NWT decides to demolish old Yellowknife visitor centre

The Northern Frontier Visitors Centre building on the morning of August 21, 2019
The Northern Frontier Visitors Centre building on the morning of August 21, 2019. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

The territorial government has confirmed it intends to demolish Yellowknife’s former visitor centre, which is losing its structural integrity.

The Northern Frontier Visitors Centre closed to the public in 2017 after an inspection found the building to be unsafe. It has since sat unoccupied as the territory decides what to do with it.

In a document tabled in the legislature this week, infrastructure minister Wally Schumann states the NWT government has given up trying to salvage the building as the work would be too expensive.

“Based on the deteriorating condition of the facility, it has been determined that demolition of the building is the best-value option,” Schumann writes, in answer to an earlier query from Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly.



The jacking of steel piles supporting the building’s southern side has caused significant damage to the building itself, Schumann said, and continues to do so – reducing what could reasonably be salvaged.

The NWT government has already spent, or committed, almost $650,000 to repairs, monitoring, and design costs since 2017. Schumann said trying to demolish the damaged portion but salvage the rest would cost $2.7 million.

Instead, demolition is expected to cost $600,000 and take place toward the end of this year.

It’s not clear what the territory would next plan to do with the land. The Northern Frontier Visitors Association, which used to run the building, disbanded in the aftermath of the building’s closure.

The City of Yellowknife has since operated a temporary visitors’ centre based at City Hall.