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Plaque unveiled commemorating history of ice roads in the NWT

A new plaque was unveiled at Yellowknife’s Rotary Park on Thursday commemorating the history of ice roads in the territory.

The steel plaque was unveiled by Dr. Tom Andrews, the territory’s representative on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, on behalf of Catherine McKenna, the minister responsible for Parks Canada.

Andrews was joined by Yellowknife Mayor Mark Heyck and officials from Parks Canada.

“Ice roads are incredibly important for opening up the NWT during winter time,” said Andrews.

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“It’s significant, critical infrastructure that links families, that opens up resources and assists with the Canadian and Northwest Territories economies.”

For Heyck, the location made sense because of its proximity to the Dettah ice road.

“We have this beautiful Rotary Park right next to the ice road entrance,” he said. “It’s a spot that’s frequented by tourists and Yellowknifers so we thought that would be the ideal location.”

The plaque, affixed to a large stone supplied by the city, features a brief description of the importance of ice roads in the North.

The idea was first conceived in the 1990s by Terry Foster, who was a GWNT employee and resident of Yellowknife at the time.

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The Historic Sites and Monument Board voted in 2000 to proceed with the project. Over 16 years later, the plaque is finally in place.

The Yellowknives Dene First Nations Drummers opened and closed the ceremony with sacred drumming music.

“As Dene, we’re always thankful for the things that are happening on our land,” said Chief Edward Sangris. “I think it’s something the people of the North should give notice to – the people who have worked on these roads.”

The Government of the Northwest Territories operates the following six winter ice roads:

  • Mackenzie Valley
  • Tlicho
  • Mackenzie Delta
  • Dettah
  • Nahanni Butte
  • Trout Lake


Dr. Tom Andrews.
Dr. Tom Andrews.
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