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Buffum (family)

George Clinton Buffum was born August 13, 1896, in Table Grove, Illinois, United States. His family later moved to Teulon, Manitoba. George lied about his age and joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and then served with the Canadian military in World War I. Sometime in the late 1920s or early 1930s, he moved to Behchoko (formerly Fort Rae).

By 1934, Buffum was the manager of the Northern Traders Ltd. trading post. This trading post, which had been purchased from Hislop and Nagle in 1912, operated in Behchoko until 1938. Upon its closure, Buffum went to work for or with James ‘Jim’ Darwish, an independent trader based in Behchoko since 1925.

George Buffum married Louise Evelyn (born 1908, birth surname unknown) on July 8, 1934, in Behchoko. George and Louise met when she had been a nurse for George's ailing father. Louise and George corresponded for a few years before Louise moved to Behchoko and they were married.

The Buffum home often served as a stop over for many pilots and their passengers and consequently the Buffums were well known by many of the northern bush pilots.

George and Louise’s daughter Marylyn "Lyn" G. Buffum (married name Marylyn Orchuk, later Marylyn Orchuk-Payne) was born in Edmonton on January 28, 1936. Louise and Lyn stayed in the south until the summer of 1937, when they moved back to Behchoko.

George Buffum ran the trading post after Jim Darwish moved to Edmonton in 1941. At some point between 1938 and 1944, Buffum and Darwish became business partners. Buffum then became the sole proprietor of the trading post following Darwish’s death in 1944. Buffum continued to operate the trading post in Behchoko until his departure from the community.

The Buffum family moved south in 1946 because of George’s concerns for Lyn’s education. In 1947, Buffum rented the trading post and his former house to the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development for the department to operate a Day School and provide a furnished teacher’s residence. In 1948, Buffum sold his property, including chattels, to the same federal department.

George Buffum continued to visit the north in the summers until approximately 1951 or 1952.

George Clinton Buffum died September 18, 1968. Louise Evelyn Buffum died in 1979. Marylyn ‘Lyn’ Orchuk-Payne died July 26, 2019.

Searle, David

David Harry Searle was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1936. He moved to Yellowknife in 1946 where his father worked for Con Mine. Searle was educated in the Yellowknife public school system. During his high school years, he worked summer jobs at Con Mine.

Searle attended the University of Alberta and earned degrees in history and law (1961). As a young man, joined the Canadian Officers Training Corps and served in the Royal Canadian Army reserve as a military policeman.

David Searle returned to Yellowknife and, in 1963, co-founded the law firm de Weerdt Searle with Mark de Weerdt. Searle was the founding President of the Law Society of the Northwest Territories in 1978. He practiced law in the NWT until 1981.

While practicing law, Searle was also involved in politics in the NWT. First elected to the Northwest Territories Council in 1967 in the riding of Mackenzie North, Searle was elected again in 1970 and 1975 for the riding of Yellowknife South. From 1975 to 1979, he served at the Speaker of the House, and as such was the first Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. Searle ran for federal politics in 1979 but narrowly lost.

David Searle was the first President of Scouts Canada in the NWT and played a large role in the scouting community in the north. Searle also served on a number of other boards during his time in the north.

David Searle and his family moved to Vancouver in 1981, where Searle continued to practice law until his retirement in 2006. He was an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia (Faculty of Law) from 1991 to 2004. In the 1990s, Searle also played a role in the corporate world, where he served as a lawyer during the development of diamond mines in the NWT.

In 2000, Searle was awarded the Order of Canada for his roles in government, law, and with Scouts Canada during his time in the north.

David Searle married Dorelle Edna Parsons and they had two children, Marc and Kristi. Following Dorelle’s death in 1994, Searle married Celia Stock in 2000.

David Searle died March 1, 2021, aged 84, in Saanich, British Columbia.

Corporate body

OutNorth was a non-profit organisation that aimed to provide support, awareness and advocacy for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community in Yellowknife.

In May 1997, OutNorth was registered under the Societies Act and held its first Board Meeting. Initial board members included Zoe Raemer, Andrea Markowski, Melissa Cousins, Heather Hay, and Nadine Scott. The volunteer-run group did not receive government funding, but raised funds privately, typically through silent auctions and membership fees. The group grew from about 35 members in 1997 to 60 in 1999.

The organization’s original mandate included the following objectives:
a) to offer philanthropic support to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered community of Yellowknife;
b) to educate its own membership regarding issues of particular interest to lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered persons in Yellowknife;
c) to educate regarding the existence, positive contributions, of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered persons in Yellowknife;
d) to educate the public regarding homosexuality for the purpose of public enlightenment and acceptance of a diversely populated Yellowknife;
e) to organize and participate in social, artistic, literary and sporting events of interest to the Society's membership

OutNorth operated an information phone line, offered educational outreach with public schools and other organisations, and coordinated social events including Yellowknife Pride, Valentines parties, Halloween parties, movie nights, BBQs, potluck suppers, and glow bowling. In 1998, OutNorth successfully requested that Yellowknife City Council proclaim an official Gay Pride Day. (Other groups and individuals had requested this, unsuccessfully, in previous years)

One of the group's main activities was lobbying the Government of the Northwest Territories for family law revisions. Following changes to the NWT Adoption Act, Family Law Act, and Human Rights Legislation in the Northwest Territories, in the mid-2000s (ca. 2005-2007) the group reduced its activities and transferred its funds to It Gets Better Yellowknife, which became the Rainbow Coalition (now the Northern Mosaic Network).

Corporate body

The Department of Public Works was formed in 1989 and operated until 1993; it was responsible for designing, constructing, acquiring, operating and maintaining buildings, works, equipment and vehicles owned and operated by the Government of the Northwest Territories. The department delivered local and northern training programs and facilitated employment and business opportunities in the north by hiring local workers and tendering projects to local companies for capital projects. This department was also responsible for delivering energy conservation programs and the payment of heating and electrical costs and the cost of water, sewage and garbage collection services for the Government of the Northwest Territories owned and operated buildings and works.

