Norman Wells- Part Two

Family Visit

July 20th, 2015/ 8:25am/ 17˚C

I moved to Norman Wells, NT from Brandon, MB approximately seven years ago. I knew nothing of this town when I first ventured this way and the hardest part of leaving Manitoba was knowing that I would not be able to see my family every day anymore. I travel home to see them once a year, but this year’s visit was an extra special one. Earlier this month my mom, two sisters and niece came up to Norman Wells to spend a week with me. It was exciting to me to have my family see where I have spent the last seven years of my life. I chose to place my carving on my deck and in this particular spot because if you look closely, you will see that he is facedown (unintentionally) in my sister’s left footprint. She had sprayed OFF on herself to keep the bugs away and had her feet flat on the deck while doing so. When she moved her feet, there were two foot prints where the OFF didn’t meet the wood. I hope these prints never go away.

Trans Canada Trail


Thursday July 16th, 6:30pm/ 20˚C

The Trans Canada trail reaches all three oceans surrounding Canada. It runs through over a thousand communities, including Norman Wells. I walk my dog down this stretch of the trail often, as it runs immediately behind my house.


Trans Canada Trail

Hammer Mountain

Friday July 17th, 2015/ 2:20pm/17˚C

Hibernation Pescador decided to take a hiking adventure up in the Franklin Mountains near Norman Wells, NT, Canada. It was a bright sunny day. The weather had rained for several days prior, so Hibernation Pescador was quite happy to be heading outdoors for the day. Almost at the start of the hiking adventure to Hammer Mountain, Hibernation Pescador met a most unlikely friend to join her on the adventure – a dog named Bubbles. Bubbles was wondering around the woods, lost and lonely. Bubbles decided that he was up for a new adventure with his new buddy Hibernation Pescador. The two friends headed up the mountain. Although it took quite a bit of time and energy to get up the mountain, both saw many wonderful sites, such as muskox grazing on grass, a mommy rabbit with her three babies, and some beautiful majestic wild flowers. Once Hibernation Pescador and Bubbles reached the top of the mountain, they relaxed and took in the fantastic surroundings. Hibernation Pescador decided hiking up to Hammer Mountain had been the chance of a lifetime!

Jackfish Lake

Saturday June 20th, 2015/ 5:35pm/ 26˚C

This is the road up to Jackfish Lake. We often walk our dog up there. Jackfish Lake is a very popular place during the summer for people to swim and fish. People also tend to bring their dogs to swim. The water is always very cold so it’s a nice place to cool down.

Mackenzie Ice

Thursday June 4th, 2015/ 1:30pm/ 13˚C

I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is a town of eight hundred people located in the Mackenzie valley, surrounded by trees, mountains and lakes. It is a town that is not only filled with the friendliest people in the world, but some of the most artistic ones as well. Everyday, I have the pleasure to have new experiences and see new sights that I will never forget, all with the company of my many wonderful friends.

Early Childhood

Tuesday July 7th, 2015/ 3:01pm/ 24˚C

I am an Early Childhood Consultant in Norman Wells, Sahtu. One of my favourite parts of this job is working with Sister Celeste, an Early Childhood Educator with the longest running program. Sister integrates the local culture into the curriculum which contributes to the success and longevity of her programs. I like when she is working in the NWT at career fairs in Deline and Tulita. At the fairs she explain jobs to youth and young adults who were actually in her programs as infants and children. It’s meaningful to them because Sister knows them personally and has pride in their achievements. She can say, “Look where our Early Childhood Programs got you.” I love the career fairs because the whole community is appreciative of the Early Childhood Programs. Another thing I like is the feeling of getting something right. For example, when I attended a graduation for a day camp in Colville Lake it was great.


Thursday May 8th, 2015/ 4:24pm/ 9˚C

I never realized how much I take reading and writing for granted until I learned Braille. There is only one child in the Sahtu who is blind and to try to encourage her to read and write more, I learned to Braille. Being sighted, trying to Braille is like learning a new language. I made several mistakes until I found an English to Braille translator on-line. The mistakes didn’t disappear but there were fewer in number. I don’t know how much longer reading Braille will be necessary since now there is technology that makes any print material accessible to everyone.


