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The Department of Administration was established in October of 1971 with the amalgamation of the Department of Treasury (excepting the functions concerning estimates and forecasts) with the general administrative functions of the Department of the Territorial Secretary and the administrative functions of the Department of Personnel. The Department of Administration provided support services to other government departments, managed the Consolidated Revenue Fund, collected all Territorial revenues and performed related treasury activities.

For most of its existence the Department consisted of four divisions:

  • The Systems and Computer Services division provided data processing services and development of computer systems.
  • The Supply Services division, initially known as Materiel Management, handled purchasing, warehousing and inventory, transportation including sealift and aircraft charters, and management of the supply of petroleum products.
  • The Personnel Services division, initially known as Personnel Administration, carried on the functions which were transferred from the Department of Personnel, including staffing, pay and benefits, staff training, and administration of staff housing.
  • The Finance and Office Services division was formed in 1972 by merging the Administrative Services division, which originated in the Department of the Territorial Secretary, with the Financial Operations division, which came from the Department of Treasury. This division provided accounting and other financial services, records management, and communications services.

A reorganization of the government in 1975 resulted in the responsibilities of the Department of Administration being divided between several other departments, primarily the Department of Personnel and the Department of Finance.

Garrish, Timothy
Person · 1950-

Timothy (Tim) Garrish was born on January 4, 1950, in Oliver, British Columbia (BC). His parents were Arthur Ross Garrish (1915-1996) and Elizabeth Nancy Garrish (nee Grimsditch, 1921-1984). Garrish grew up on an orchard in Oliver, on land that his father had first purchased in 1934. As a child, he spent time doing farm work on the orchard. From age 16 onwards, he worked in fruit packinghouses and sawmills. Garrish graduated from Southern Okanagan Secondary School in Oliver in 1968, then attended the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Simon Fraser University (SFU). During his summer breaks while in university, Garrish held jobs in mining exploration in northern BC.

At age 22, Garrish earned his Commercial Pilot’s License. His first job in aviation was flying for Superior Airways/Severn Enterprises Ltd in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, starting in May 1972. Garrish then moved to Fort Simpson in September 1973 to fly for Arctic Air Ltd. In 1974, Garrish returned to Langley, BC, to earn his Flight Instructor Rating, followed by a stint as a flight instructor on weekends while back at university between January 1975 and December 1976. Garrish graduated from SFU with a Bachelor of General Studies (Economics and Geography) in December 1976.

In 1977, Garrish began doing seasonal (summer) fire suppression work. He started in 1977 working for Wolverine Air Ltd (WAL) in Fort Simpson. Garrish then spent more than four decades doing fire suppression work in the summers, including working for Avalon Aviation (1978-1980) and Conair (1983-2022).

In 1978, Garrish flew for Wolverine Air Ltd (WAL) once again. Flying for WAL in the winters became a constant in his life. In 1988, Garrish became part owner of WAL with Les Dvorak, who had started the firm in 1972. Garrish and Dvorak were co-owners of Wolverine Air until 1993, when they sold the operation to Chris Yarrow. He lived in Fort Simpson until 1995, at which point he relocated first to Canmore, Alberta then back to his home base in Oliver, BC. Garrish’s duties at Wolverine Air included both Chief Pilot and Operations Manager at various times. He continued to work for WAL as a relief Operations Manager/Pilot in Fort Simpson during winters as required until 2010.

In 1981-1982 and 1987-1988, Garrish worked with Pacific Western Airlines (PWA) flying the L-100 Hercules and the Boeing 737. He was based in Edmonton and flew for PWA’s high Arctic operations.

In 1988, Garrish became the Managing Director of Airports North Ltd in Fort Simpson. Airports North Ltd became responsible for the management and operation of the Fort Simpson Island Airport in 1988 and operated it on a ‘user pay’ model. It was one of only a few airports in Canada to be financially self-sustaining, operating without any form of government assistance.

From 1994-2010, Garrish also worked as an aviation consultant with Hemlock Aviation Services.

Tim Garrish continued to fly fire suppression in the summers for Conair until 2022 when he retired after 39 years with them. In total Garrish did 51 years of accident-free commercial flying during his career, including 44 seasons doing aerial fire suppression (16 in Yellowknife). He lives in Oliver, BC, and is currently writing his memoirs of his flying adventures.

Johansson, Sven
Person · 1924-2019

Sven Borje Johansson was born in Saffle Sweden on August 29,1924. He served in the neutral Swedish army in WWII. After the war he moved to Lappland in northern Sweden, spending 12 years working with Laplanders managing reindeer herds. During that time he married and had a daughter.

