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Newsletter - April 2009


Passing the Heritage Torch

The big spring melt has started and summer will soon be here, so here are some updates from the Society as we plan for a busy season. Over twenty years ago, the seeds of the NWT Mining Heritage Society began with the creation of Spirit YK (acronym for “Society for the Preservation of the Inimitable Rollicking Image of the True Yellowknife”), a small organization that took upon the important task of preserving Yellowknife history and spirit.

The group built a number of outdoor displays including the Airport mining display and the diamond drill rig behind City Hall. The late Erik Watt and Mike Piro were two of its founders. Our Society has now essentially taken on the duties of Spirit YK, and with the folding of Spirit YK the torch has finally been passed. Merlyn Williams, Spirit YK’s last president, has made a $5,000 donation to our Society. We would like to thank Spirit YK for this generous donation and all their help over the years. This also means that the Society will own displays managed by Spirit YK and its collection of mining memorabilia.

Donation of Equipment

A few summers ago, the Society worked in collaboration with the Federal Government to ensure that old mining equipment at the North Inca Gold Mine, located at Indin Lake 200 kilometers north of Yellowknife, were recovered when the site was remediated. This past month, in cooperation with Barry Henkel of Tli Cho Logistics, several items were backhauled to our museum site on winter road. The items include:

  • 1924-vintage boiler
  • two CIR mining drills
  • three ore buckets
  • sheave wheel
  • ore car
  • pump

We would like to thank INAC and Tli Cho Logistics for their assistance. These items will form part of our outdoor display at Giant Mine. North Inca was an advanced gold exploration project in operation between 1947-1949. A small shaft was sunk, but the mine never produced any gold. A cleanup of the site is now underway.

Roof Is Paid Off!

When we got the new roof put on the Rec Hall two summers ago, some additional, unexpected work had to be done to replace rafters and fix up a couple sections of the walls. Arcan Roofing did this additional work and allowed us to pay off the debt over time. The Society is pleased to say that the debt has now been paid off in full. We would also like to thank Arcan Roofing and Duncan Cook for doing such a great job and giving us time to pay for it. Work on the rec hall this summer will involve remediation of the foundation wall and perhaps some interior gutting.

Yellowknife's 75th Birthday

Yellowknife’s 75th birthday will be celebrated this year between June 19 and July 4. The Society has published a new brochure on Yellowknife’s Mining History and a series of postcards with five historic scenes. The Society is also planning a reenactment of the arrival of the first beer barge of the year into Yellowknife along with a BBQ and beer tent. We will keep everyone posted as events are planned and if you are interested in volunteering please contact us or the organizing committee. (

Remembering Hockey's Glory Days

Ryan Silke recently chatted with Bill Lister who now lives near Peace River, Alberta. Bill was a miner at Con and Giant between 1953-1980, spending the majority of that time as a shiftboss. He was also coach of the Giant Grizzlies hockey team and remembers some very intense games as the local hockey teams battled for victory. Bill has kept lots of memorabilia from his days as player and coach of the Giant hockey team, including a large trophy named after George Dundas, who was a veteran of the hockey league as both player and referee. Bill also has old jerseys and team jackets, and is interested in seeing them put into our museum some day. Thank you Bill for thinking of us!

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