The Directorate was responsible for the management of the department to ensure consistent application of departmental policies, standards and procedures and program delivery throughout the Northwest Territories. The Directorate developed long range plans, policy proposals and operational guidelines on all Public Works' matters for the Minister of Public Works. The Directorate was involved in northern and local training, employment and business opportunities in implementing capital programs and maintenance programs, promoted energy management in the private sector and coordinated programs for information exchange between the department and the public and private sectors.

The Project Management Division was responsible for the design and construction of all buildings and works for the Government of the Northwest Territories through its Architectural and Engineering Divisions in headquarters and the regional offices. In 1992-93, these divisions were renamed the Construction Management and Technical Services Divisions. This division also delivered the Community Granular and Dust Control Programs through project officers located in each region. This program managed granular materials production within the communities and provided dust control for these communities. In addition, the Project Management Division provided local training, employment and business development opportunities in capital projects delivered by the department. This division was also responsible for the development and implementation of building standards.

The Accommodation Services Division was responsible for all aspects of property management for the Government of the Northwest Territories, including the administration of leased and owned office and staff accommodation across the Northwest Territories, the purchase of replacement furniture and appliances for staff accommodation and the disposal of surplus assets. This division leased facilities from the private sector in accordance with the Leasing of Improved Real Property Policy, in order to facilitate and support business development in the north.

The Buildings and Works Division was responsible for operating, maintaining and repairing buildings and works owned or leased by the Government of the Northwest Territories based upon standards established by the Maintenance Management System. This division also focused on the delivery of energy conservation programs for Government of the Northwest Territories buildings and works, as well as the privatization of operation, maintenance and repair of these buildings and works.

The Vehicles and Equipment Division was responsible for the operation, maintenance, repair and replacement of all Government of the Northwest Territories' vehicles and equipment (excluding Department of Transportation vehicles and equipment), based upon the Maintenance Management System. This division also focused on the privatization of these services in order to support the private sector.

The Utilities Division was responsible for the payment of heating and electrical costs and the cost of water, sewage and garbage collection services for all Government of the Northwest Territories' owned and operated buildings and works. This division was involved in developing and implementing the Utilities Management System in all regions. This system was designed to allow for improved budgeting and the monitoring of utility consumption and expenditures.

The Operations Division was responsible for the provision of planning and co-coordinating services for the department's utilities, buildings and works and vehicles and equipment maintenance programs. Work included the development of common procedures, policies and standards, as well as the provision of technical advice, assistance and training to maintenance staff within the department and to other government departments and municipalities as requested. The operation and maintenance of government buildings, works, vehicles and equipment was based upon the Maintenance Management System.

In 1993, the Department of Public Works joined with the Department of Government Services to form the Department of Public Works and Services.

Blondin, George

George Blondin was born at Horton Lake, north of Great Bear Lake, in May 1922, the son of Edward Blondin. In his early years George worked as a guide for surveyors on the Canol Pipeline project, and at Port Radium as well as a woodcutter, trapper and hunter. He later moved his family to the Yellowknife region and worked for Giant Mine. He served as Chief of the Deline (Fort Franklin) Band and as Vice President of the Dene Nation. He worked with the Dene Cultural Institute and wrote for northern newspapers, sharing political opinions and traditional stories, for which he was well known. George wrote several books on the Sahtu Dene, traditional medicine, and traditional stories, including 'When the World was New' (1990), 'Yamoria the Law Maker' (1997), and 'Trail of the Spirit: The Mysteries of Dene Medicine Power Revealed' (2006). In 1990, George Blondin was awarded the Ross Charles Award for Native journalism, and in 2003 he was appointed a Member of Order of Canada for his work towards preserving the heritage of his people. George Blondin was married to Julie Blondin and had seven children: Evelyn, Ted, John, Tina, Georgina (Gina), Bertha and Walter (died in infancy). George died in 2008.

Blondin, John

John Blondin was born in Deline (Fort Franklin), Northwest Territories on March 6, 1959 to George and Julie Blondin. His family moved to Yellowknife in the early 1960s where John attended school. After his graduation, John traveled to Wales to attend Atlantic College. Upon his return to Canada, he completed a degree in linguistics at the University of Montreal. John was active in the theatre and art communities. He founded the Native Theatre Group and directed several productions of the "Association franco-culturelle de Yellowknife" (French Cultural Association). Much of his theatrical work focused on the telling of Dene legends, many of which he learned from his father, noted Elder, writer and storyteller George Blondin. He also performed in original Native theatrical and dance performances in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. He did not formally study photography, however, he enjoyed it as a hobby. He died on April 27, 1996 at the age of 37.

Harrison, David A.
Person · 1940 -

David Alan Harrison was born July 17, 1940 to William Harrison and Evelyn Harrison, nee Fiddler in Leeds, Yorkshire England. Raised in northern England, he earned a BSc. in Geography in 1961 from Leeds University. He emigrated to Canada in 1961 to work as a meterological observer and graduate student at the McGill University Sub-Arctic Research Station at Knob Lake (Shefferville). On completion of his Master's degree in Geography in 1964 he worked for the Canadian federal government carrying out glacial geomorphologic research on Baffin Island. In 1966 he took teacher's training at McGill and was employed as a Geography Instructor at the University of Victoria, and a high school teacher in Dorval, Quebec.

In 1969 he returned north to Hay River, NWT where he taught at Diamond Jenness Secondary School. In 1970 he married fellow teacher, Dona Maria Murray. They made their home in Hay River, raising two children David Michael and John Martin. David A. Harrison taught at Diamond Jenness Secondary School from 1969-1996, specializing in geographic, social studies, and historical geography education. He published work in teachers' journals, magazines and academic journals on those topics as well. Along with teaching responsibilities, David was active in the NWTTA local, the Hay River Library Board, Cubs and Scouts, the Elder Hostel Programme, and worship and fellowship at St. Andrew's Anglican / Grace United Church.

