Houseboats on the bay…


As someone who lives on a boat part of the year and loves it, it’s probably not that surprising that I’ve always been fascinated by houseboats — and would love to spend some time in one.

This summer our trip to the Northwest Territories to see family meant that we flew in and out of Yellowknife, which is 250 miles from the Arctic Circle.

This gave us a chance to see a unique community of houseboats in Yellowknife Bay, right near Old Town — Yellowknife’s original centre.

Old Town was founded in the 1930’s when gold was discovered in the area, and is situated on the shore of Great Slave Lake, a body of fresh water the size of Ireland.

I took this photo from the top of “the Rock”, a six-story rock hill in the centre of Old Town.

The image shows part of a community of houseboats that float between Old Town and nearby islands. It is made up of some 40 fully framed houses mounted on floating, anchored barges. Some are simple, one-story cabins. Others are elaborate, two-storey bungalows. I love the bright colours many are painted.

Who lives here? A mix of artists, professionals and government employees who largely work in town.

As the homes are offshore, they are not legally part of the municipality of Yellowknife so their owners don’t pay municipal taxes. But they also don’t receive services such as electricity, gas and garbage collection. Households are run on a combination of solar electricity, propane, diesel generators and wood stoves, and must deal with their own waste disposal.

In winter, they contend with extreme temperatures. Great Slave Lake is frozen six to seven months of the year. In winter, the boats remain frozen in place by ice one-to-two-metres thick. Without central gas heating, these homes can get nippy.

Some of the owners operate Bed and Breakfasts from their houseboats, giving visitors to the North the opportunity for a unique living experience.

I was curious to find out more about what these houseboats are like inside. If you are too, have a look at this short video. The video features the houseboat that is second from the top left in this image.

Having seen this I still love the idea of staying in one of these — in the summer. I think I will pass on the winter stay.

McAvoy Rock, Yellowknife

painted rock

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Walking through Old Town in Yellowknife, you can’t help but be stopped by this striking large-scale public art painted on a very large rock face.

This is McAvoy Rock and the art and sculpture are part of a cross-cultural project initiated by the Federation Franco-Tenoise.

The project began in 1999 with the creation of a marble sculpture by Yellowknife artist Sonny MacDonald, Dene carver John Sabourin, Eli Nasogaluak from Tuktoyaktuk and  Armand Vaillancourt from Montreal.

This marble sculpture is on permanent exhibit in the Great Hall of the Legislative Assembly. A bronze copy of the sculpture is pictured here at the foot of McAvoy Rock.

The first phase also saw the creation of 1,500 multi-coloured symbols painted directly onto the facade of the rock and the installation of a teepee at the summit.

It symbolizes hope for better understanding and cooperation between different peoples. Something there can never be too much of…

More wildness…

frame lake-gettylr

Frame Lake, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

You need more wildness in your life.

Max Gladstone

Take this however you want, but, really, who can argue with it?

Often nature is just what the doctor ordered…

This short spoof about prescription-strength nature has been going around and if you haven’t seen it yet, why not take a moment to watch this!

It is sure to make you smile…