Perched on the shores of Yellowknife’s Frame Lake, the territorial assembly building is the centre of political power for the Northwest Territories.
Inside this architectural gem, members from each of the territory’s 19 ridings serve in a unique consensus government that is studied and admired the world over. It is essentially a parliament led by a permanent minority; members elect a premier, seven Cabinet ministers and a Speaker from their own ranks. It has become a landmark and a symbol of a stable, responsible government that is close to the people it serves (the average riding has just over 2,300 residents).
As one of Canada’s youngest legislatures, the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories changed frequently in its early years. The government of the NWT was based in Ottawa for decades before officially moving to Yellowknife in 1967. Members were added and the Assembly’s responsibilities grew, but it was without a permanent home until 1993 when the current building was completed. The Legislative Assembling building’s circular shape represents the NWT’s consensus style of governing, and the materials used in its architecture are meant to complement the natural landscape around it.
Take a guided tour is highly recommended and you’ll get a peek at the stately assembly chamber and its polar bear hide; the diamond-tipped territorial mace; artworks by Group of Seven master A.Y. Jackson; intricate, ornate carvings by Northern artists; plus exhibits capturing the dynamic political evolution of the Northwest Territories. The great hall is open to the public and regularly used for consents, events, and even weddings.
Address: 4517 – 48th Street, Yellowknife NT X1A 2L9
Phone: (867) 669-2200