David A. Harrison's education continued with a Master of Education from the University of British Columbia in 1977, and a PhD. in Geography from the University of Alberta in 1984. The thesis, "Hay River, NWT. 1800-1950: site and situation" was a culmination of research and work on the history of Hay River.

David A. Harrison was very active and committed to faith work throughout his life. Upon retirement after 30 years of teaching, David and Dona returned to her family's home in Tobago. There he became involved with lay leadership in St. Mary's Parish and was ordained decon in 2001 and priest in 2005.

Baines, Richard

Richard Henry Baines was born August 29, 1892 in Wiltshire, England. He immigrated to Canada ca. 1910 and married Eva Manning Lewington. The couple had two children, Geoffrey and Richard Francis. Baines appears to have been employed by International Harvester for a number of years. In 1938, he conducted a study on methods of transportation for International Harvester Ltd. of Edmonton. For this study, Baines traveled to Goldfields, Saskatchewan, northern Alberta, Fort Smith, Fort Resolution, Yellowknife, Port Radium and Coppermine (Kugluktuk). During World War II, he lived in Fort St. John and was involved in the construction of the Alaska Highway in the United States Engineering Department. He died November 10, 1972.

Drabitt, Sylvester

Sylvester Drabitt was born in Tarnopol, Saskatchewan in 1926. He studied biology at the University of Saskatchewan and painting at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago. He began work on his Ph.D. at Chicago and then continued his studies at Iowa State University. While studying in Iowa, he was introduced to Inuit art. He was so impressed by the work of Inuit artists, that he decided to study medicine in order to travel in the arctic and work and learn from them. He graduated from the medical program at the University of Manitoba in 1961 and served an internship at St. Boniface Hospital. In the fall of 1962, he joined the Indian and Northern Health Services and began practicing in Frobisher Bay (Iqaluit). In 1964, he served aboard the "C.D. Howe" as Medical Officer for the annual arctic patrol. He spent two years in Frobisher Bay and then returned to St. Boniface to study surgery. After spending a year in Cambridge Bay, he returned to Frobisher Bay in 1967 and left in 1968. He retired to Victoria. B.C.

Eastman, Gordon
Person · [19--]-1997

In 1965, Gordon Eastman produced a film entitled "Challenging the Mackenzie Mountains." The film involved footage of a big game hunting expedition in the Mackenzie Mountains for Dall sheep, bear and moose. The hunting expedition was arranged by the Hungry Horse Camp Outfitters run by Stan Burrrell.

Gordon Eastman began a career in film making in the 1950s and continued his work into the 1980s. Eastman is considered a pioneer in both hunting and in shooting outdoor films. He was married to Mary Lou Eastman (nee George) and they had four children: three sons, Mike, Brad, and Rod, and a daughter, Maria.

Gordon Eastman died March 13, 1997.

Gushue, Lorne James

Lorne Gushue was raised and educated in Nova Scotia and came north from Acadia University (B.Sc. 1989, B.Ed. 1991) for two months in 1991. He worked as a French immersion middle school teacher and then in the territorial public service in several capacities.

He has been involved in a diverse range of causes, serving as one of the first Commission Members and former vice-chair of the Northwest Territories Human Rights Commission, where he assisted in producing public service announcements on the topics of youth and homophobia. As a co-founder, board member and spokesperson for OutNorth and a former board member of AIDS Yellowknife, he has advocated for equality and has helped to raise awareness about the spread and prevention of HIV/AIDS. He has been active on several local and national pride committees within the organized labour movement. He is also a long-time member of the Yellowknife Choral Society and has been involved in several community theatre companies. He has volunteered with the Yellowknife unit of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, providing marine search and rescue on Great Slave Lake.

In 2001 Lorne received the NWT Outstanding Volunteer award, and in December 2007 he was awarded the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award (currently known as the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers). He was selected as a delegate of the 2008 Governor General's Canadian Leadership Conference.

Garvin, Terry
Person · 1930-2019

Terry Garvin was born on a farm on January 23, 1930, and grew up near Craik, Saskatchewan. In 1951, Garvin joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and was posted to various detachments in northern British Columbia (BC) and Alberta and the southern Northwest Territories (NWT) over the next 13 years. These postings included Prince George and Fort Saint James, BC (1951-1953), Behchoko (Rae) and Yellowknife, NWT (1954-1958), and Fort McMurray, Alberta (1958-1964).

In 1964, Garvin went to university and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. In the following years he worked for various employers in a variety of fields, including community development work for Syncrude Canada Ltd., socio-economic assessment and management for Petro-Canada Inc., and community development work as a consultant for various Indigenous groups. From 1981 to 1983, Garvin worked for the Arctic Pilot Project (Arctic Institute, University of Calgary), and from 1983 to 1985, he worked for the United States Agency for International Development in Indonesia. Upon his return to Canada in 1985, Garvin continued his work as a consultant for Indigenous groups working on community development projects. His work often involved traditional use studies and land use mapping.

Terry Garvin wrote two books, Bush Land People (1992) and Carving Faces, Carving Lives: People of the Boreal Forest (2005). Both books focus mainly on northern Alberta. They are illustrated with photographs Garvin took of the people he met and the places he lived and worked in from the 1950s onward.

Garvin had four children: Linda, Erin, Edmund, and Marleis.

Terry Garvin died on May 23, 2019, at the age of 89.

Glick, Jacob Isaac
Person · 1899-1973

Jacob Isaac Glick was born in 1899 or 1900, possibly in Galicia or Montreal, and was raised in Montreal in a family of 11 children.

