Norman Wells

Norman Wells

Tłegóhtı – “Where there is oil”

Population: 766

Tucked between alpine foothills and the big Mackenzie River, this is a historic oil town – explorer Alexander Mackenzie reported oil seeping from the riverbanks in 1789, and today pumpjacks and storage tanks abound. The town boasts several hotels and restaurants, a campground, and a compelling museum, making it a great place to explore before heading out to the Mackenzie Mountains or Canol Heritage Trail. Access is by air and, in winter, by winter road from Wrigley.

Location: 65°17’N, 126°51’W         
Elevation: 73 metres
Population: 761
July Mean High: 22.0
January Mean Low: minus-32.9
Aboriginal Name: Tlegõhtî, Slavey for “where there is oil”
Claim to Fame: First oil town in the North
Founded In: 1921, with the establishment of a small oil refinery
Historic Highlight: First oil well drilled, 1919
Historic Lowlight: Canol pipeline dismantled, 1947
Quirky Fact: Site of the Northwest Territories’ first commercial airline operations
Gateway To: Canol Heritage Trail
Best daytrip: Fossil hunting along the Mackenzie and Bosworth Creek
Notable Locals: Ted Link (oilman), Cece Hodgson-McCauley (journalist), Ethel Blondin-Andrew (former MP)
 

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