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Region : Canada : Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories is a territory of Canada. With a population of 41,462 in 2011 and an estimated population of 43,537 in 2013, the Northwest Territories is the most populous territory in Northern Canada.


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Hard, powerful, soft, beautiful: Yk artist wins GG’s Award

“Wide and deep in content.” The power and the beauty of Yellowknife artist Germaine Arnaktauyok has been recognized at the highest level. Arnaktauyok is the recipient of a 2021 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts and an associated $25,000 prize. The Canada Council for the Arts announced eight recipients of the award on […] The post Hard, powerful, soft, beautiful: Yk artist wins GG’s Award appeared first on NNSL...

“Wide and deep in content.”

The power and the beauty of Yellowknife artist Germaine Arnaktauyok has been recognized at the highest level.

Arnaktauyok is the recipient of a 2021 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts and an associated $25,000 prize.

The Canada Council for the Arts announced eight recipients of the award on Tuesday, all chosen for their exceptional careers and their remarkable contribution to the visual and media arts and fine crafts.

Artwork by Germaine Arnaktauyok. image courtesy of the Canada Council for the Arts

“I was always drawing since I was little and I never questioned it and just kept going,” Arnaktauyok said in her video. “I’m 74 years old and I’m still at it.”

Born near Iglulik and now a resident of Yellowknife, much of her work depicts Inuit legends in pen ink drawings.

“I try to put myself in the story, you know, how they think, how they breathe, and I make them alive, I guess, in my mind,” said Arnaktauyok.

“Germaine Arnaktauyok has charted her own course and created her own unique visual language, and her lifelong interest in her own unique Inuit culture has been an inspiration to many younger artists,” stated Darlene Coward Wight, curator of Inuit art at The Winnipeg Art Gallery, who nominated Arnaktauyok.

‘Wide and deep in content’

Though dates have yet to be confirmed, the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre will be displaying Arnaktauyok’s drawings in a show in 2022.

Sarah Swan, Yellowknife art curator, said Arnaktauyok’s work is “wide and deep in content” as well as being varied in medium and themes throughout her career.

Swan describes her art as atmospheric, moody, evocative, mystical and striking. “When you look at it, it hits you hard and is quite powerful as well as being soft and beautiful at the same time.”

She said the Northern artist’s Governor General award will inspire younger generations of Inuit artists, but also makes even the NWT’s lack of artistic resources.

“The NWT is really terrible at appreciating artists,” Swan said, pointing to the lack of territorial art galleries. “We have almost zero infrastructure and almost zero educational opportunities for artists here.” Despite that, she said the talented cohort of Yellowknife artists have thrived.

“I’m hoping having a Governor General award winning artist living here in Yellowknife will draw the territory’s attention to the fact that we have a huge gaping hole here,” she said.

~ with files from Derek Neary

The post Hard, powerful, soft, beautiful: Yk artist wins GG’s Award appeared first on NNSL MEDIA.


Answering the Call: Yellowknife United Church’s new reverend feeling more at home

It has been a life-changing experience for retired Rev. Dr. Linda Marcotte and her husband Ari Snyder in their move north to head the Yellowknife United Church.  In October 2018, Peter Chynoweth, who had been minister for 13 years, gave his last sermon and stepped down. For over a year and a half, the church […] The post Answering the Call: Yellowknife United Church’s new reverend feeling more at home appeared first on NNSL...

It has been a life-changing experience for retired Rev. Dr. Linda Marcotte and her husband Ari Snyder in their move north to head the Yellowknife United Church

In October 2018, Peter Chynoweth, who had been minister for 13 years, gave his last sermon and stepped down. For over a year and a half, the church had been looking for someone full-time to fill the spot.  

The couple, both over 70, made the journey to the NWT last August with their dog Bono from Saint John, N.B. Over the past few months, they have grown accustomed to their surroundings. 

Rev. Linda Marcotte, left, and partner Ari Snyder, sit at their 65-year-old baby grand piano with their dog Bono in Yellowknife this week.
Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo

“I was just really, really surprised when they invited me to come up in September of last year,” Marcotte  said. “First of all, we had to figure out what to do in Saint John with our house, and our car wasn’t good. We also had the dog and our 65-year old piano to move.”

In March 2020, churches in Yellowknife shut down due to Covid-19. The United Church didn’t reopen until Sept. 6. 