Braille Converter

The Playground

Friday May 29th, 2015/ 7:25pm/ 24˚C

This playground reminds of the time I used to take my daughter there to play and the year that we moved to Norman Wells in 1998. Everyday my husband would comment that the Mackenzie Mountains were a view seen from one side of town and how the Franklin Mountains are seen from the other side of town. “A beautiful place,” he kept telling me. I couldn’t see the mountains because of the smoke from the forest fires. Three years before we moved to Norman Wells, the majority of the occupants of the town were evacuated. Forest fires are common in the Northwest Territories and in 2014 witnessed was the worst season for forest fires in over 40 years and in the summer there were 385 fires. The smoke was so thick that the sky was dark in Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories. This year’s fire season started early, and, as of May 29th, there were 35 fires. The Morel mushrooms grow in recently burnt areas and there are people camping out waiting for the mushrooms to grow. It is amazing that something like the highly sought after Morel mushrooms are a result of forest fires. There are forest fires every year and we hope for more rain to lessen their effect. Urban myth tells us that we are due for another evacuation year, which happens just about each decade.


CBC News - N.W.T. fire season forecast to start early, burn hot in May and June

CBC News - 2014 N.W.T. fire season report: What you need to know

CBC News - N.W.T. fire report: 35 fires burning across the territory

Edmonton Jounral - N.W.T. forest fires and mushrooms help startup win at NAIT competition

Fire Truck

Thursday July 16th/ 6:08pm/ 20˚C

Forest fires are a big issue in Norman Wells during the summers. This old fire truck sits outside the Norman Wells historical center, unused. Norman Wells has a modern fire station and volunteer fire crew to manage the fires within the community limits and a separate fire crew to control the forest fires. When visiting Norman Wells during the summer be prepared to see a lot of smoke and water bombers flying overhead, or, in extreme cases, be ready to evacuate. The small silver lining found within the profusion of summer fires is that the fires temper the environment and provide conditions that are suited to the growth of Morel mushrooms. These mushrooms are a “prized delicacy and a valuable commodity in high demand on world markets”. One woman earned $25, 000 in just over a month by harvesting Morels.

Northern News Service - Learning the ropes in Norman Wells


Wednesday July 22nd, 2015/ 3:30pm/ 17˚C

This photo was taken at the Norman Wells RCMP station. They keep the town of Norman Wells safe and sound. They help a lot of people and make sure nothing bad happens.

Canada Day


Wednesday July 22nd, 2015/ 2:50pm/ 17˚C

I took this photo by the police station. On Canada Day, the police marched in the parade. There was a little girl, around three to four years old, who marched in the parade with her dad. He is a policeman. They wore matching Mountie uniforms.

Spring Flowers

Friday May 22nd, 2015/ 2:35pm/ 26˚C

Spring is such a wonderful time of the year. A common practice of every elementary teacher is to plant seeds with their students. It is wonderful to see the students excitement grow while they nurture the seedlings to full grown plants. The Northwest Territories has a very short growing season. Anyone who has a garden will sprout the seeds in their house and then plant the seedlings in the garden at a later date. There are a few gardeners in Norman Wells and one man decided to try to grow potatoes commercially. He spent a few seasons working out what is the best type of potatoes that grow in Norman Wells and what fertilizer is the best for our conditions. He grew enough potatoes to supply the Sahtu region for the season. Despite government grants, the farmer has decided not to continue growing potatoes this year due to the fact it is not financially worthwhile since Nutrition North program subsidizes potatoes from Southern Canada.


Northern News Service - Growing local can't compete with Nutrition North subsidy



Friday July 17th, 2015/ 6:00pm/ 25˚C

This photo was taken on a hot summer day by a lake where raspberry picking was taking place. I chose to place the carving floating beside fireweed, one of my favourite flowers, in a beautiful lake next to the local ski cabin. This photograph shares a deep connection to my passions such as nature. The moment conjoins uniqueness and the depth of the carving floating on top of the venue, which, for me, shares freedom and peace.