In 1962, he immigrated with his family to Canada and worked from 1963 to 1968 as the manager of the Reindeer Station, for the Canadian Reindeer Project. His wife and daughter returned to Sweden and they divorced. In December 1967 he remarried to Norma Buchanan. They built a cabin named Arctic Mountain House to serve as a big game hunting lodge, and Johansson earned a pilot's license. Between 1967 and 1972, he spent summers chartering out his boat "North Star" for work in the Beaufort area and winters trapping near Arctic Red River. He also worked for the Geological Survey of Canada to study the Polar Continental Shelf.

In 1973 the family sailed from Inuvik bound for Vancouver. A year later, delayed by weather they arrived. In 1982 Johansson outfitted the cutter Belvedere for John Bockstoce for northern expeditions. In 1988 after several attempts Sven captained the Belvedere as the first private yacht to complete the Northwest Passage from west to east.

Sven Johansson was also an accomplished choreographer and theatrical inventor. He incorporated the Discovery Dance Society in Victoria in 1989 and won several awards nationally and internationally. Sven Johansson was invested as a member of the Order of Canada in 1994 and the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002. He died in Victoria on October 17, 2019.

Corporate body

The Northwest Territories Options for Women group was formed in 1976. It was a group established to offer support and address issues pertaining to women such as single parenting, childcare and health care.

Corporate body · 1991-1993

In 1982, a plebiscite was held on the question of dividing the Northwest Territories. With the vote in favour of creating Nunavut, it became apparent that with division, two new governments would be established, one in the east and one in the west. Consequently, the Constitutional Alliance Committee, made up of the Nunavut Constitutional Forum and the Western Constitution Forum was created. The Constitutional Alliance ceased operations in 1990. However, a group of political leaders including MLAs, elected officials and ministers, leaders of the Dene Nation, the Metis Nation, the Gwich'in Regional Council and the Sahtu Regional Council, believed it was important that the Constitutional work continue.

In the spring of 1991, the Committee of Political Leaders, an informal group composed of representatives from the Government of the Northwest Territories and the major Indigenous organizations, gave the Commission for Constitutional Development a mandate to develop a comprehensive constitutional proposal for those regions of the Northwest Territories remaining after the creation of Nunavut for consideration by way of a plebiscite. The Commission was funded by the Government of the Northwest Territories through a contribution agreement.

Commission members included Jim Bourque (Chairperson), Richard Hardy, George Braden, Les Carpenter, Francois Paulette, and Bertha Allen. Four members and chairperson were appointed by the Committee of Political Leaders and one member was appointed by the Western members of the Legislative Assembly.

The Commission for Constitutional Development was Incorporated under the Societies Act in August 1991. Its objectives were: (a) To co-ordinate, manage and direct the financial affairs and organized public activities of its members in the development of a constitution for a government to be created in the western part of the Northwest Territories. (b) To initiate and co-ordinate independent research into topics related to political and constitutional development. (c) To prepare discussion papers and other background materials for dissemination to the public. (d) To solicit opinions and responses from the public and individuals on constitutional and political issues. (e) To prepare proposals for political and constitutional development and to print materials on constitutional issues for the public at large. (f) To initiate and co-ordinate public meetings and discussions on matters of political and constitutional development throughout the western part of the Northwest Territories. (g) To take such further action as the Commission deems appropriate to accomplish its objectives.

The Commission released a discussion paper “How Can We Live Together?” in the fall of 1991, to provide background information and stimulate debate. The first round of community hearings took place during November-December 1991. Funding was provided to interest groups to prepare submissions. The Commission released an interim report in February 1992, summarizing what had been heard so far and outlining ideas and recommendations. The second round of community hearings took place during March-April 1992. The Commission’s final report was released on April 24, 1992 and is known as the "Bourque Report".

No further work was undertaken and by late 1992, the Commission was in the process of wrapping up its affairs and requesting direction from the Committee of Political Leaders. Following a letter of direction from the Chairman of the Western Caucus of the Legislative Assembly, Fred Koe, the Commission made an extraordinary resolution to dissolve the Commission effective March 31, 1993. The work of developing a constitution and governmental structure for the Western part of the Northwest Territory was continued by the Committee of Political Leaders, which was renamed the Constitutional Development Steering Committee and expanded to include the original six Indigenous leaders, the fourteen western MLAs, a representative of women’s organizations, and three representatives of the Association of Western Tax Based Municipalities.

Ryan, Joan
Person · 1932-2005

Joan Ryan was born in 1932 in Montreal. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Carleton University in 1957 and a Master of Education in Psychology in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1959.

Ryan spent her early career employed as a Northern Service Officer and teacher with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. She taught in Whatì (Lac La Martre) from 1957 to 1959 and George River (northern Quebec) from 1959 to 1960. In 1964 she left government service and enrolled as a PhD student at the University of British Columbia. In 1967 she accepted a professorship at the University of Calgary in anthropology, a position she held until retirement in 1987.

