The Long John Jamboree is fast approaching! Get up to date info on all the events via the new LJJ webpage, right here. Not much new this year...just HOVERCRAFT RIDES!!
I haven't been this excited to see a hovercraft since December 1985. Any North American man who was ten years old in 1985 knows exactly what I'm talking about.
Sweetnesssss! The only downer was that the cushion, which looks like it should have been rubber, and possibly inflated, turned out to be hard plastic. But that's not enough to unseat the G.I. Joe Killer W.H.A.L.E. as the best Christmas gift of all time. Fear not, parents, the Long John Jamboree version will have fewer cannons and missiles.
For those of you who don't get excited about hovercrafts, wait until you see our amazing lineup of ice carvers for the De Beers "Inspired Ice" Ice Carving Championships. It will be published in a few days on the LJJ website. At last count I believe we had fourteen teams, four of them international, possibly including a world and olympic champion.
See you at the Long John Jamboree, on the frozen surface of Great Slave Lake, March 27-29!
A few years back I wrote a post lamenting Yellowknife's lack of participation on websites such as Yelp! and TripAdvisor. I'm happy to report that since then (Oct 2010), our number of "Things to Do" on TripAdvisor has jumped from 6 to 17. That's not a complete inventory by any means, but it's a great improvement. Unfortunately I didn't record the number of restaurants back then but I recall it being very low. We're now at 57. And the reviews have been pouring in as well, thanks in part to a TripAdvisor campaign by City Hall.
I think it's safe to say that by the TripAdvisor metric, Yellowknife has arrived.
So what's next? Well, we appear to be far behind most Canadian tourist destinations in the use of private accommodations websites such as Airbnb. This is actually quite amazing given the number of condos that have been built in our city in the last few years. Many of them are held as investment properties but they are rented on a long-term basis. I'm not sure why this is the case. There is no better return on investment than nightly rentals and it has been made incredibly easy thanks to websites like Airbnb, VRBO and Homeaway.
And rental properties owners are just one category of potential Airbnb entrepreneurs. Shift workers and other frequent travellers are the other big one. Heading up to the mine for two weeks? Rent your place out while you're way, with cleaners and a property manager handling all the details you may not want to handle yourself.
If we're lagging behind on short-term condo rentals, we haven't even left the starting line when it comes to private cabins. There is no better way to experience Yellowknife and the North in general than to rent a cabin for a couple nights. But how does one go about doing this? You do have the option of flying, skiing or snowmobiling to nearby Namushka Lodge, but if tourists are looking to rent cabins closer to town, they are pretty much out of luck. There is one cabin on flipkey.com, but that's it. Or at least that's all I can find. If readers are aware of other options, please send then to me via the "comments" field below.
Clearly, if we're going to mature as a tourist destination, we have to do better than 9 listings on Airbnb, 1 on VRBO and zero on Homeway. We need to get more condos on there, and definitely many more cabins. I think the only way to start this project is to spread the word. Let's get on it!
Folks who are planning a visit to Yellowknife in the summer of 2015 are in for a special treat. Since the mid-1990s, our fine city has been without a brewpub or brewery, much to the chagrin of our swelling population of microbrew lovers. All that is about to change this summer with the opening of NWT Brewing Co.'s 85-seat brewpub at the southern edge of Old Town
Since construction began a couple months ago, it has become increasingly apparent that young entrepreneurs Fletcher and Miranda Stevens are not just dipping their toes in the water. By completely transforming and expanding the perfectly located but almost forgotten Bartle & Gibsons building, they are signalling their intent to be around for a very long time. There is no half-stepping going on here. And it is clear to everyone who knows them and who has sampled their product over the last couple years that they not only know what it takes to run a successful brewpub, they are already accomplished brewers.
There is another aspect to this brewpub project that deserves mention. This building and the business within it are going to be a catalysts for change in Old Town. Nobody wants to see Old Town lose its eclectic character or have it turn into an overdeveloped Granville-Island-esque tourist Mecca, but neither do we want to endure another 30 years of derelict buildings lining the entrance to what is obviously the epicenter of our local tourism industry. This brewpub will show nearby property owners and entrepreneurs the value of making significant investments in Old Town.
If you're into microbrew and if you're contemplating a visit to Yellowknife at any point in the next decade, be sure to follow the evolution of this business on Facebook and Twitter. It's going to be fun to watch.
A great new resource for visitors and residents alike has recently shown up on the Yellowknife media scene. For the last three years EDGE YK has existed primarily as a free bi-monthly print magazine, but last week the company launched its new website. At the moment, casual net surfers can read three articles per month for free, following which they have to sign up for a subscription. I was subscriber #1 (or #3, depending on who you talk to) and I highly recommend it. Certain components of the site, however, will remain free - like the events page. True, there are several other events pages out there, but if EDGE YK applies the same energy and quality control to this page as they do to everything else, then it will be an incredibly valuable resource for anyone thinking of visiting Yellowknife. And, given the deep ties the people behind EDGE YK have to the arts community, I expect they'll become the go-to source for events info. So far, it's looking great.
The following press release was circulated by the City of Yellowknife ealier today:
SPRING INTO GEOCACHING
YELLOWKNIFE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES | APRIL 7, 2014
Modern day treasure hunters are invited to register for an Introduction to Geocaching course offered by the City of Yellowknife on Sunday, April 27 from 12:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game using Global Positioning System (GPS) enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.
The following is a re-post of an e-mail our director of marketing just circulated to YK Chamber of Commerce members:
3 days to go! This weekend is the Long John JamboreeMarch 28-30, 2014.