In The Tent

Friday May 8th, 2015/ 3:13pm/ 11˚C

Tulita, originally known as Fort Norman, is a town at the junction of the Great Bear and Mackenzie River in the Northwest Territories. Every spring, the Heritage Fair Showcase is held in the one of the communities in the Northwest Territories. This is the first time that it was held in the Sahtu region where Tulita is located. Tents were erected for the different activities and the best part of the tents was the aroma. Spruce boughs are placed on the floor in a specific pattern to act as a cushion. We enjoyed traditional drumming, smoked fish, beading and singing in these tents with the scent of the spruce boughs totally encasing us. The elders remarked that laying the spruce boughs on the floor of the tents keeps us healthy. I believe the elders since I did feel wonderful in the tents.

Black Spruce - Picea Mariana

The Medicinal Uses of Our Land

Up Here - What I Learned at Bush U


Heritage Fairs



Friday July 17th, 2015/ 2:34pm/ 20˚C

At this moment there is currently a beading class in session here at the museum.

Addendum on September 20: The moccasins were crafted by Julie Lennie from Deline (a small Sahtu community close to Norman Wells). This pair of moccasins have been sold but she sells some of her crafts through the museum.


Great Bear Traditional Native Crafts


Thursday July 16th, 2015/ 6:11pm/ 20˚C

There are a few tipis around Norman Wells. Traditionally they were made from caribou hide and could shelter up to ten people. Today, they are usually made from canvas.


Living in a Tipi

Explore canada's Arctic

Thursday July 16th/ 5:45/ 18˚C

I found a flower garden while Exploring Canada’s Arctic in Norman Wells, NT. In that flower garden was an old NWT license plate that is unique from others because it’s shaped like a polar bear. The newer license plates still have the polar bear shape but they now have the new NWT logo on them, which is “Spectacular”.

Bears at the Dump


Monday July 20th, 2015/ 10:51pm/ 20˚C

Every summer the bears emerge from hibernation and make their way into town so that they can feast on whatever it is they can find in the local garbage dump. As highly dangerous as it is to be around these animals, the local residents are not stopped from driving up to watch them.

Home Base

Monday July 20th, 2015/ 11:53pm/ 20˚C

This picture was taken on the home plate at the ball diamond. Softball is a popular sport in the summer months. There are at least two ball tournaments each summer that bring teams from other communities to come play as well. You can generally find a game being played on either Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. It’s always a fun time watching softball.


Monday July 20th, 2015/ 11:56pm/ 20˚C

This beautiful building is where you were once able to get something to drink or eat while watching ball. Only open during ball tournaments, it hasn’t been in use for a while. There’s one window in the front for snacks and pop, and then one in the back for those indulging in alcoholic beverages. The sign is from when the Black Bear Jamboree was an annual event that involved many activities, including a softball tournament. The names listed on the sign are the teams that used to participate annually.



Thursday July 16th, 2015/ 6:12pm/ 20˚C

The golf course in Norman Wells, Ptarmigan Ridge Golf Course is very modest and quaint. There are only four holes, but that doesn’t stifle the enthusiasm of the golfers here. They show up to play, even in the pouring rain. The surrounding scenery is fantastic and unique. A strong golfer could easily hit a drive into the Mackenzie River. It is less than 300 meters away.

Shale Pit


Friday July 17th, 2015/ 6:30pm/ 25˚C

When I was looking for rocks in the shale pit, I found a rock formation that sunk down into the earth. The contrast between the vibrant shale and the carving helped create one of the most unique photos I have ever taken. This photo is so Norman Wells because of the outstanding colours and history this shale pit has to offer.



Wednesday July 22nd, 2015/ 3:00pm/ 17˚C

I have lived in Norman Wells all my life. I love it here. The people in this little town are nice and friendly. Everywhere you look you will find happy faces. It might get a little crazy here but I call it home.