Newsletter - May 2019

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BEER BARGE - JUNE 15, 2019

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

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."

Date: June 15, 2019

Time: 4pm to 11pm

Price: $50 regular, $40 senior rate

Where: Old Wardair Dock, across from Wildcat Cafe

Entertainment: Notorious P.I.T.   --   Joe Snow and the 40 Below

Tickets available for sale on our website and at Quality Furniture!


Volunteer work parties in April and early May 2019 worked on gutting the interior of the museum building in preparation for new construction this summer, and carting some of the debris to the dump. Thanks to the following volunteers for coming down to help out for a few hours: Walt Humphries, Helmut Epp, Ryan Silke, Tracey Bryant, Velma Sterenberg, Donna Latremouille, Chris Cameron, Ken Hall, David Finch, and Marie Adams. Dingeman van Bochove, a roofer from Summit Roofing, donated a trailer so that we could haul a load to the dump. Thanks Dingeman! Chris Cameron also loaned his truck and Ryan Silke his trailer to later move more debris away.

Dingeman will also be helping us out with some construction work on the building this summer: deck construction and roof eavestroughs. In the meantime, asbestos removal was completed in April 2019 by Eddie Paul’s crew and we have some quotes for electrical work. Funding from the GNWT and 100 Men Who Give a Damn will assist in getting all of this work done.

Work party April 2019


Our "Heritage Photo Booth" at the Long John Jamboree winter festival March 29 to March 31, 2019 was a big hit! We raised over $2000 thanks to the generous support of our volunteers, sponsors, and all the community members who came down to the Jamboree for a bit of fun. Ryan Silke ran the event with the amazing help of David Finch, Tracey Bryant, Sarah Beattie, Diane Baldwin, Dave Kellett, Brian Latham, Bernadette Knox, and Barb O’Neill. Bill Braden donated the camera equipment, Aurora Geosciences donated the heater and fuel, and Terra X Minerals sponsored the tent.

Some of the fun photos at the Long John Jamboree


The Giant Mine Remediation Project is scheduled to proceed within the next couple of years, and timelines and proposals are now being shared with the concerned public. The Society’s board of directors believes that the project will have a significant impact on the Society’s future land use of the area. Contaminated soil remediation is expected to take place at various areas around the Giant Mine Townsite Lease, including the City Boat Launch Parking Lot. Although we have been assured by the Project team that activities on our lease will not be impacted by surrounding cleanup activities, other components of the Society’s investments are at risk, including the outdoor display and other assets.

In addition to our own land use, the Society is generally concerned about the aesthetic impacts of remediation proposals on the landscape in the Giant Mine Townsite Lease, an area of high recreational/tourism value that must be preserved for future generations.

Discussions continue with the Federal Government, Giant Mine Oversight Board, and other community partners to make clear our concerns. The Yellowknife Historical Society promotes the following main tenets in relation to the Giant Mine Remediation Project:

1) Yellowknife Historical Society activities and assets are allowed to continue undisturbed during the Remediation Project;

2) The Giant Mine Townsite Lease be remediated with the end goal being the re-establishment of recreational/commercial/residential land uses;

3) The Giant Mine Townsite Lease and all areas visible from the Lease be remediated to an aesthetic degree, and that no blasting of outcrop ridges and hills be conducted at the Giant Mine Townsite Lease, along the West Bay Fault ridge near the open pits, nor lands along the Ingraham Trail or Vee Lake Road.

The Society will be intervening in the Water Licensing process this coming year to promote our recommendations and concerns.


Come visit our booth at the Yellowknife Spring Trade Show on May 11 and 12. Beer Barge tickets will be for sale!


The Yellowknife Historical Society envisions the museum site at Giant Mine as a place that celebrates all aspects of Yellowknife's interesting history, from its Indigenous stories, geological setting, prospecting, the industrial activities of the gold mines, and the pioneer entrepreneurs that began the town in the 1930s. Inside we will be displaying mining and Yellowknife history and that should broaden its appeal and increase the number of visitors.

Yellowknife Historical Society

Box 1856 Yellowknife NT X1A 2P4          



Helmut Epp, president

Ryan Silke, vice president

David Finch, sec-treasurer

Walt Humphries

Diane Baldwin

Marie Adams – appointed to the board 2019

John Clark

Terry Warner

Mike Vaydik

Tracey Bryant, coordinator