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Newsletter - Spring 2022


In this issue: Fundraising and Sponsorship - Museum Construction Work - Acquisitions - Inclusion NWT Display - Upcoming Events

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Welcome to our Spring edition newsletter for 2022! Work continues on the museum project and we have more exciting news to report to our membership and sponsors.


Fundraising mail out to potential donors over the winter resulted in a few generous donations from local businesses. These generous contributions, plus the capital funding from major government agencies, has guaranteed a completion of all major design and construction elements to the museum project in fiscal year 2022-2023!

We are pleased to announce the contributions from the following government partners:

Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CANNOR): $705,000
Canadian Heritage, Canada Cultural Spaces Fund: $506,000
GNWT Industry, Tourism and Investment CTIC Program: $200,000
GNWT Education, Culture and Employment: $60,000
City of Yellowknife Heritage Committee: $10,000

The following local companies responded to our fundraising campaign:

Corothers Home Building Centre: $1000
Cheetah Resources Corporation, a Vitals Metals company, Nechalacho Project: $1000

Adam Dental Clinic: $250

Furthermore, the following local businesses have committed to donate material goods of value for museum construction:

Elite Flooring: $6000
Fibreglass North: $4400

The above funding is a culmination of three years of hard work by the Board of Directors and staff to engage with three levels of government as well as various local businesses to bring this 20-year museum project to completion.

Together, the funding has provided employment and economic gain to several local contractors as well as supporting architects and engineering services in the city at a time of post-pandemic economic recovery. The Yellowknife Historical Society is most appreciative of the level of collaboration and communications between all levels of government and other community businesses and partners that have supported this project and the ongoing value it will bring to Yellowknife culture and tourism. A full list of sponsorship to date is available on our website.

Cheque signing

Helmut Epp and Marie Adams signing checks to pay contractors (Sue Epp photo)


Pandemic delays continued to slow down physical construction work on the building this winter, but our primary contractor, Kasteel Construction, has completed the vestibule entranceway, hung many of the doors, and completed the staircase to the upstairs mechanical room. Wayne Guy Architects has completed Phase Two drawings. Contractors lined up to complete all interior construction, electrical and mechanical are DTE Electric, J&R Mechanical, Elite Flooring, and Kasteel Construction.

We expect all interior components to be completed this summer which will include an in-floor heating system, electrical, propane boilers, drywall, painting, kitchen, and displays. We are currently working on a Museum Exhibit Plan which will be completed this spring and feedback will be sought from the wider community. This will allow us to start building displays and hiring a museum manager to begin operations phase by the end of the year!


Didier Bourgois is a collector of mineral samples and artifacts from various mines since he moved north in the 1980s, Didier is downsizing and offered many items to the Society this winter. Interesting items include a code of mine signals from Discovery Mine, a blasting detonator, home-made musical symbols from Discovery Mine, brass oil can from Thompson-Lundmark Mine, amethyst samples from Great Slave Lake, a pick axe from Louis Garskie’s gold claims, and lantern slides for projecting movie ads at the Con Mine theatre. Thanks Didier for the fascinating and historic collection!

Ken Hall donated more items from his family collection, including the “Bert Carter Trophy” (a welded steel pipe probably part of a curling contest at Giant Mine) and a prospector’s mortar found near Lac de Gras in 1972.

Alice Brassard donated a photograph collection taken by her father, Joseph Elphege Andre Dancause, while working across the north between 1932-1942. Dancause worked on cat train convoys, river barges, hydro power developments, and various gold mines between Lake Athabasca Saskatchewan, Fort Smith, Yellowknife, and Great Bear Lake.

Dancause photo

Woodcutters with a tractor in the north, 1930s (Dancause Collection)

Mike Vaydik donated photographs and records from his personal family archives and additional photographs from the collection of Art & Louise Fortens, who came to Yellowknife to work and live at the Beaulieu gold mine 1946-1948.

Fortens photo

“Outside office floor part of building – enjoying the short summer weather. 75 miners – 4 women. Evelyn Johnson, mill superintendent’s wife. Hortense Stocking, engineer’s wife. Louise Fortens, accountant’s wife. Margaret Peckering, storekeeper’s wife. Beaulieu Mine, 1946-1947” (Fortens Collection)


Congratulations to Inclusion NWT for 60 years of service to the Yellowknife community! The Yellowknife Historical Society contributed artifacts and props for a display at the Centre Square Mall which ran during the months of March-April 2022. The exhibition offers an intimate glimpse into the daily life of the small subarctic mining town that nurtured the spirit of Inclusion, diversity and unity that continues to inspire the organization and its partners into the future. Click here for more information on Inclusion NWT’s anniversary.


Yellowknife Spring Tradeshow – May 7-8 at the Multiplex. The Society will have a booth.
Annual General Meeting – June 14 at 6pm at Giant Mine Townsite
Beer Barge 2022 – Cancelled


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 laid the foundation for the town in the 1930s. The museum will diversify current tourism-related opportunities and is expected to appeal to visitors as well as residents of Yellowknife.

Yellowknife Historical Society
Box 1856 Yellowknife NT X1A 2P4


Phase two of historical society’s museum project gets $10,000 in city funding
The Yellowknifer March 29, 2022

The City of Yellowknife’s Heritage Committee has unanimously approved $10,000 for the second phase of the Yellowknife Historical Society’s Giant Mine Recreation Hall Museum and Interpretive Centre project.

According to the historical society’s 2019 business plan, phase two of the project focuses on interior design, specifically, the “development of displays, graphics and exhibit concepts.”

Phase 3 — set for 2022-2023 — will see the commencing of operations and programming, which includes stocking the coffee shop and gift shop, hiring staff and developing programs and services that can be offered at the facility.

The society is expecting to see doors open by 2023.

The revitalization process for the project has taken at least a decade as the organization finished work on the roof in 2007, foundation repairs between 2010 and 2012, and completed work in 2018 on the exterior of the Giant Mine building with “the removal of hazardous waste, repairs of exterior walls, and installation of new siding, doors, and windows,” according to the organization’s official website.

Work beyond 2019 was to be focused on the interior of the building to install electrical and mechanical services.

In addition to the City of Yellowknife, funding was also obtained from the Department of Education, Culture and Employment as well as the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment’s Community Tourism Infrastructure Contribution program.

Federally, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency’s (CanNor) Inclusive Diversification and Economic Advancement in the North Fund and the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Canada Cultural Spaces Fund have also contributed. Those two donations served as the bulk of the funds over two fiscal years: 2021-22 and 2022-23.

The historical society’s budget for its museum project is over $1.6 million to complete construction and renovations to the original Giant Mine recreation centre building.