A photo of Enodah Wilderness Travel’s Trout Rock Lodge. Photo: Yellowknife Tours
For Verda Law, owner of Yellowknife Tours, it’s the people and other small businesses in Yellowknife that make the city special for visitors.
Law said “the people are very genuine” and that’s why her guests feel connected to locals, because they are able to listen and learn from them when they visit Yellowknife.
While her business offers winter tours – like aurora-viewing at a cabin with a 360-degree skylight, or dogsledding, snowmobiling, and ice fishing – it also specializes in creating personalized itineraries for people when they visit and handling all of the logistics of connecting visitors with things to do.
“If they wanted to enjoy a few activities in town, we can help them plan their day and they don’t have to worry about making arrangements and calls,” explained Law.
“We want to support local businesses – restaurants, hotels, and other operators. We can’t be the best at everything, so we work with operators who can deliver great service to show the beauty of the Northwest Territories.”
“We live here and we know what’s good,” she said, adding Yellowknife Tours shuttles people from activity to activity so they don’t have to take a cab or walk. Visitors can rent winter clothing, too.
While Yellowknife Tours typically caters to out-of-town tourists, Law said people visiting friends and family also reach out to ask for help filling their days in the city with new and northern things. That could include learning to fat-bike on the ice, or a city tour featuring a trip to Northern Sky Film’s 360-degree dome theatre to learn about the aurora.
“After the pandemic, people wanted to come and travel. They have wanted to always come and see the beauty of the North. When they come here, if they have a good experience, they will recommend their friends and family to come back,” she said, noting that – since the NWT’s border reopened – she has already had several repeat customers who first visited Yellowknife a few years ago.
“Sometimes we have guests that come five or six times and introduce other people to our service. That makes us happy and keeps us motivated,” she said.
The special touches that Law adds to her tours also help – like teaching aurora photography during aurora chasing, and taking photos of guests under the northern lights so they have a keepsake.
“In life, a lot of things that are an experience are a treasure for ourselves,” she said, explaining why gifting a tour or a Yellowknife activity could make a great gift for a visiting friend or family member.
“Materialistic things – it’s just that moment you enjoy it, but it’s not long lasting. But if you have an experience, no one can take away that feeling, that memory. It’s all in you.
“It’s also building a history for yourself. People may have a remarkable experience they never forget.”
This article appears as part of a paid partnership with NWT Tourism inviting northerners to Give the Gift of Experience this holiday season. Watch out for six articles highlighting different experiences you can try in the Northwest Territories, even if you already live here.