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Fort Simpson

Where the Mackenzie and Liard River meet is where Fort Simpson was first formed. The blushing gold of the sunset against blue-grey water and pine trees is enjoyed by the 1,200 residents fortunate enough to have settled here.

Fort Simpson is an art-scene hot spot in the NWT. Throughout the year you can find arts and crafts like carvings, handmade willow canes, traditional Aboriginal clothing, birch bark baskets and moose hide crafts in shops throughout town.

If you’re interested in arts and crafts you’ll definitely want to check out the annual Open Sky Arts Festival. This June to July festival features arts, crafts, music, story telling, moose hair tufting, modern and traditional dance, theatre, fiddling, new media screenings and other talents from around the Deh Cho region and offers art and theatre workshops. Local talent is celebrated with drum dancing and a community feast – if you are new to Fort Simpson, this is the perfect way to meet new people!

Along with the Open Sky Festival, Fort Simpson hosts a handful of festivals and community events throughout the year. The Beavertail Jamboree is always eagerly anticipated since the March festival marks the final days of winter. The jamboree is celebrated with a week-long festival featuring hockey tournaments, fireworks, talent shows, traditional games and figure skating!

If you lead an energetic lifestyle there are plenty of options to stay active – even when the winters get down to the -40s! Fort Simpson has a gym, rec centre, curling rink, a swimming pool (operates only in the summer), hockey rink, weekly fitness classes and a 9-hole golf course.

Want to check the hockey score, plan your trip to the Nahanni National Park, or email your friends? If you don’t own a computer wander over to the Dehcho Friendship Centre. The centre offers free internet to the public as well as youth activities, a community justice program and a 24 hour fitness centre.

One important thing you must note before arriving in Fort Simpson is that the community has alcohol restrictions. The restriction applies to how much liquor can be bought at one time and the liquor store hours of operation are shorter than most.

Some northern communities have restrictions which vary from place to place, while others are restriction-free. It’s always a good idea to check if there are alcohol restrictions before entering a community because bringing alcohol into some communities can land you in hot water. These restrictions are meant to keep community members leading safe and healthy lifestyles.

One of the most stunning spots to visit is Nahanni National Park, which lies just outside Fort Simpson. The terrain is adorned with deep canyons, white water rapids, hot springs, mountain ranges, forests, waterfalls, and limestone caves. The park, which recently expanded, now includes the highest mountains and biggest ice fields in the NWT and will be home to two herds of caribou and nearly 500 grizzly bears.

The picturesque Virginia Falls cascade down more than 90 meters – that’s more than twice the height of Niagara Falls! The rush of plummeting water is split by the pinnacle of “Mason’s Rock,” creating a jaw-dropping spectacle that you won’t soon forget.