The Barge is coming…and it has the beer! June marks the continued tradition of the Yellowknife Historical Society’s summer party as we reenact the seasonal arrival of Yellowknife’s first supply barge in the 1940s.

The BBQ and entertainment party began in 2009 and we continue to honour what was once the biggest event in town: the annual docking of the beer barge!

Until 1960 when the highway was completed, most freight was handled by barge traffic on Great Slave Lake. Spring breakup and the arrival of the first barge of was a big deal. It carried all the construction material, furniture, luxury items, vehicles, and mining equipment for the town’s needs. But perhaps most importantly, the first barge typically carried the summer’s stock of alcohol!

By mid June, when the barge typically arrived, Yellowknife was a pretty dry town with the stock of beer and spirits having run out during the spring. So the arrival of that first barge – the Beer Barge – was a cause for celebration.

Our celebration guarantees to be as fun a party as when the Northern Prospector boat arrived in the summer of 1941, leading the local newspaper to write: "M.S. Prospector and barge had on board 1,875 cases of beer and a large consignment of that delightful beverage known as 'goof', because it has the property of really driving away all inhibitions and feelings of inferiority...and other things. Some of our more robust citizens have been known to spike the goof with overproof rum, making a delightful concoction, compared with which a lead pipe is as a feather, as a knocker-outer."



Price: $50 regular, $40 senior rate

Where: Old Wardair Dock, across from Wildcat Cafe

The Beer Barge features live entertainment and a free BBQ. Beer/wine is $7 per glass (brewed in Yellowknife by the NWT Brewing Company!). The evening will include draw prizes, auctions, and a lottery. Witness the arrival of an actual barge and enter your name on the time board with your guess as to the minute the barge will arrive, a true Yellowknife tradition as lotteries in the 1940s were organized to guess the day the barge would arrive here. There will also be prizes for best period costumes.

Live entertainment will include: TBA