games were created in honour of Canada’s 100th anniversary in 1967. The first competition, held in Québec City, brought together 1800 athletes from all provinces and territories. Today, the Canada Games are Canada’s largest multi-sport competition for young athletes. The GNWT will be participating in many ways:

  • Team Northwest Territories will be send nearly 160 athletes, coaches and mission staff will be participating in 8 sports from July 28 to August 13.
  • Performers from the NWT will be featured during a special “Northern Canada Day” (August 2) at the 2017 Canada Games Festival. The festival has selected Digawolf and Leela Gilday to represent the NWT. The festival will be held at the historic Forks grounds at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers in Winnipeg. The Canada Games Host Society expects up to 20,000+ out-of-town visitors to the event.
  • Twenty-five Northwest Territories Youth Ambassadors from all regions will be volunteering at 2017 Winnipeg Canada Summer Games.

Canada Scene 2017 – National Capital Region, June 15 to July 23

The National Arts Centre in Ottawa has successfully produced seven regional Scene festivals since 2003, and has planned a much larger festival called Canada Scene as its signature event for Canada 150. The Canada Scene festival will run in Ottawa from June 15 to July 23, 2017, and will feature artists from every region of the country.

The GNWT is contributing $50,000 towards Canada Scene, which will directly support NWT performers who have been selected to take part. Canada Scene organizers coordinated with the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre, Folk on the Rocks, Great Northern Arts Festival and ECE (NWT Arts Council) to assist with recruitment and selection of northern emerging and established artists. Final artist selections are made by Canada Scene organizers.

Summary of Northwest Territories artists and events identified by Canada Scene:

REVEAL Indigenous Art Award

The GNWT is a sponsor of the REVEAL Indigenous Art Award. This national juried award was launched by the Hnatyshyn Foundation in this sesquicentennial year to honour emerging and established Indigenous Canadian artists working in all artistic disciplines. The 150 cash awards of $10,000 each were recently announced. THE GNWT promoted the call for applications to NWT artists.

We congratulate sculptor John Sabourin on being selected as one of the recipients. A special event honouring the artists will be held in Winnipeg on May 22nd, 2017.

SESQUI — a multi-media festival

SESQUI is one of the Government of Canada’s Signature Initiatives of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. Short for “sesquicentennial”, SESQUI will offer an interactive journey through Canada in various ways, including a 360o film called HORIZON, a virtual reality app and an online learning hum. In 2016, the Northwest Territories Film Commission (NWTFC) assisted SESQUI’s team by connecting them with locations and local talent. This helped ensure that Yellowknife locals were hired to assist the production team in their efforts to capture the spirit of the NWT. The NWT was the first jurisdiction in the North to be shot for the project.

MosaiCanada Canada 150 Horticultural Exhibit

The GNWT is participating in this Canada 150 project, funded by Canadian Heritage, the Government of Quebec and the Ville de Gatineau. This ambitious horticultural project has invited gardeners from across Canada to build the mosaïculture artwork representing their respective province or territory. These pieces of horticultural art will be on display as part of a major Canada 150 a major exhibit from July 1st to October 15, 2017 in the Jacques Cartier Park of the National Capital Region. A gardener from the City of Yellowknife travelled to Laval, Québec in March to help build the muskox sculpture organizers selected to represent the NWT. Following the exhibit, the muskox will be given to the City of Yellowknife as a gift. You can follow the progress of this project on Facebook.