The pandemic has been especially hard on places of worship, given their dependency on large groups, musical expression and other types of physical contact. With dwindling numbers, Marcotte admitted she’s worried about the long-term impacts among church-goers and the extent to which people will ever come back.  

Rev. Linda Marcotte and partner Ari Snyder have discovered a newfound joy in life, having married in their later years. Here the two are pictured at their former Grace United Church in Saint John, N.B.
photo courtesy of Linda Marcotte

Currently there are about 100 people in the Yellowknife congregation, but active members who attend services are somewhere between 25 and 30, she said.

There can also be further challenges with attendance as some members like to use their weekends to go to their cabins because people deeply respect being on the land.

The church has held Zoom services during the pandemic to accommodate members.

“It’s very difficult to have a congregation that feels safe enough to come into crowds and we have a limitation of 50 people in the auditorium,” Marcotte said. 

“Our concern, when I speak with my colleagues, is what’s going to happen after Covid? People have gotten out of the habit of going to church. All denominations are in decline anyway, but the question is what’s going to happen if we ever get back to what they call normal.”

In some ways this has led to a tighter bond between herself and other church leaders in the community. She’s joined with the Yellowknife Ministerial Association, which comprises all church leaders in the city, who meet monthly.

As the newest member, she will be responsible for presiding over the Easter Sunday sunrise service on Pilot’s Monument.

In other ways, however, people have grown more dependent on the church. 

Marcotte and Snyder said they were both impressed with attendance of people who, due to the inability to travel during the pandemic, came to rely on the church over the Christmas holidays. This was especially true of the annual Comfort Service held on Dec. 17, headed by the Church Laity.

The United Church often holds these services – in other denominations known as Blue Christmas – during the holiday season to bring comfort to families grieving lost loved ones.

“Normally, it’s attended by people who have had someone die … but because of Covid, a lot of people were grieving in not being able to see their children or their grandchildren in the south,” said Marcotte. “It was a beautiful service.”

In addtion, the Yellowknife United Church has been characterized as a denomination that advocates for social justice, openly welcoming people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Christian and Jewish unity 

Marcotte and Snyder express newfound happiness in their later years since meeting in 2015. He was a widower and resided in the Eastern Townships of Quebec while she had been without a partner for 38 years. 

Both had experienced the loss of close family members and they came together in the amid grief. They ended up getting married twice: once under Jewish religious law and once in an interfaith marriage. They both continue to share in each other’s traditions, which makes weekends extra special, they say. 

“Ari is Jewish and, of course, I’m a Christian minister, so that has brought a lot of smiles to people up here,” Marcotte said. “And we do so celebrate the sabbath every Friday night and Saturday. Our sabbath starts at sunset on Friday and it ends at sunset on Sunday, so we’re really doing the whole weekend, and we have a good time doing that.”

Ari Snyder, Rev. Linda Marcotte’s partner, plays on the couple’s 65-year-old baby grand piano.
photo courtesy of Linda Marcotte

Marcotte said her main concern in making such a life-altering move north was in how Snyder would adjust.

“But I’ve connected like with a home run, it was just fantastic,” Snyder said.

Being associated with the arts and music scene in Montreal as a concert pianist and appearing in theatre and film, he has made new connections in the community.

On the Sunday following Christmas, he held a concert at the church while mindful of Covid public health restrictions.

“We’re allowed to hum and we have to wear a mask right, and we’re allowed to have a single person at a time to sing,” Snyder said. “I did piano versions of a bunch of carols and hymns, and Christmas-themed and winter-themed material.”

He also played during a Songs to Make You Swoon concert with soprano Susan Shantora on Feb. 7. And he’s set to perform on keyboards for the upcoming Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons: A Northern Reflection by the Borderless Art Movement (BAM), conducted by Joe Pamplin.

He has also been providing mentor services to the Yellowknife Music Festival.

The post Answering the Call: Yellowknife United Church’s new reverend feeling more at home appeared first on NNSL MEDIA.


BACK TO BUSINESS: Prosperous Lake Soap Co. supplies means of self-care through pandemic

Former government director turned Yellowknife entrepreneur Jackie Hall has been helping Yellowknifers stay squeaky clean for almost two years through Prosperous Lake Soap Co.  Now retired, Hall launched her company in May 2019 while she was still working for the GNWT Department of Infrastructure.  Side projects that tap into her creativity have been a part […] The post BACK TO BUSINESS: Prosperous Lake Soap Co. supplies means of self-care through pandemic appeared first on NNSL...