First Air | DeBeers
Matrix Aviation | Det'on Cho Logistics | The Brick
LONG JOHN UPDATE!
Nobody wants to work on a friday so spend that last hour of the day wobbling through our awesome website. Details of all the events are on the DETAILS page (our super-original name for it). Register for events, plan what you’re going to chow down on, and check out all the amazing stuff we’ve got planned. Watch Friday's Yellowknifer for our full page ad! And please please have a look at our Sponsors page - a lot of amazing local businesses have been super supportive to Long John. Lets show our support back!
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There’s a few events that need you to sign up beforehand that will be well worth it!!
Flaunt Yer Skivvies Junior edition - kids long john fashion show
Terriers and Tiaras - dog fashion show
Roughneck relay - teams compete in northern style events
Arts and Crafts contest - get your best crafts out and win!
Northern Sled - grab a sled, northern it up and slide down the Slippery Slope to win
Minute to Win It - teams compete in mini challenges
We don’t charge admission so your help would be appreciated! Just go to the website and click! It's safe and secure and easier than diggin' fer change.
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WICKED MUSIC LINEUP
The Blow Yer Socks Off tent will be rockin’ all weekend long with:
Megan Nash and Mary Caroline Cox, Friday, 3 - 5
Lonely Counsel, Friday, 7 - 9
Casey Koyczan, Saturday, 3 - 4
Ryan McCord, Saturday, 4 - 5
The Committed, Saturday evening starting at 7:30
Priscilla’s Revenge, Sunday, 4 - 5
Bill Gilday, Sunday Seniors’ Tea
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pre purchase tickets Saturdays and Sundays from Great Slave Helicopters Hangar from 8am to 5pm on Old Airport Road until sunday. Tickets are $50 per Adult over 12 and $30 for children 2-12. Children under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Tickets will also be available at the Jamboree site based on tickets pre-sold. To pre-purchase tickets call (867) 873-5146(867) 873-5146 email email@example.com or visit www.gsheli.com
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CANADIAN MOSAIC CONTEST
Be a part of the largest portrait every created in Canadian history! Alberta based photographer, Tim Van Horn will be in Yellowknife attending the Long John Jamboree to photograph 2000 Yellowknifers for the Canadian Mosaic Project. In 2017, Canada will turn 150 years old and for this birthday, 54,000 portraits taken from the far off corners of the country will converge into one amazing Canadian flag mosaic defining our cultural identity. Look for Tim’s outdoor photo booth at the Jamboree!
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SIGN UP 10 or more employees for three hours each, and we’ll supply them with special volunteer arm bands complete with YOUR LOGO! Show Yellowknife your business cares!
Help the Lord and Lady contestants win big by buying $5 raffle tickets from them... find these fierce competitors selling all over town this weekend: Laura MacNeill, Tara Bromley, Jamie Pye, Andy Hutchinson, Patti Garbutt, Scott Richardson, Jennifer Bishop
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Thank you for your support… and see you this weekend!
If you have relatives in town this weekend and you want to show them a truly unique Yellowknife event, take a drive out on the Dettah Ice Road on Saturday and look for a bunch of trucks parked just of the road at about the midway point to Dettah. Volunteers for the DeBeers Inspired Ice NWT Ice Carving Championship will be harvesting the huge blocks of ice that will be used two weeks from now at the Long John Jamboree. They'll be getting underway at 8 a.m., but they will almost certainly be harvesting late into the afternoon.
Four days ago Air North announced it will be adding flights between Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Ottawa in 2014. This is fantastic news for our city. Thanks very much, Air North! Now if we could only get that runway of ours extended we would really see our airport traffic pick up. Hopefully a few influential passengers on the new Ottawa to Yellowknife leg will contemplate this as they fly.
Yesterday, Telus hosted a press conference at Stanton Territorial Hospital to announce its arrival in Yellowknife and the Northwest Territories. It will be opening its new retail location in the Center Ice Plaza in a couple weeks. This is wonderful news for Yellowknife wireless customers. To read the full press release, go here.
A huge kudos to the folks at Outcrop Communications for their new Go Mobile initiative. These guys are community leaders and they deserve special recognition for their efforts to improve our city.
Free Bicycles for Yellowknife Visitors, Courtesy of Outcrop Communications
YELLOWKNIFE, JUNE 10, 2013 - First Paris, then London and New York – and now, Yellowknife. What do these great cities all have in common? Free bicycles! True, Paris, London and New York may have slightly more extensive systems, but Yellowknife’s new Go Mobile free bicycles, provided courtesy of Outcrop Communications, the North’s largest marketing and communications firm, have a more focused audience: tourists.
The revitalization of downtown Yellowknife is a complex challenge
- one that we can look at from many angles. Over the course of the
next year I'd like to explore some of those angles. My hope is that
folks who have an interest in this topic will write in with their
thoughts and we can get a dialogue going.
The Center Square Mall Has Made Its Own Bed
Many folks look at the Center Square Mall as a victim of downtown
decline. As a former long-time tenant of the mall I believe this to be
untrue - I think the mall is largely to blame for its own decline. The
reason this misconception is important enough to write about is that the
City has recently spent over a million dollars assembling land on 50th
Street in an effort to reverse the decline of the area. As a city
councillor I'm concerned that unless the mall starts pulling its weight,
these investments of taxpayer dollars will achieve nothing. It does no
good to give yourself a blood transfusion in your left arm if your
right arm is chopped off at the shoulder.