Yellowknife Photo Service was opened in July 1947 by Henry Busse. Busse immigrated to Canada in 1927. He came north and worked at Eldorado Mining and Refining at Great Bear Lake in the mid 1940s after having been interned. At Eldorado he joined the photography club, improving the skills he gained earlier running a darkroom in Edmonton. In 1947, Busse moved to Yellowknife where he opened Yellowknife's first commercial photography business. An award-winning photographer, Busse processed film and photographs, shot portraits, and provided event photography. The business was initially housed in the TXD building, and moved to the News of the North building.
Gerhard “Gerry” Reimann arrived in Canada in 1955. Reimann always had an interest in photography, and gained experience during his previous work with the West Berlin Police. While waiting for his plane from Yellowknife to take him to Discovery Mine, he found Busse’s shop by the Wildcat Cafe and the two became friends.
Reimann and Busse became business partners in 1958. They relocated the store up the hill in the New Town on 51st St. Their partnership lasted until September 1962, when Busse died on assignment in the Nahanni region. Reimann then ran the business as sole proprietor. In December 1962, Reimann moved the store to the new W.H. Bromley building on Franklin Avenue and renamed it Reimann Studios. Under Reimann’s ownership, the studio shot portrait photography, as well as commercial and event photography. On the retail side, the business sold cameras, film, and other photographic equipment. The name changed to Yellowknife Photo Centre in 1966, and then Yellowknife Photo Centre Ltd in 1968.
By 1968, the business expanded into the building’s basement, which then housed the store’s developing lab and studio. Yellowknife was not large enough to make continued photo processing profitable, so by 1976, all photo developing was outsourced to Winnipeg.
Bob Wilson began working at Yellowknife Photo Centre Ltd. in 1974, and stayed there part-time for three years. He had moved to Yellowknife in 1970 as a teenager. Wilson obtained his degree in Photographic Arts from Ryerson in 1979, and after graduation, he became a photographer for the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT). He worked for the GNWT for four years, then worked as a freelance photographer for two years.
In 1983, Reimann wished to retire and approached Wilson about buying the store. Under Wilson’s ownership, the store initially focused mainly on retail sales of cameras, accessories, and other photographic equipment. As with previous owners, Wilson also shot portrait and commercial photography, as well as event photography.
The store opened up a photo developing lab on Range Lake Rd in 1992, which was primarily focused on photo finishing services, leaving the main store on Franklin to serve as the retail front for the business. Wilson aligned the store with the Foto Source Corporation around 1994, changing the store’s name to Yellowknife Foto Source.
The Range Lake Rd lab closed in 1999, which was at the time located in Extra Foods. Wilson expanded the store to accommodate the lab and its equipment, so that the store now contained a photo development lab, a studio, and retail space. By January 2003, the store had equipment for processing and developing digital photography, which was a first for Yellowknife and served to further expand the store’s operations. It continued to provide commercial and personal photography, photo finishing, and retail sales, but as time continued, camera sales declined and the store shifted towards studio photography and photo development. Around 2005, the store’s name became Foto Source Yellowknife.
By May 2008, the store moved to 50th Street, in the former Right Spot building. With this move, Wilson stopped selling cameras and photographic equipment, and stopped his repair service for customers. He focused on portraiture, commercial large-scale printing, and passport photography. Around the same time, the name changed again to YK Foto. It continued as a photography studio briefly until Wilson closed it around 2008-2009. Wilson was a photographer for Canarctic Graphics for about two years after that.
The Yellowknife Toastmistress Club was established in 1968 as a local club (charter No. 1798) in Council 6, Glacier Region of the International Toastmistress Club (ITC). Founder of the Club, Jane McAskill, had previously been a member of the Canadian Summit and Edmonton Toastmistress Clubs and served as the Club’s first President until elections were held in December 1968.
ITC’s objectives, adopted by the local club, included improving members through study, practice in conversation, speech, group leadership, and analytical thinking; fostering a better appreciation of public speaking; and stimulating community service and responsible citizenship. The Club’s elected officers included a President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Club Representative, who each held office for a term of six months.
Executive members from 1968 to 1972 included: Margaret Robinson, Jean Hodgkinson, Viama Pohlak, Ruth Smith, Marvel Barton, Judy Zimmerman, Joy Pearson, Didi Woolgar, Trudy Verhappen, Goldie Lowell, Ann deWeerdt, Pat Nikiforow, Christel Kwaterowsky, Cathie Monroe, Jackie Heileson, Ann Campbell, Geneva Richardson, Jo MacQuarrie, Adina Penner, Elaine Kasteel, Margot Koepke, Betty Thomas, Christine Legagneur, and Catherine Lovell.