When he was a teenager, his father attempted to establish a homestead near Rosetown, Saskatchewan through the support of the Baron de Hirsch Institute and the Jewish Colonization Association. The homestead was unsuccessful, and he reported that his brother and father were the first two people to be buried in the new Jewish cemetery in Saskatoon. The rest of the family returned to Montreal. His mother died during the influenza epidemic, and he and his older siblings worked together to care for the three youngest children.

From the fall of 1920 through the 1930s, he worked as a prospector and fur trader in northern Ontario. He wrote that he had long dreamed of working for the Hudson’s Bay Company, but was told at the head office in Montreal that they did not hire Jewish staff. From then on, he was determined to work against the HBC: “If they don’t let Jewish people work for them, then it was my ambition to work against them.” After working for a fur trader for several years in Sudbury, Gogama, and Low Bush, Ontario, he entered into a business partnership with A. Brown of Sudbury.

While in Toronto with his trading partner, he met Sonia (Sadie) Nicholeavsky and her family. They had arrived two years prior from Russia, where they suffered during pogroms, war, and revolution. He and Sonia married on January 16, 1925, moving to Gogama and then Sudbury, where Sonia had extended family. On October 26, 1925, their only child Harold was born. That winter Glick began prospecting near Red Lake while Sonia and Harold stayed with Sonia’s mother in Toronto. When he returned to Sudbury, he and Brown established a fur business there while maintaining an office in Gogama. The family experienced significant financial difficulties during the Great Depression. By 1931 he began work in Oba, Ontario on behalf of Glick Mining Syndicate and Troy Consolidated Gold Mine Limited, and appears to have continued this work through 1935 on behalf of Steepe Mining Syndicate.

In July 1935 he shot and wounded William Denomer, an employee, near Horne Payne, Ontario. The case went to trial in August 1935, and after an appeal in September 1935 Glick was sentenced to three years in Kingston Penitentiary. Glick maintained that the shooting was in self-defence, and that the trial had been laced with antisemitism. While incarcerated in Kingston, he attempted to maintain his mining claims and syndicate and wrote an autobiography. He was released in November 1937, and returned to Oba.

In June 1938, Glick was charged with illegal fur dealing in Gogama, Ontario. He was released on bail and then arrested in Rouyn, Quebec, with nearly $10,000 of furs. After he was released on bail in Quebec, the Ontario Provincial Police launched a land and air search for him. There was a moratorium on selling beaver pelts in Ontario, and Glick was purportedly part of an international ring purchasing furs illegally from First Nations hunters for sale to markets in the United States and Great Britain. In July 1938, Glick was convicted on 21 charges and sentenced to two and a half years in Burwash Reformatory.

Upon release from Burwash, Glick enlisted in Montreal on June 20, 1940, and went overseas in August 1940, serving as a cook with the 1st Canadian Survey Regiment through 1944. He was discharged from the military and returned to Montreal in January 1945.

J.I. and Sadie Glick moved to Yellowknife in April 1945 with the encouragement of Hon. Charles McCrae, the president of Negus Mines and former Ontario Minister of Mines who had acted on behalf of Glick during his mining disputes. Upon arrival, Glick worked at Negus Mines as a cook, and the couple spent their first winter in a tent.

J.I. Glick's first business venture in Yellowknife was the Veterans Restaurant (also known as the Veterans Cafe), which was in operation from approximately 1946-1953. He started the business with the support of Re-Establishment Credits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The cafe was in a building in ‘New Town’ downtown Yellowknife, and he also sold vegetables from a root house. By 1953 he was reporting income from property rentals and a second hand store. He sold the Second Hand Shop in 1955 and ventured more deeply into real estate, owning and operating Central Real Estate from 1954 onward to around 1971.

In 1957 he built the Gold Range Hotel on the same site as the Veterans Cafe, and worked as hotel manager from 1958 onward. He and his wife owned half of the business and their business partners were in Edmonton. The hotel property was owned by Central Real Estate. Around 1958-1959 J.I. Glick introduced the first telephone that had more than local service. He ran a radio telephone from his office in the hotel that connected out to the south, which locals could use to call out. In 1966 the Glicks sold their shares in the Gold Range Hotel to Hymie Weisler (Edmonton). J.I. Glick stayed as a public relations manager for the hotel for two years. Glick was also a Director of Premier Electrical, a local utility company, ca. 1967-1970.

Glick was involved as a member of the Yellowknife Ratepayers Association and Yellowknife Town Council in the 1960s, and was also a member of the Northwest Territories Progressive Conservative Association.

J.I. Glick passed on March 20, 1973. A service was held at Park Memorial Chapel on Spadina Avenue in Toronto, and interment took place at Lambton Park Cemetery.

Glick, Harold
Person · 1925-2009

Harold Glick was born in 1925 in Sudbury, Ontario to Jacob Isaac (J.I.) Glick and Sadie Glick. He described his upbringing as not overly religious, but his parents did keep a kosher household. He was raised in Sudbury until 1938 or 1939, at which point the family relocated to Montreal. He completed schooling through Grade 10 as well as two years of an electronics apprenticeship through Ecole Polytechnique, after which he worked for Northern Electric Company (1944).

He served in the Second World War in the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (1944), and upon discharge moved to Yellowknife to be near his parents. He arrived via plane in March 1946 during Operation Muskox, and worked at his parents’ business, the Veterans Cafe, for about a year. For three months in 1947 he worked as an electronics helper at Giant Mine, and then went to Toronto to study radio technologies. In October 1948 he returned to Yellowknife and went into business, starting Yellowknife Radio and Record Store Ltd (YK Radio) in a wall tent next door to the Gold Range Hotel. The store initially sold records, radios, and appliances, and also offered repair services, and by 1952 had moved into a new building. In 1958 an addition was added to the shop. The store’s offerings expanded to include jewellery and furniture. As of 1968-1970, the company had three directors: Harold Glick, Zelda Glick, and Jacob Isaac Glick.

