February 23, 2018: Day 2 in Yellowknife!
Today, I woke up around 9 a.m. which was surprisingly early considering I finally had a chance to sleep in. The sun streamed in at 9 a.m. Unlike what I had heard about and thought of Yellowknife, the sun does not only come out at the hours of 10 to 3 p.m. Instead, the daylight hours (at least while during our visit) were from 8:56 a.m. (sunrise) to 5:43 p.m. (sunset) — a later sunrise than Ontario but a similar sunset time.
We enjoyed breakfast in our hotel room. The tour guide came to pick us up at 11:45 a.m. in the lobby of the hotel. The first stop of the day was ice fishing in Great Slave Lake!!
The ride there was less than five minutes. In actuality, it wasn’t ice “fishing” for us personally but fishing in the sense that we got to watch it happen. The fisherman had already drilled a hole in the frozen Great Slave Lake. I could see the icy water. From there, he had trawled a net underneath the frozen ice layer and pulled one end of the net out. Out came fish already perished in the net! It was so quick and I barely had time to document it. There were a lot of other tourists too.
We were given white knit mittens if we wanted to hold the fish to take photos with them. It was definitely a neat experience to be on the frozen Great Slake Lake. The rising morning sun on the horizon of the lake was spectacular too.
After this, lunch was being prepared for us inside the house. It was the whitefish and coney fish that had just come up from the lake!
We enjoyed the bannock (a type of bread and biscuit) with butter and jam first. The butter was so smooth! The bannock reminded me of the biscuits from Popeyes XD.
The whitefish soup was very simple with chunks of fish and vegetables in it. It was fishy at first sip but oh so comforting because it was steaming hot from the pot and had a little heat from the black pepper.
Next, we waited as the solitary chef in the kitchen prepared the pan-fried whitefish and coney fish for us. It wasn’t an industrialized kitchen but a regular one like in a residential house. Those sitting closest to him could see him covering each fillet with cornmeal before placing it onto the skillet to fry.
The fried whitefish was crispy and simple in taste. No wonder there was a whole host of condiments on the table like salt and pepper (standard), sriracha sauce, soy sauce, and ginger pepper sauce for those who desired a more seasoned taste.
We also tried the coney fish served up the same way. I thought this fillet was denser in texture and a tiny bit more flavourful.
After lunch, we were given a city bus tour. We circled around the neighbourhood and viewed the homes of the First Nations who settled there. Apparently, their houses are removable and thus possible to relocate.
There was a Toronto bank of Canada. We passed by a small private airport.
We stopped by the Bush Pilots Monument (3511, 3513 Ingraham Dr, Yellowknife), an outlook with views over Great Slave Lake, Back Bay, and the northern reaches of the city. It is dedicated to the bush pilots and engineers who lost their lives as they flew the wilderness skies of the Northwest Territories. We took pictures at the top of the stairs which overlooked the city.
We visited the Snowking snow castle and took pictures with the ice sculptures on top of Great Slave Lake.
We visited the NWT Diamond Centre (5105 49 St, Yellowknife) and I was fascinated to learn that Canada is the world’s third largest diamond producer! I didn’t know that at all. The most recent mine was actually started in 2008 in the Northwest Territories! I really appreciated all the clear and well-written infographs in the centre. It wasn’t overly commercial at all and more like an educational centre that sold NWT diamonds too.
We visited City Hall and took pictures! We also received a visitor’s commemorative item —- we each got a certificate announcing we arrived in Yellowknife as well as a small literal “yellow knife” as a keepsake.
Lastly, our afternoon adventures ended with a visit to the Prince of Wales National Heritage Centre. I recognized the name of this museum immediately as it was mentioned in one of the Hansard sessions! ^_^
The Prince of Wales National Heritage Centre (4750 48th Street Yellowknife) was a free museum to educate visitors about Yellowknife and the Northwest Territories’ brief but rich history. There was so much to see of how different First Nations hunted and ate their food, the tools they used, the animals they killed to make such tools and clothing, and more. It was such a well-designed museum and its attention to detail reminded me of the War Museum in Ottawa. To really absorb all the details and information here, I think an hour’s time would be necessary.
After this, we returned back to the hotel. Our day’s touring activities were ended and the rest of the evening was ours for the taking. It was around 5 p.m. at this time.
The relatives and I visited the local Shoppers Drug Mart, a local audio and video store, and the Independence grocer again. We then headed to Elke’s Table on 47th for dinner (click the link for my restaurant review).
After dinner, we returned back to the hotel to rest up. At 9:30 p.m. again like yesterday, we set out on the tour bus for 15 minutes to chase Aurora again.
This time instead of waiting on the bus for Aurora to show up, we were actually at a site with a large cabin and teepee tents. You could rest inside the cabin until Aurora danced brightly. Luckily it wasn’t that cold tonight (daytime was only -13 degrees, a far cry from yesterday’s -23) and I didn’t even need to rest inside the heated cabin. I spent the time viewing the Auroras with my naked eye and/or waiting and just enjoying the silent night sky outside in the cold — it was actually not totally silent. I wish it was because the cabin’s voices carried along the site.
We were very lucky tonight for a full-on Aurora show with dancing Aurora too! (I later learned that we had a level Aurora show that night.) I was hoping to see that as well since yesterday’s light show didn’t provide that.
The colours of the waving Aurora were so bright today. I was also able to capture the lights on my mom’s cell phone very well albeit blurry. Apparently HUAWEI cellphones are the only cellphones capable of long exposures and thus able to capture the wispy lights. It was so beautiful.
We again stayed until 2 a.m. before we headed back to the hotel. Very thankful for two nights of beautiful auroras!