Former government director turned Yellowknife entrepreneur Jackie Hall has been helping Yellowknifers stay squeaky clean for almost two years through Prosperous Lake Soap Co

Now retired, Hall launched her company in May 2019 while she was still working for the GNWT Department of Infrastructure. 

Side projects that tap into her creativity have been a part of Hall’s life for as long as she can remember.

“I’m always doing something weird,” she said. 

Jackie Hall has always enjoyed creative projects. With Prosperous Lake Soap Co., she turned her hobby into a thriving business. photo courtesy of Jackie Hall.

The Prosperous Lake soaps and self-care products were born out of a soap-making book Hall dabbled in while she was home with her son in his younger years. 

She recalls gifting the soap to friends and family “who were all very kind,” though Hall said her soaps were initially terrible. “They looked like dog turds. Not at all like the pictures in the book.”

That was almost two decades ago. 

Hall eventually lost interest and turned her attention to other creative hobbies until a friend pulled out a soap of Hall’s that she had kept all these years. 

“It reminded me how much I really liked that so I made another effort,” she said. 

She suspected she would sell a handful of products, enough to cover the costs of materials, but never expected to turn her hobby into a proper business. Now, she admits she can’t keep up with demand. 

Through chat rooms, community groups, consulting chemists and trial and error, Hall learned to make soaps fly off of Yellowknife shelves. photo courtesy of Jackie Hall.

Things were going well before the pandemic, but since March, Hall said business has taken off. 

With the stress of the Covid era, people are looking to gift loved ones products that promote self-care, she said, and often that leads them to Prosperous Lake. 

Though Hall admits she sometimes feels overwhelmed by the appetite for her products, producing them “is a joy,” she said.

As a team of one, Hall creates her own soaps, candles, shampoo and conditioner bars as well as the related packaging and marketing materials. All eco-friendly, pure, natural ingredients. If there is plastic in packages, she stresses that it’s been recycled.

When possible, she looks to source her materials close to home. It’s not always feasible to buy Yellowknife-based ingredients in the quantities she requires but Hall said all her supplies are purchased from Canadian companies.  

Prosperous Lake Soaps are made of Canadian-sourced natural oils, butters and essential oils for scent. Owner Jackie Hall said the products help with the dryness of an NWT winter. photo courtesy of Jackie Hall.

Once the ingredients arrive, making the soaps only takes a couple of hours. It’s the curing that takes weeks. Since Prosperous Lake Co. only uses natural oils and butters, the soaps tend to be softer than other generic bars. The curing process, which for Prosperous Lake soaps takes about a month, allows the ingredients to sit and harden.

While the formula for soap-making remains primarily the same between products, Hall is always experimenting with new ingredients, new scents and essential oils to freshen up her repertoire. 

She explained that her excitement for new things can sometimes pose a challenge when one product sells out and she’s already on to the next with a new set of inventory. 

“One of my problems is that I can’t stop coming up with things,” she said. “I want to try this and try that and always want to make stuff.”

“In some cases, I have to terminate certain products and I have to try to limit myself and keep myself in check,” she said.  

Since its inception, Prosperous Lake Soap Co. has partnered with Barren Ground Coffee, the Woodyard Brewhouse, Janet Pacey and other Yellowknife businesses. 

In a collaboration with Barren Ground Coffee, Jackie Hall created espresso candles. photo courtesy of Jackie Hall.

Prosperous Lake products can be bought at Mermaid & Moon Boutique, the Gallery of the Midnight Sun, Flowers North as well as online through the company’s website. 

Hall said she couldn’t have imagined that her soap-making hobby would have grown into the business it is today. 

“Yellowknife is so good to small, local business,” she said. “People are always willing to give you a chance.”

“I want to emphasize how appreciative I am to be in a small community. Yellowknife is so gracious.”

The post BACK TO BUSINESS: Prosperous Lake Soap Co. supplies means of self-care through pandemic appeared first on NNSL MEDIA.


Workshop to teach skills for healthy romantic relationships

Over the years, there have been workshops in Hay River on a vast array of topics. A new one is being offered on Feb. 25 with a workshop entitled Skills for Healthy Romantic Relationships. Tzu-Hsuan Lin, a mental health and addictions counsellor and also an art therapist with Community Counselling Services, says it will deal […] The post Workshop to teach skills for healthy romantic relationships appeared first on NNSL...

Over the years, there have been workshops in Hay River on a vast array of topics.