In 1952, Harold Glick married Zelda Vinsky of Vegreville, Alberta, who he had met in Edmonton. Harold and Zelda had four children (Murray, Jeffrey, Leah, and Marilyn), who they sought to raise with a Jewish education. Zelda kept a kosher household in Yellowknife, and brought meat from Winnipeg and Edmonton. The family belonged to Beth Israel Synagogue, a Modern Orthodox synagogue in Edmonton, Alberta. Harold and Zelda sent their sons to Pine Lake (a B’nai B’rith Camp near Red Deer, Alberta) and their daughters to Camp Hatikvah (Lake Kalamalka at Oyama, near Kelowna, British Columbia).

Harold volunteered with Yellowknife's first radio station, and also served on the Yellowknife municipal council (Town Council) during the 1960s, including 1960-1961. He became a director of Hidden Lake Gold Mines Ltd., which was established in 1968.

In 1986, Yellowknife Radio was sold to Roy Williams, and Harold and Zelda Glick moved to Kelowna, British Columbia, where there was both a Yellowknifer community and a Jewish community. Harold passed on April 20, 2009, in British Columbia.


Charles LaBine was born in 1888 at Westmeath, a small community in the Ottawa Valley near Pembroke, Ontario. Charles was the elder brother of Gilbert LaBine. After working for several years in the silver mines of northern Ontario, Charles and Gilbert LaBine began prospecting for themselves. They founded Eldorado Gold Mines Ltd. in the 1920s following the discovery of gold in Manitoba. Charles LaBine was responsible for managing the financial aspects of the mining operation. Though Eldorado Gold didn’t succeed as hoped, it provided the LaBine brothers with the finances needed mto conduct further prospecting activities.

Investigating the mining potential around Great Bear Lake that had been documented by James McIntosh Bell of the Geological Survey of Canada, the LaBine brothers began prospecting along the shores of Great Bear Lake. In the spring of 1930, Gilbert LaBine discovered a deposit of pitchblende, another name for uranium ore. The discovery was made on the shore of Echo Bay. The development of a viable mining operation faced significant financing and logistical challenges, as the mine was more than 2000 km from the nearest railway. Although Charles was not with Gilbert when the pitchblende was found, it was his job to follow up and solve the financing and logistical problems of moving equipment to the mine site and the ore south for processing. In order to finance the development, the LaBines mined the silver that lay in the same area of Great Bear Lake.

The operation began as a radium mine in 1932, extracting radium from pitchblende. Mined materials were shipped by barge and air plane to Fort McMurray, Alberta, then by train to a radium refinery in Port Hope, Ontario. The company secured a contract with the United States military early in 1942. The Eldorado Mine at Port Radium was transferred to the Canadian Government in 1944 and renamed Eldorado Mining and Refining Limited. Uranium ore from the mine was used in the atomic bomb developments of 1945.

In the 1950s, uranium was discovered along the shores of Lake Athabasca. There the Labine brothers founded Gunnar Mines, the first Canadian producer of uranium that returned a profit to its shareholders. Gilbert was president and Charles the vice-president of Gunnar. Charles retired from the management in 1955.
The contribution of the LaBine brothers to the advancement of medical science as a result of their work was recognized at home and abroad. The brothers received the Curie medal from the governing body of the International Union Against Cancer. The citation accompanying the medal to Charles LaBine said that the Pierre and Marie Curie medal, which had been struck in 1938 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the discovery of radium, was conferred upon him “for the distinguished services that you have rendered to science and to humanity.” Charles LaBine died in 1969 at the age of 81.

Corporate body · 1905-present

As the primary body of elected officials, the Legislative Assembly is empowered to pass new laws, amend existing laws, determine how public monies are expended, and approve policies and programs. Elections are held every four years and following the elections, the members of the Legislative Assembly elect from among themselves a Speaker of the House, a Premier and the members of the Executive Council. The members of the Executive Council, the Ministers, are assigned portfolios by the Premier and are responsible for managing the various departments and agencies of the Government of the Northwest Territories. Typically this includes introducing new legislation, setting budgets and setting government direction. Prior to 1979, the Legislative Assembly was known as the NWT Council, or Council of the Northwest Territories.

The Legislative Assembly operates according to standard parliamentary procedures with some modifications. The Assembly frequently refers questions to the Committee of the Whole where informal discussion takes place. The Legislative Assembly establishes standing and special committees in order to gather information and public opinion on different issues. The standing or permanent committees on finance, public accounts and legislation carry out a majority of the work of the Legislative Assembly. Sessions are usually held twice yearly for approximately 12 weeks. The official seven languages of the Northwest Territories (English, French, Chipewyan, Slavey, Dogrib, Gwich'in and Inuktitut) are used in the Legislative Assembly with interpretation services provided by the GNWT Language Bureau.

The original North West Territories were created in 1870 when the Hudson's Bay Company sold to the British Government all the lands which it governed under the letters patent of Charles II. These lands were im­mediately transferred to the Government of Canada. On June 22, 1869, the Dominion government of Canada had passed An Act for the temporary government of Rupert's Land and the Northwest Territory in preparation for the transfer of control of these lands. This Act provided for a lieutenant governor, who was to set up a council of 7 to 15 in the administration of affairs. The lands included all the country drained by the rivers flowing into Hudson Bay including most of Saskatchewan and Alberta, part of Manitoba and the Keewatin District of Nunavut. It did not at that time include the greater part of the Arctic, to which the United Kingdom had some claim arising from the various naval expeditions of the early nineteenth century. Although the Hudson's Bay Company abandoned its jurisdiction in 1870, it retained its trading posts and expanded its commercial activities into other parts of Canada. In 1880 the British Government transferred any rights which it had over the Arctic Islands (which were still not completely explored or mapped) to the Canadian Government.

