What is now known as the łıwegǫ̀atì Building is pictured in 2021. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
Legacy Stanton, the government-speak placeholder name for Yellowknife’s old hospital, is gone. The facility is now called the łıwegǫ̀atì Building.
In a Friday news release announcing the change, the NWT government said łıwegǫ̀atì is the name for Frame Lake in the Wılı̀ı̀deh yatı dialect spoken by the Yellowknives Dene.
For people who don’t know how to speak Wılı̀ı̀deh yatı, the territorial government gave the word’s pronunciation as kle-wa-goon-tea.
The building, once known as the Stanton Territorial Hospital, was replaced in 2019 by a new facility – also named the Stanton Territorial Hospital – built next door.
Since then, work has been carried out to turn the old Stanton into an extended care and long-term care facility with a primary care clinic and rehab services.
The territory opened a naming process for the building in December last year, and said this week it had received 150 suggestions. Frame Lake is the lake beside which both buildings stand.
Health minister Julie Green was quoted as saying the name “provided us with an opportunity to advance our commitment to reconciliation by honouring Indigenous culture and promoting the use of the NWT’s 11 official languages.”
At the bottom of the same news release, the territorial government quietly announced that the łıwegǫ̀atì Building is now expected to open its primary care clinic and rehab centre in early 2024, with other services following at a later date.
Initially, the territory had been shooting for a 2022 opening date. By February this year, the GNWT had updated that to “summer 2023.” The revised date that appeared on Friday went unexplained.
The building has, however, already briefly seen service since its 2019 closure for renovation work. In August, it was reopened to help house patients evacuated from Fort Smith and Hay River before Yellowknife’s own evacuation meant everyone was moved elsewhere.