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How would you rebrand Norman Wells?

Norman Wells in June 2020. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio

The Town of Norman Wells says it is developing a new brand to help revitalize its economy and a slowly declining population.

Sharing a survey with the catchphrase “reaching new horizons” on Monday, the Sahtu town said it wanted to hear residents’ ideas about the future of Norman Wells.

A public workshop on the subject will take place at the town’s community hall on Tuesday from 5:30pm till 8pm.

Quoting data that suggests Norman Wells’ population has dropped by seven percent in the past decade, and with major local employer Imperial Oil’s future in the community appearing limited, the town said it “needs to re-energize pursuit of new economic pathways.”



The town has also been rocked in the past month by the abandonment of a fraud lawsuit against its former senior administrator and ex-mayor, followed by a related petition by some residents to remove the current council.

What the town calls a “brand development initiative” is being paid for with a combination of territorial and federal cash. The town said Alberta consultants Unfussy had been retained to lead the work.

Frank Pope, the present mayor, said in a press release about the rebrand: “This initiative provides the Town of Norman Wells with an opportunity to have residents look back on 2023 as a year we settled on a sustainable horizon line for our community and started to make it happen.”

The town said economic opportunities include wilderness tourism that attracts hunters and Canol Trail explorers, northern arts and crafts, and critical minerals.



“This project isn’t about reinventing Norman Wells,” the town stated. “It’s about interpreting from existing plans and engaging community … to tell a compelling story of the future to come for Norman Wells.”

As Pope put it in the same press release: “Imagine being on vacation and you are asked: What is Norman Wells all about?

“We want to have the words and images that talk about a sustainable and ambitious future for Norman Wells. We want to help people answer that question.

“And that conversation can lead to a local business expansion, a new resident, business investment, or visitor to the community, which enables our town to step into its full potential.”