In 1875, the North-West Territories Act was passed, providing for a resident Lieutenant-Governor and an appointed council of not more than five people. A provision allowed for electoral districts of not more than 1000 square miles and not less than 1000 people. At such time as there were 21 electoral districts, the Council would become a Legislative Assembly. This number was surpassed in 1888. The Territories were governed by English law as it existed at the time of the transfer to Canada. This was amended by a con­siderable body of Ordinances passed by the Council. Increasing demands for political independence led to the 1905 creation of the Provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta and the northward extension of the Province of Manitoba.

The remaining Northwest Territories were constituted by an Act of the Canadian Parliament (4 & 5 Edw.VII, c. 27) in 1905. This provided for the appointment of a Commissioner and a nominated Council of four. A Commissioner for the Territories was appointed in August 1905 but for the next fifteen years the Commissioner ruled without the assistance of a Territorial Council.
The two Commissioners during this period were Frederick White (1905 - 1919), who was also Comptroller of the Royal North West Mounted Police, and N.W. Cory (1919 - 1930), who was Deputy Minister of the Interior. The entire adminis­tration of the Territories was therefore, in Ottawa. Administration of the Territories was the responsibility of the Federal Minister of the Interior, to whom both the Commissioner of Police and the Commissioner of the Territories reported. The population of the Northwest Territories was very sparse in 1905 and the northern islands still largely unexplored. It was not until 1911 that the first complete census was organized throughout the area. Since the area to be covered was vast, administration was limited to essen­tials, and these duties were of a municipal type - the relief of the desti­tute, care of the sick and the prevention of crime. The police posts and patrols provided the local personnel and they were supplemented by the volun­tary efforts of missionaries and Hudson's Bay Company post managers. The police reported to the Mining Lands and Yukon Branch of the Ministry of the Interior (the Mines Branch until 1909) in all matters concerning the Terri­tories. For the administration of justice, the relevant ordinances of the old North West Territories were applied. A few amendments and additions were made by Order in Council at the end of this period, but a decision of the Department of Justice in April, 1921 stated that these were invalid because no Council existed. Any justices appointed for the original Terri­tories were apparently considered capable of hearing cases, and no new jus­tices were appointed. Appeals could be made from their decisions to the nearest Provincial Court of Appeal (Acts 6 & 7 Edw. VII, c. 32 and 7 & 8 Edw. VII, c. 49).

Canada's interest in its Arctic territories has been stimulated from time to time by geological discoveries (gold, other metals and oil) or by war. Each of these events has been followed by changes (and an in­crease in volume) of administrative and judicial activity. The first of these changes occurred at the end of the First World War when oil was dis­covered at Norman Wells. The need to provide for the registration of land and mining claims in the Mackenzie District and for the amendment of the old Ordinance led to the appointment of the first Territorial Council on 20 April, 1921. The councillors (all senior members of the De­partment of the Interior, including the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) met only once, on 28 April 1921, to hear a report by their Acting Secretary, Mr. O.S. Finnie. A party of twenty-two employees had been sent from Ottawa to Fort Smith (just across the Alberta border) to organize a government office for the Mackenzie District. The councillors expressed considerable doubt about the legal posi­tion of the administration. The Ordinances needed revision and the validity of some was referred to the Department's legal advisers. Consideration was given to raising territorial revenue by charging fees for trading and busi­ness licences. It was agreed to ask for an amending Act to increase the number of councillors to six. The amending Act (11 & 12 Geo. V, c. 40) was passed on 13 June 1922 and the new Council met on the next day in a flurry of legal activity. The City of Ottawa lawfully became, for the first time, the capital of the Northwest Territories. The Entry and the Beverage Ordinances (issue by the Commissioner's sole authority) were declared ultra vires, and various official duties relating to the Territories were re-assigned.

A Northwest Territories and Yukon Branch was organized within the Department of the Interior with Mr. O.S. Finnie as its Director. He, and the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs became the two new councillors added by authority of the 1922 Act. By agreement with the Quebec Government, the Branch was also responsible for New Quebec and its Indigenous people. In 1936, when the Department of the Interior was abolished, the Branch and its duties were transferred to the Department of Mines and Resources. It was renamed the Bureau of Northwest Territories and Yukon Affairs and placed in the Lands, Parks and Forests Branch of the Department. In 1950 and 1951 the duties of the Bureau were re-arranged and it was renamed several times.

Until the outbreak of the Second World War, the Territories con­tinued to be governed in the same fashion as before 1922. The police (now re-organized as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) provided the local ad­ministration with assistance from the handful of local territorial govern­ment employees as well as the missionaries and H.B.C. post managers. How­ever closer control was maintained by the Ottawa office and the Territorial Council. Increased efforts were made to list and control the Indigenous peoples. This in turn led to further demands for welfare services and an extension of law enforcement. Progress was slow. It was not until 1942, as a result of wartime problems, that Inuit were listed and issued with disc numbers. For many years the only magistrate in the Territories was an Alberta provin­cial judge who made an annual visit to the Territories.

The discovery of gold in the Great Slave Lake area was followed by the Second World War and further development of the oil resources of Norman Wells. Although these events did not produce any legislative and administrative changes, their impact on the Northwest Territories is clearly shown by the increased number of meetings of the Council and the increased volume of business generated by the administration. During almost the whole of this period the appropriate Deputy Minister acted as Commissioner: W.W. Cory (1919-31), H.H. Rowatt (1931-34), Dr. Charles Camsell (1936-46), and Dr. H.L. Keenleyside (1947-50). In 1935 Mr. R.A. Gibson, the Deputy Commissioner, presided at meetings of the Council. All the members of the Council were Federal public servants, with the first northern resident only being appointed to the Council in 1947 (J.G. McNiven). However by 1951 it was quite clear that this colonial style of government was unsuitable for the increased population and industrial activities of the Territories.

