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Norman Wells

This community of 950 is known for its unique balance of tradition and adventure. Norman Wells has a prime location, flanked by the Mackenzie Mountains and Mackenzie River. Spend your weekends hiking, fishing, hunting, canoeing, kayaking or rafting along the rugged terrain. The views are spectacular, the experiences unforgettable.

Traditional activities are held year-round in Norman Wells. In March, as the weather begins to warm up, Norman Wells hosts a Spring Fling. Locals celebrate with a parade, dance, snowmobile races, youth soccer tournament, ice golf, barbeque, and bonfire. The Black Bear Jamboree and Aboriginal Day are two of the top summer festivals. The Black Bear Jamboree is held in early August each year and features a softball tournament and town party. Aboriginal Day is held on June 21, activities include canoe races, eco challenges (walking, biking), a dance, talent show and cook out.

Norman Wells has a youth and elder center, a swimming pool, golf course, baseball diamond, and tennis courts. Jackfish Lake and McKinnon Park are great for gatherings and an easy way to meet people. There is no shortage of activities to keep you active in the summer. Sports are popular in the community and there are leagues for baseball, soccer, volleyball, basketball, curling, badminton, archery, yoga and karate. There are also a wide variety of groups to join, including: Army Cadets, Firefighters Association, Sparks, Brownies and Guides, Speed Skating Club, Health Centre, the Royal Canadian Legion and numerous hockey teams. If gardening or landscaping is your passion make sure to enter the annual contest for the community’s best yard!

If you’re ever unsure of what’s going on in the community, just check out the online community channel. The website includes information on upcoming events (plays, dinners, hikes, play groups, bake sales), job opportunities, items for sale, volunteer opportunities, fire/weather/animal alerts, birthday wishes and congratulations. Since Norman Wells does not have a real estate agency, houses for sale or rent are also posted here.

The Norman Wells Historical Center offers a good history lesson of the town and also has a small theatre that features videos on the Canol Trail, making of the islands on Mackenzie River, hunting in the Mackenzie Mountains, wild life, World Wars and canoeing the Mountain River. There is a gift shop with traditionally items (including crafts, jewelry, and clothing), maps, fossils and northern books.

It’s not necessary to own a vehicle because everything is within walking distance. However, if you do need a vehicle to get around you can take a taxi– there is a flat rate of $6.00 or rent vehicles from Norman Wells Transportation.

Alcohol consumption in the NWT is monitored and some communities have chosen to become “dry” communities (meaning no alcohol is allowed in) or “restricted” communities. Norman Wells is a restricted community so individuals can only purchase certain amounts of alcohol and the liquor store hours of operation are shorter than most.

Items this far north have a tendency of being more expensive. Two litres of milk costs $9.73, a loaf of bread is $5.29 and a dozen eggs cost $5.90. Though groceries are expensive the Food Mail Program reduces costs. With the Food Mail Program you contact Sunspun Food Services in Yellowknife with a list of items you need. Food arrives weekly on a Buffalo Ariways plane and it is much cheaper and better quality. You can find most items within the community and, if not, most items can be ordered in.

There is cell phone service and high-speed Internet access throughout the community. If you don’t own a computer you can always use the computers and free Internet access at the school library. Mackenzie Mountain is a small school that offers education from kindergarten up to grade 12.

Get ready to experience the best of two worlds: the traditional lifestyle of the Metis and Dene people and the adrenaline rush of wrinkled landscapes. Norman Wells is just a plane ride away.