Until 1972, Club met on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at the Yellowknife Public School. Besides their regular meetings, the Club also hosted occasional dinner meetings, speech contents for their members, and workshops and seminars. During the NWT Centennial Year, they also sponsored trophies for the winners of Centennial Speech Contests at Yellowknife Public School and St. Patrick High School.
By the end of 1973, several members had left the community and the club appears to have almost entirely ceased operations. According to a former member, the remaining members were folded into the local Toastmasters Club.
The discovery of gold on the shores of Yellowknife Bay in 1934 spurred a rush of prospectors in the area, and by 1936, Yellowknife was a boomtown. Town sites were established on the Con, Negus and Giant mine sites claims during 1936 and 1937, but Latham Island was the central hub of commerce and support services for prospectors and miners. In 1939, Yellowknife had a population of approximately 1,000 people. At this time, affairs were managed remotely by federal government bodies or the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories supported by a southern-based Territorial Council. The growing amount of activity and congestion in Yellowknife due to the rise of industry created a need for a local government outlet. Under the Northwest Territories Act, the Commissioner was empowered to establish municipal councils in the territories. It was decided that the Territorial Council would exercise their authority to form a municipal government with the power to tax and legislate local by-laws. The Administrative District of Yellowknife was created and the Local Trustee Board was established with two elected members and three appointed members selected by the Northwest Territories Commissioner.
The first election was held on December 5th, 1939. At that time Negus Mine Superintendent John “Jock” McNiven and Consolidated Mine District Manager George Carter were elected to the Trustee Board. The Commissioner of the Northwest Territories appointed businessmen Keith Miller and Otto Thibert. Lawyer John E. Gibben was appointed as the Chairperson of the board. The first meeting of the newly formed Trustee Board took place on January 17th, 1940. At that meeting, Albert F. Totzke was appointed as the Secretary-Treasurer.
The composition of the trustee board was changed in June of 1945, when the Local Trustee Board was expanded to nine members consisting of four appointed members, including a chairman, and three elected members. On April 15th, 1947, an amendment was passed to regulate elections and give further powers to the board. On October 22nd, 1947, a second amendment altered the composition of the board. The amendment provided that five out of nine Trustee Board members were to be elected. In 1950, a further amendment reduced the number of appointed members to three and increased the number of elected members to six.
In 1951 the general Ordinance for Local Administrative Districts was replaced by a Yellowknife Local Administrative District Ordinance. The new ordinance reduced the Trustee Board members to eight, of whom five were to be elected and three appointed by the Commissioner. The District of Yellowknife was re-defined as encompassing all the land within a fifteen mile radius of lot 1, block 2.
In June 1953, the Territorial Council passed a Municipal District Ordinance. At this time, the Yellowknife Administrative District became the Municipal District of Yellowknife, and the local trustee board gave way to the Municipal Council of Yellowknife. Under the Yellowknife Ordinance, the Municipal Council membership was to include eight elected members and one Mayor. Each of these officials were to be elected for two year terms. On January 1st, 1954, John “Jock” McNiven was officially instated as the first Mayor of the Municipal District of Yellowknife.
On September 18th, 1967, the Northwest Territories adopted the recommendations of the Carrothers Commission, and Yellowknife became the official capital city. The transfer of additional government powers from the federal administrative division in Ottawa to the Municipal District of Yellowknife fuelled further municipal growth.
The idea to establish a museum for the preservation of natural and historical materials of the Northwest Territories was originally conceived at a meeting of the Home and School Association of Yellowknife in 1952. After making use of space in Yellowknife school halls and assembly rooms, it became apparent that there was interest and material enough to warrant a separate museum building. The Yellowknife Museum Society was incorporated on July 14, 1958 as a vehicle to coordinate fund raising for a permanent museum facility in Yellowknife. The official functions of the society were: 1) To preserve and exhibit specimens of flora and fauna and objects having archaeological interest; 2) To preserve and mark buildings, structures and sites having historic significance; and 3) To carry on such other functions as are usual to a museum. In 1960, construction began on the Museum of the North; it opened in 1963 and was operated by the Yellowknife Museum Society. In November 1970, the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories and the Yellowknife Museum Society signed an agreement to transfer the assets of the Yellowknife Museum Society to the Government of the Northwest Territories; at this time, the Government of the Northwest Territories assumed operations for the Museum of the North.