In 1951, the Northwest Territories Act was amended to permit three elected members to be included in the Council of eight and required Council to hold at least two sessions a year, one of them in the north. Further amendments increased the Council's legislative and financial powers. By 1955, Council could authorize the Commissioner to make agreements with the federal government, subject to Ottawa's approval and they could use a separate Northwest Territories revenue account, as long as a deficit was not created. The amendments also allowed the Commissioner to control some public lands, created a Territorial Court, and repealed major part of the NWT Act so that territorial ordinances could take their place.

In 1958, the Council received the power to borrow money subject to federal approval and by 1960 the Council had the power to pass game laws affecting Dene and Inuit. A fourth elected member was added in 1954, as Council membership rose to nine. The size remained the same until 1966, when the first electoral districts were created outside of the Mackenzie. In 1960, the first members from outside the civil service were appointed. In 1964, separate offices for the Government of the Northwest Territories were created; the position of Commissioner became a full-time appointment and the task of building a headquarters that would eventually move north began. A year later, the naming of the Deputy Commissioner became a separate Governor-in-Council appointment and his duties were made full-time. By 1964, four of the five appointees to the nine-member Council were from the private sector; the Deputy Commissioner remained as the only civil servant appointee to the Council. In 1965, the first Inuit member of Council was appointed and the following year, the Council's elected membership increased from four to seven as electoral districts were created in the Keewatin, High Arctic and Eastern Arctic. In that year the Commissioner-in-Council was given authority to set qualifications for electors and candidates, and a separate Consolidated Revenue Fund for the Northwest Territories was set up within the Consolidated Revenue Fund of Canada.

The Carrothers Report recommended that northern residents be given a greater degree of self-government, but felt that the Northwest Territories should not be divided at that time. In 1967, the territorial government moved to the new capital of Yellowknife, as the Report had recommended. In 1970, the Northwest Territories Act was amended again and Council's elected membership increased to 10 and the appointed membership decreased from five to four. Council's term of office was increased to four years from three and the Commissioner-in-Council was authorized to set members' indemnities and allowances and the period in which Ottawa could disallow territorial legislation was cut from two years to one.

The Seventh Council, which included the first elected Dene member, two Inuit members and a Metis member, took office early in 1971. The first fully-elected Council since 1905 took office in 1975. This Council was given the authority to elect its own Speaker and to name two elected members to the Executive Committee (a third was added a year later). In 1979, the NWT Council was renamed the Legislative Assembly. As the chief political body it is composed of non-partisan elected officials representing all residents of the Northwest Territories.

Between 1980-1981, the Legislative Assembly provided all administrative and support services to the Assembly, to the Standing and Special Committees and to individual Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) throughout the year. Its budget included provision for all indemnities and allowances, including those related to the activities of the MLAs. Initially, the main task of the Legislative Assembly was to work toward responsible government and ultimately to attain provincehood for the Northwest Territories. The Clerk's office worked closely with the office of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada during elections, when electoral districts were being established and members were being elected.

As the Legislative Assembly evolved, the Deputy Commissioner position was removed from the Executive in 1983. The Legislative Assembly budget increased and provided for additional activities of the Legislative Assembly, including retiring allowances for MLAs, the costs of holding sessions of the Assembly and the meetings of Standing and Special Committees. The Standing and Special have concentrated on such matters as the Constitution of Canada, Division of the Northwest Territories, and Constitutional Development in the Western portion of the Territories and Electoral District Boundaries.

Between 1990-1991, the mandate of the Legislative Assembly was as follows: The Speaker and Clerk of the Legislative Assembly were responsible for all activities of the Legislative Assembly. The administration of the Office of the Legislative Assembly and the Office of the Clerk adhered to the Executive Council Act and the Legislative Assembly Retiring Allowances Act. The Acts represented the legal mandate of the Legislative Assembly. The Management and Services Board, in accordance with the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act, provided the legal and administrative structure for the Legislative Assembly. The Office of the Clerk provided research, financial, administrative, committee, and public affairs support to members of the Legislative Assembly. Between 1992-1993, the Legislative Assembly Retiring Allowances Act, the Supplementary Retiring Allowances Act, the Elections Act and Official Languages Act were added to the legal mandate of the Legislative Assembly.

Prior to 1993, the Legislative Assembly operated from temporary and leased premises. With the opening of the new Legislative building in 1993, the services delivered by the Assembly expanded. The Clerk provided advice and support to the Speaker and Members on procedural and administrative matters, managed the Legislative Assembly offices, coordinated the provision of legal services to the Speaker, Members, Committees, Management and Services Board and coordinated the duties of the Sergeant-at-Arms and the Pages.

The House and Committee Services provided procedural advice to the Speaker, Chairmen, Committees and Members of the Assembly, managed support services, maintained house records, produced House documents, and managed the Hansard service and the language services, which included the translation of House documents.

The Research and Information Services provided research services to Members and Committees, provided information and reference services through the Legislative and Government Library, provided public information about the Legislative Assembly and assisted Members in the preparation of public information materials.

The Finance and Administration division provided financial and administrative support to the Legislative Assembly, human resource management services, coordinated the management of pension plan for Members, provided administrative support to Members and administrative and financial support to Office of the Languages Commissioner.

The Facilities Management division provided overall management of the Legislative Assembly building and facilities by providing security, maintenance and janitorial services.

The Elections NWT program provided for the administration of Elections and Plebiscites and the Office of the Languages Commissioner provided for the independent operation of the Language Commissioner.

In 1994-1995, the services provided by the Legislative Assembly were condensed to form the following programs. The Office of the Clerk, Office of the Speaker, Expenditures on Behalf of Members, Office of the Chief Electoral Officer and the Commissioner of Official Languages.

