Established in 1805 as a fur trading post of the Northwest Company, Fort Good Hope is a charter community on the banks of the Mackenzie River in the Sahtu region. Its population of 570 is mostly indigenous, both Sahtu Dene and Métis and many of its inhabitants still follow a traditional lifestyle of fishing, hunting and trapping. If you want to find out why the Sahtu is the beating heart of the North, just look to Fort Good Hope. Access is by air from Norman Wells and by ice road in the winter.
Just south of the community, the Mackenzie narrows from 2 km wide to just over 100 m as it rushes by the 40-metre limestone clifs of the Ramparts. For this reason, Fort Good Hope's traditional name is Radeyilikoe -- "Where the Rapids Are."
The real showstopper here is this 19th century Gothic Revival style church. Built between 1865 and 1885, designated a National Historic Site in 1977, Our Lady of Good Hope is the oldest permanent structure in Northern Canada. The church was designed and built by Oblate missionaries with a stunning interior of murals painted by Father Emile Petitot in the 1870s. It is an absolute must-see.