In preparation for the 50th anniversary celebrations of Yellowknife that took place in 1984, Susan Jackson, the coordinator of the Yellowknife Local History Project, began gathering information about the community. Although Jackson established the project in 1983, it was never incorporated as a society. Instead, with the assistance of Yellowknife City Hall, Jackson contacted many former residents of Yellowknife requesting photographs, diaries, manuscripts and newspapers relating to the city. Jackson, who lived in Yellowknife between 1965 and 1986, moved to Sechelt, British Columbia in 1986 to arrange the materials gathered as part of this project. She compiled the book "Yellowknife, N.W.T.: An Illustrated History, Yellowknife History Series Vol. I" It was published in Sechelt, B.C. by Nor'West Publishing in 1990.
The Yellowknife Huskies were a hockey team formed in 1975 to play hockey in the North Peace Hockey League (NPHL). It was hoped that the team's involvement in the NPHL would evolve into a varied program of hockey and result in the construction of a new Capital Recreation and Leisure Centre. The Huskies played one season (1975-1976) in the NPHL during which time they organized a series of fund raising efforts to finance their participation in the NPHL. In November of 1976, the Directors of the Yellowknife Huskies voted to suspend operations due to a lack of support.
Yellowknife Health and Social Services Authority (YHSSA) was created in 1997, partially from the disbandment of the Mackenzie Regional Health Services. The scope of the authority has expanded since its creation and includes responsibility for the delivery of services to Dettah, Fort Resolution, Lutsel K'e, Ndilo and Yellowknife. YHSSA is responsible for the deilvery of a full range of health and social services programs. It works cooperatively with the other regional health authorities across the Northwest Territories. It maintains a close working relationship with Stanton Territorial Health Authority and the Dept. of Health and Social Services.
The operations of the YHSSA are overseen by a Board of Directors. Members of the Board are appointed by the Minister of Health and Social Services. The day-to-day operations are managed by a Chief Executive Officer.
In August 2016 health and social services authorities across the territory were unified under the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSS), and the YHSSA was renamed the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority, Yellowknife Region (NTHSSA-YK).
The Yellowknife Film Society is a member of the Canadian Federation of Film Societies, which represents more than 100 film societies across Canada. It was the first film society in the Northwest Territories and was incorporated under the NWT Societies Act in 1973. A volunteer executive chooses and schedules films in the fall to be shown throughout the winter to members and guests.
In 1939, the first provisional school board in Yellowknife was elected. On October 1, 1939, District No. 1 was formally established under Section 33 of the School Ordinance, Northwest Territories. In 1977, Section 24 of the Education Act allowed for the continuing operation of the Yellowknife Education District, which was to include Yellowknife Education District No., 1 and the Separate School District No. 2.
In 1947, a group of business owners joined and formed an association that was incorporated with the territorial government as the Yellowknife Board of Trade. The main purpose of the Board of Trade was to lobby various levels of government to ensure that laws governing businesses locally, regionally, territorially and nationally were fair and equitable. Throughout the years, the association grew to become more involved with the community in general. An excerpt from its original constitution states that the Board was organized "for the purpose of advancing the commercial, mining, industrial and civic interests of the town of Yellowknife and vicinity. This Board of Trade in its activities shall be non-partisan, non-sectional and non-sectarian and shall take no part or lend its influence to the election of any candidate for federal, provincial, county or municipal office. The membership of the Board of Trade shall be composed of men of good standing interested in commercial, mining, industrial and civic progress of the community served by this organization."
In an effort to embrace all sectors of business, the Board of Trade became the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce in 1973. The Chamber is a non-profit, voluntary organization made up of businesses, organizations and individuals who are dedicated to the prosperity of Yellowknife. The Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce counts among its members many businesses in Yellowknife, ranging from home offices and independent professionals to Yellowknife's largest corporations, including mines and major transportation companies. The mission of the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce is to provide leadership to the business community and to promote growth and diversification of trade and commerce. This in turn will support the economic, civic and social welfare of Yellowknife. The Chamber endeavors to improve economic development through the provision of services and support to members. It is the goal of the Chamber to promote beneficial commerce within Yellowknife and between businesses in Yellowknife and other parts of the Northwest Territories and Canada. The Chamber offers training and seminars for entrepreneurs and staff, in all areas of quality service and business management. The Chamber operates on a yearly budget of approximately $275,000 dollars per year. Sources of funding include membership fees, private sector donations, service fees, retail revenues and training contacts. This organization receives no core funding or government grants.
The Yellowknife Centennial Committee was formed on October 8, 1964 to coordinate the community's plans to celebrate the Centennial of Canada's Confederation in 1967. In 1964, the Federal Government provided $3.3 million to the provinces and territories to fund a programme of celebration events for 1967. Each community within the Northwest Territories was allocated $2.00 per resident to organize cultural and social events. The Committee was formally disbanded in 1968.
The Yellowknife Roman Catholic Separate School District No. 2, which was responsible for St. Patrick's High School, was formed in 1951.