In the heart of the Northwest Territories, yesterday never ends. Here, as nowhere else in Canada, time stands still, preserving the distinctive history of the Dene people, early missionaries, pioneer bush-pilots, frontier oilmen, and more. Here are nine places to get your history fix in the Sahtu, including the North's oldest church, the largest national historic site in Canada, and the quaintest darn historical museum you'll ever see.
North America's most rigorous backpacking trail follows the route of a defunct military road and pipeline that once transected the Mackenzie Mountains. It was built in a frenzy during World War II to supply fuel from the oilfields at Norman Wells to the Allies fighting on the Pacific Front. Nowadays all the pipe has been removed, but history still abounds in the form of old barracks, rusting trucks and various other wartime relics.
Norman Wells' lovingly curated history museum showcases the multifaceted events that shaped this region. Colourful military vehicles from the building of the legendary Canol Road sit bumper-to-bumper in the yard, while inside you’ll find memorabilia from the oil-boom nearly a century ago, displays on Mackenzie river shipping and barging, and much more.
This is the spiritual heart of Délįne. It's the lakefront log cabin of the community's revered visionary, the late Ehtseo (Grandfather) Louie Ayah. Often called "the Prophet," Ayah was said to have forseen the discovery of diamonds in the Northwest Territories, the utilization of uranium from Great Bear Lake in World War II's infamous Manhattan Project, and the political rejuvination of the Sahtudene with the advent of self-government – not to mention the end of the world.