The Office of the Clerk included the Clerk’s Office, Deputy Clerk’s Office, Finance and Administration, Research and Library Services, Sessions and Committees. Through these various units the Office of the Clerk managed and directed the Legislative Assembly Office and provided advice and support to the Speaker and Members on procedural and administrative matters, as well as provided visitor services, public information and language services. Through the Research and Library Section, research and reference services were provided to individual Members, Standing and Special Committees, and to the Clerk’s Office and Deputy Clerk’s Office. The Sessions and Committee Units provided funding for the administration of session, provision of Hansard service and funded the administration of all Committees of the Legislative Assembly. Between 1999-2000, the Finance and Administration section was renamed Corporate Services to include financial management, human resources, electronic data processing, office automation, information services and the overall management of the Legislative Building and its facilities. Between 2003-2004, the Research and Library Services was separated into two distinct functions: Research Services and Library Services.

The Office of the Speaker is responsible for developing policies on the overall control and operation of the Office of the Legislative Assembly as Chair of the Management and Services Board. The Speaker is the official representative of the Legislative Assembly at Provincial/Territorial, Federal and International functions.

The Expenditures on Behalf of Members activity provides allowances, per diems, indemnities, pension administration, as well as salaries for Member's constituency assistants.

The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer conducts and administers general elections, by-elections and plebiscites in the Northwest Territories according to legislation enacted by the Legislative Assembly. This office is responsible to educate and inform eligible electors and candidates in the Northwest Territories of their democratic rights accorded to them in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Commissioner of Official Languages is responsible for ensuring that the rights, status and privileges of all Official Languages in the Northwest Territories are complied with within the spirit of the Official Languages Act. The Languages Commissioner is responsible for tabling an annual report to the Legislative Assembly that details the activities undertaken and achieved by the office.

In 2004, the NWT Human Rights Commission was established by the enactment of the NWT Human Rights Act. Members of the Commission are appointed by the Legislative Assembly for a term of four years. The Director is an officer of the Commission and is also appointed by the Legislative Assembly for a four year term. Adjucation of complaints/disputes rests with the NWT Human Rights Adjudication Panel, a separate entity.

Cominco Ltd.
Corporate body

Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada Ltd. (C.M.S.) was formed in 1906 as a subsidiary of Canadian Pacific Rail with head operations in Trail, British Columbia. Its aggressive northern exploration in the 1920s and 1930s led to stakes claimed in 1927/28 on the lead and zinc deposits on the south shore of Great Slave Lake, which would later become Pine Point Mine, silver deposits at Great Bear Lake in the 1930s, and Con Mine, which was the first gold mine to go into production in the NWT in 1938. C.M.S. also developed other mines in the Northwest Territories including Thompson-Lundmark, Ruth, Ptarmigan, and Polaris. C.M.S. mines had a significant impact on the economic and social history of the Northwest Territories, particularly in the case of Con Mine and Pine Point.

Con Mine
C.M.S. sent several prospecting parties headed by Ted Nagle into the Yellowknife area in 1928/29, but their searches did not reveal anything significant. During a staking rush in 1935, Bill Jewitt sent a small group of men led by Mike Finland into the Kam Lake area of Yellowknife where they filed ‘CON’ claims in September and October. In 1937 C.M.S. bought an interest in Tom Payne’s adjacent properties, which developed into the Rycon Mine company. The construction of the Con-Rycon mines began on July 13, 1937 under the lead of Bob Armstrong. Production began in the spring of 1938 with the first gold brick poured on September 5, 1938. The Bluefish Hydro plant on Prosperous Lake was built in 1940 to support the energy needs of the mine, and also made Yellowknife the first electrified NWT community. Production at Con Mine ceased between 1943 and 1945 due to WWII although maintenance and development work continued under the direction of geologist Dr. Neil Campbell. The Campbell Shear Zone was named in honour of his hypothesis of a major orebody 2000 feet below the surface of the mine. Its existence was confirmed in 1946, with full production starting in 1963 and continuing until the closure of the mine. In 1953 C.M.S. bought the Negus Mine and found new reserves there. In 1966 C.M.S. changed its name to Cominco. The Robertson shaft – at 250 feet the tallest building in the NWT – was completed in 1977 and eventually reached a depth of 6250 feet. The Con Mine was the most productive gold mine in the NWT, and Cominco’s most successful gold mine.

In 1986 Cominco sold the Con Mine to Nerco Minerals for $46 million US. Con Mine was subsequently bought by Miramar Corporation for $25 million US in 1993. Miramar leased the mining rights of the Giant Mine in 1999 and milled Giant ore at the Con Mine. In 2003 mining ceased at Con, and the processing of Giant ore at Con ceased in 2004. Demolition and reclamation of the mine site occurred over several years, with the demolition of the iconic Robertson headframe - then the tallest structure in the NWT - happening on October 29, 2016.

Through its history, the Con Mine produced 5,276,363 ounces of gold from 12,195,585 tons of ore milled between 1938 and 2003. Over 10,000 gold bars were produced in 65 years of operation.

Pine Point
In 1928 C.M.S. began exploration in the Pine Point area south of Great Slave Lake, and in 1929 formed the Northern Lead Zinc Company with the Atlas Exploration Company and Ventures Ltd. Assessment work on the lead and zinc deposits in the area continued between 1930 to 1948, with extensive exploration drilling 1948 to 1955. Pine Point Mines Ltd. was formed in 1951 with C.M.S. holding a majority interest. In 1962 Pine Point Mines Ltd. began construction on the Great Slave Lake Railway with assistance from Canadian National Railway and the Canadian Federal government’s “Road to Resources” program. This railway line connected Roma Junction, Alberta and Pine Point, a company town that was established in 1964. Mining began in 1963, and mill production started in 1965. Mining ceased due to economics in 1987, and the town officially closed on September 1, 1987. 8.4 billion pounds of zinc and 2.6 billion pounds of lead were produced over the mine’s history. The railway and townsite have since been removed.