Tzu-Hsuan Lin, a mental health and addictions counsellor and also an art therapist with Community Counselling Services, will lead a workshop called Skills for Healthy Romantic Relationships, which is set for Feb. 25. February 2021 Hay River Photo courtesy of Hay River Health and Social Services Authority

A new one is being offered on Feb. 25 with a workshop entitled Skills for Healthy Romantic Relationships.

Tzu-Hsuan Lin, a mental health and addictions counsellor and also an art therapist with Community Counselling Services, says it will deal with what a healthy relationship looks like.

“We are going to have a video and do an art activity on what your ideal relationship looks like in this workshop, and have a discussion,” she said.

Lin recognizes that a workshop on romantic relationships is unusual for Hay River.

However, she said that Community Counselling Services does couple’s counselling.

“We don’t want things to wait until you’re too late to work on it,” she said. “We want to start by letting people know about how to select the right partner before we choose maybe not an ideal one and commit to it right away.”

While some people might think that romantic relationships would be difficult to analyze, Lin said there is a lot of evidence-based research on the topic.

In fact, she said three skills are the most important for successful romantic relationships.

“One is about insight, which means the awareness we have on how to be honest with yourself and knowing what’s right for you,” she said.

Lin added that the second important skill is mutuality.

“It means we have to know both people have their needs, and both needs matter, and how do we work to meet these needs,” she said.

The third most important skill is called emotion regulation.

“It’s about regulating your feelings in response to what happens in a relationship, not just lashing out,” said Lin. “That sounds easy, but it’s not easy. Usually, we just kind of fight and let our emotions out in maybe not a good way in a relationship.”

The counsellor also said that sometimes people jump into romantic relationships right away when it might be a better idea to slow down.

“You notice that you have these strong feelings, but it takes time to know another person,” she said.

The workshop will begin with a 15-minute video called Skills for Healthy Romantic Relationships by Dr. Joanne Davila, an expert in the field and a professor of psychology in the United States.

Following the video, there will be a discussion and creation of art for participants to express what they have learned.

The workshop is limited to five people aged 16 and up because of Covid-19 protocols. As of late last week, three people had signed up.

Lin said another workshop on romantic relationships might be held depending on the demand.

She will be facilitating the Feb. 25 workshop along with wellness worker Angela Jones.

One of the reasons the workshop is being held in February is the month also features Valentine’s Day.

The post Workshop to teach skills for healthy romantic relationships appeared first on NNSL MEDIA.


Weekend Yellowknifer – Feb. 26 Edition

Subscribers click here to download this week’s issue The post Weekend Yellowknifer – Feb. 26 Edition appeared first on NNSL MEDIA.

Subscribers click here to download this week’s issue

The post Weekend Yellowknifer – Feb. 26 Edition appeared first on NNSL MEDIA.


GNWT ponies up new lockdown relief fund for tourism

NWT tourism operators who have spent the Covid-19 support offered under federal programs for the North can apply to the GNWT for renewed funding. Eligible operators who received non-repayable grants from the Northern Business Relief Fund (NBRF) and Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) will be able to claim up to $50,000 for expenses which […] The post GNWT ponies up new lockdown relief fund for tourism appeared first on NNSL...

Eligible tourism operators in the NWT can apply to the GNWT for up to $50,000 in fixed expenses. photo courtesy of Dan Wong

NWT tourism operators who have spent the Covid-19 support offered under federal programs for the North can apply to the GNWT for renewed funding.

Eligible operators who received non-repayable grants from the Northern Business Relief Fund (NBRF) and Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) will be able to claim up to $50,000 for expenses which can include rent/mortgage, utilities, insurance and subscriptions, such as financial or booking systems.

Operators can apply to the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) to cover those fixed costs set out under the NBRF, ITI said in a news release Thursday.

This is a one-time pot of funding is aimed at helping companies through to April 1, 2021 when new government supports are expected to become available.

Expenses already covered by federal payments under the NBRF and the RRRF will not be eligible.

“The travel, tourism and accommodations sectors have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic,” said ITI Minister Caroline Wawzonek. “In the absence of travellers or visitors to our territory, these ‘sectors at risk’ have relied heavily on federal relief packages. As these funds are exhausted, we are stepping up our support of NWT tourism operators in the short term, until additional relief and recovery efforts can be finalized and put in place.”

Eligible operators should contact their regional ITI tourism development officer.

The post GNWT ponies up new lockdown relief fund for tourism appeared first on NNSL MEDIA.


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