The Biggest Park
Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest protected area in Canada and the second-biggest on Earth. Dwarfing many sovereign countries, it guards a great swath of the boreal plains, home to the last remnants of the great bison herds that once roamed across the continent.
The Smallest Settlement
With barely four-dozen residents, the Dene settlement of Kakisa is the tiniest outpost in the Northwest Territories. It’s also one of the most charming: Imagine hand-hewn log cabins nestled in a spruce forest along a gleaming, pickerel-filled lake. Even better: Lady Evelyn Falls is just a few kilometres away.
The Greatest Span
The Mackenzie River Bridge is by far the longest bridge in the Northwest Territories, straddling the Mackenzie near Fort Providence and offering motorists dizzying views of the surrounding country. Completed just half a decade ago at a cost of $202 million, it’s also the most costly piece of infrastructure in the North.
The Oldest Town
While Dene campsites date from time immemorial, the first modern town in the North was Fort Resolution, where the Slave River pours into Great Slave Lake. Here, in 1791, fur traders with the North West Company set up shop. In keeping with those roots, the town is a National Historic Site and remains one of the North’s key Métis settlements.
The Rarest Birds
The tallest bird in North America is also one of the most endangered – but in the marshlands near Fort Smith, the elusive whooping crane has begun to rebound. Once numbering fewer than two-dozen, the world’s whooping crane population is now approaching 500, thanks in part to the protection of its summer habitat in the North. Lucky visitors may get a glimpse of the five-foot-tall white birds.