Upon retirement she was affiliated with the Arctic Institute of North America (AINA) for many years, pioneering participatory action research (PAR) projects. She was involved in several NWT projects including working as a trainer, coordinator, and researcher for community development projects in Fort McPherson from 1988 to 1990. She returned to Whatì (Lac La Martre) from 1990-1993, publishing 'Doing things the right way: Dene traditional justice in Lac La Martre N.W.T.' (1995). She later worked with the Deline Uranium Team. Joan Ryan died October 29, 2005, in Calgary. She was survived by two adopted daughters.

Corporate body

The Dogrib Birchbark Canoe Project, begun in the spring of 1996, was a collaborative effort to build a birchbark canoe in the style of the traditional Tlicho (Dogrib) canoes. The Canoe Project was an extension of a larger effort to complete heritage resource inventories for two Tlicho traditional canoe routes. During the course of the trail inventories, the remains of 30 birchbark canoes were located and recorded, providing an indication of the important role the birchbark canoe played in traversing the Tlicho region. Stakeholders in the project included the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council, the Dogrib Divisional Board of Education, the elders of Gameti (Rae Lakes) and Behchoko (Rae), the Rae/Edzo Friendship Centre and the Archaeology Section of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre. The canoe's design was based on a similar birchbark canoe built by Chief Jimmy Bruneau in the late 1960's. All efforts were made to document the process involved, whether on video, audiocassette or on paper. The project involved six elders (Joe and Julie Mackenzie, Paul and Elizabeth Rabesca, Nick and Annie Black) from Behchoko (Rae). Six students from Chief Jimmy Bruneau School in Behchoko (Edzo) participated as well. Tom Andrews, Subarctic Archaeologist at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, coordinated the project from Yellowknife. Don Gardner, a professional canoe builder from Calgary assisted with the project. With the help of the "Canada-Northwest Territories Co-operation Agreement for Aboriginal and Official Languages Program" administered by Parks Canada, broadcast-quality videocassettes of the first feature-length birchbark canoe production were completed in early 1997.

Arden, D'Arcy

D'Arcy Arden was born in England, but came to Canada as a young man. He was educated at Ridley College, and trained to enter the Royal Navy; however, he was only five feet tall and was denied entry to the service. He decided to join a large survey in Labrador, where he learned to drive dogs. After a period of doing office work in Ottawa, he was sent to the Yukon (ca. 1911), to Herschel Island. In the winter of 1913-1914, Arden met John Hornby. In 1914, Arden settled at Dease Bay, although he had originally planned to travel to the arctic coast. He married Marie Adele (Arimo) Neitia and had one daughter, Catherine (Kay), and three sons (D'Arcy Jr. "Sonny", Hugh, and James) . In 1925, he was working in the Peace River area watching over the bison at Wood Buffalo National Park. Sometime in the 1930s, he returned to the Great Bear Lake area, and in 1933, he discovered and staked pitchblende claims at Hottah Lake. In 1938, he moved to Yellowknife where he and D'Arcy Jr. ("Sonny") set up a mink farming operation. He died December 26, 1959.

Addison, W.D.
Person · 1939-2017

William (Bill) David Addison was born April 27, 1939 to Peter Addison and Ottelyn (Robinson) Addison, the oldest of 3 children, in Toronto, Ontario.

His father, a forester, moved with the family to Port Arthur Ontario by the time Bill was 5 years old, where he spent his formative years. His mother Ottelyn inspired his love and knowledge of nature and his intense curiosity as she took Bill and his brothers exploring nature, canoeing, identifying flora and fauna. She in turn developed her love and knowledge of the natural world in Algonquin Park under the tutelage of her father, Mark Robinson, a Park Ranger.

The family moved to Richmond Hill in the early ‘50’s where teenage Bill developed his love of photography. He and his mother built a dark room in which they could develop their photos. Bill was particularly drawn to nature with its abundant wildlife and landscape opportunities. Like his father, he studied forestry at the University of Toronto, followed by a Masters’ degree in Fisheries in the mid 1960’s. It was at University that he met Wendy Livingston who he married in 1966.

Bill’s reading tastes and interests varied greatly, leading to him being conversant on almost any topic. The book ‘Dangerous River’ by R.M. Patterson made such a strong impression on him that he led Wendy on a honeymoon trip into the Nahanni River country where they spent a month traveling the river and its environs by foot and canoe in 1966 despite the fears of relatives that they would never return. He was always adventurous. The collection of fish for the Royal Ontario Museum and the search for lemmings helped finance the trip as did scuba diving for an engineering company. This trip was to be instrumental in many of Bill’s later endeavours.

