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Yellowknife, 1934-84


Yellowknife, 1934-84



Date of Issue

March 15, 1984




Postal Administration


Perforation or Dimension



Ashton-Potter Limited.


Designed by Ken Hughes

About Stamp

The city of Yellowknife dates from 1934 when gold was discovered there. Paradoxically, the word Yellowknife does not derive from gold. In 1770, when Samuel Hearne was exploring the Great Slave Lake area, he encountered a tribe of Indians who used copper-bladed knives. He called them the Copper Indians, although fur traders soon began to refer to them as Yellowknives. The tribe was driven from the area by warring Dogribs in 1830, but the name remains. In 1935 Yellowknife was a tent camp, but in 1937 the busy little community enjoyed a school, a six-bed hospital, a department store, a bank located in a 4 m x 5 m log cabin, and a liquor store. Bush planes provided an air link with the outside. When the Second World War broke out, however, a number of residents left to join the armed forces. Houses were shuttered and cafés closed. Nevertheless, the significance of an area rich in a number of minerals in time of war was soon realized and the settlement slowly revived. In 1944 a new gold discovery revitalized the town. The population grew to 3,00 in 1945, making it necessary to build away from the old site known today as Old Town. In 1967 Yellowknife was proclaimed capital of the Northwest Territories, a vast and diverse region bordering on the Yukon, the polar icecap, Greenland, and seven provinces. The stamp will be issued just prior to the annual Caribou Carnival, a festival featuring igloo-building contests, log-sawing races, Indian wrestling and snowshoeing, with the Dog Derby as the major event. To symbolize the growth of Yellowknife and of its major industry, the stamp shows the head frame of a gold mine, a characteristic feature of the city, rising out of the type of pan prospectors were probably using when they first detected traces of gold near the Yellowknife River in the late 1890's. The stamp designer, Ken Hughes, is an instructor of design at the Emily Carr College of Art and Design, Vancouver.
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Canada Post Corporation. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1984.

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