In 1966, Bill started working with fisheries biology in Maple for ‘Lands and Forests’. Much to his delight, the unit moved north to Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay) a year later. He was happy to have returned ‘home’. An article Bill wrote about the Nahanni trip appeared in Weekend Magazine that year as well. A few years later, Bill changed careers to join Wendy as a high school teacher which provided opportunities to camp and canoe together during the summers.

Bill promoted the Nahanni River area as natural place to create a park, and when this occurred in the early 1970’s, he proposed that old-timers in the area be interviewed to provide a history of the area while they were still able to do so. Due to his enthusiasm for the project along with his extensive interests and ability to connect to people, he was a natural choice. The proposal was accepted along with a request that he carry out those interviews. During this time, two daughters, Michelle and Kirsten were born, so the family stayed home while Bill travelled on his interviewing trips. He was always teased about having missed Kirsten’s birth because he was carrying out interviews at the time. Although the scope of the project was limited due to funding constraints, knowing that the interviewees were all aging, Bill continued the interviews after funding ran out, travelling from the Maritimes to California to the Northwest Territories. This was a task that he enjoyed thoroughly, and which resulted in a lifelong passion.

Bill returned to Nahanni River in 1978 and 1979, travelling the length of the river, but also carrying out many hikes in the surrounding areas. He loved exploring Canada which led to many car and canoe camping trips both locally and throughout the country with the family once the girls were old enough for this type of travel. Memorable trips to Dawson City, Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk, the Broken Islands and the Milk River provided a greater understanding of Canada for all.

After retirement in 1998, Bill had more time available to participate in his many interests. Winter and spring months often took Bill and Wendy on camping trips in the Southern US and west, particularly during rainy years in which flowers were present in the deserts or oceans were stormy and snowpack was high. Bill was a prodigious writer, and his ‘epistles’ and digital photos of our many travels in Canada and the US along with several international extended trips were greatly anticipated by the many friends and relatives who received them. His interesting talks and slideshows were greatly appreciated and very well received by a variety of organizations and friends. Retirement also allowed time to enjoy the growing family, which by 2013 included 2 sons-in-law and 4 grandchildren.

Bill’s variety of interests led him, along with a Thunder Bay friend, Greg, to the exploration of local geological formations which they were able to identify as ejecta from the Sudbury (Ontario) meteorite impact in the early 2000’s. This discovery led to work still being carried out on this discovery by geologists and mining companies. Bill and Greg produced several publications on this discovery and for this work they were awarded the Goldich Medal from the Institute on Lake Superior Geology. This interest led Bill and Wendy to a trip to South Africa to take part in a Geology Conference on meteorite impacts as well as a geology cruise to Antarctica. A large piece of ejecta from Thunder Bay now resides in a museum in South Africa.

As geologists expanded on the ejecta studies that Bill and Greg started, Bill returned to intensive work on the Nahanni ‘Old timers’ project, transcribing interviews that hadn’t been transcribed as part of the original project. During their trip to Alaska and NWT in 2017, Bill was still searching archives and talking to people associated with the Nahanni area. Sadly, Bill was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer soon after his return from this trip and died October 25, 2017.

Smee, Horace Herbert (Mac)
Person · April 22, 1922-August 6, 1995

Horace Herbert (Mac) Smee was born on April 22, 1922 in Edmonton, Alberta. He married Joan Eilleen Smee (also of Edmonton) in Fairview, Alberta. They had two sons, Barry Smee and Martin Smee.

In 1941, he began working for the Northern Transportation Company as a chief steward and was sent to the Northwest Territories. His first job was to paint the S.S. "Mackenzie River" in Fort Smith, which he then rode up the Mackenzie River as far as the Mackenzie Delta. On his return to Fort Smith, he was transferred to the S.S. "Distributor" and made two trips on this vessel. The first trip he acted as steward to Margaret White. After his service with the Northern Transportation Company, he returned to Edmonton and joined the Air Force, which he left in 1943.

The Smees moved to Prince George, British Columbia, where Mac Smee operated two independent theatres, before moving to Vancouver in 1947. In Vancouver, Smee managed movie theatres including the Strand, Orpheum, Victoria Road Theatre, and the Regent. He served as the Secretary of the Famous Players Theatre Managers Association of BC.

Around 1954, the Smees moved back to Edmonton. Mac Smee joined the Hudson Bay Company, where he worked until retiring in 1982. Beginning in the mid-1980s, Mac, Joan and Martin Smee operated a family business, The Plate Connection, an award-winning collectors’ plate and doll supplier.

Smee died on August 6th, 1995 in Edmonton.