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Northwest territories


  • The Northwest Territories is the second largest, and most populated of Canada's three federal territories, with a total land area 1,144,000 square kilometers.
  • The current population of the territory is 44, 826, with approximately half that population residing in the capital of NWT; Yellowknife.
  • Northwest Territories is bordered by the Prairies to the South, Yukon to the West, and Nunavut to the North and East.
  • Due to its location, the NWT is commonly known as 'The land of the midnight sun'. During summer, is it almost continuously daylight, because the sun rarely sets, and during winter months it is almost completely dark.
  • From August to January, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) are visible in the night sky.
  • Mining is the primary industry sector of the economy in NWT
  • The NWT has dramatic landscapes from waterfalls, deep canyons, to limestone cave systems. The territory also provides several opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, from hiking, canoeing, snowmobiling, to dog sledding.


In NWT, more than 50% of the population is made up of aboriginal people. The largest ethnic groups in the territory includes First Nations, Canadian, English, Scottish, Irish, Inuit, French, German, Metis, and Ukranian.


The Northwest Territories are located in northern Canada and borders the other two Canadian provinces; Yukon to the west, and Nunavut to the East. Additionally, NWT borders the province of British Columbia to the Southwest, and Saskatchewan, and Alberta to the south.

Prominent geographical features of the territory include Great Bear Lake; Canada's largest lake, Great Slave lake; deepest water body in North America, Mackenzie River, and the UNESCO world heritage site; Nahanni National Park Reserve.

The highest point in NWT is Mount Nirvana, near the Yukon border, at a height of 2,773 m (9,098 ft).


Although English is the predominant language used in NWT, the territories recognize 10 other official languages, including French, Cree, Inuktitut, Chipewyan/Dené, Gwich'in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, South Slavey, and Tłįchǫ.

However, in a court of law only English and French languages are considered to be binding.

In terms of religious faith, 46% of the population in NWT claim to associate with Roman Catholicism, 15% with Anglican, 6% with United Church of Canada, while 17.5% of the population stated that they don't associate with any religious faith.


The climate of the NWT varies from the North to the South of the Territory, but in general the climate is relatively dry, due to the mountains in the west. The Southern part of the territory experiences a subarctic climate, while the northern parts experience a polar climate.

In the northern parts, summers are short and cool, with daytime temperatures ranging between 14-17 degrees Celsius, while winters are long and harsh, with average temperatures ranging in the mid 20's, with occasional lows of -40 degree Celsius.

In the south, the summer temperatures are in the mid 20's, with occasional highs of 35 degree Celsius, and lows of 0 degrees Celsius. In winter, temperatures in the south are on average between 15-20 degrees Celsius but can drop as low as - 40 degrees Celsius.


To receive healthcare as an international student in NWT, you will need to register and receive an NWT Health Care card. The NWT healthcare card is valid for 3 years and covers basic medical treatments like doctor visits and hospital stays. It does not cover extended health benefits like prescription medicines, eyeglasses, dental services, or certain medical supplies.

You can pay and get private healthcare plans which covers a range of medical treatments, not covered by public health cover.

University Education

The Northwest Territories only house one post-secondary education institution; Aurora College, a publicly funded college, with its main campus located in Fort Smith.

Aurora college comprises of three campuses; Thebacha in Fort Smith, North Slave in Yellowknife, and Aurora in Inuvik, as well as 23 community learning centers located throughout the territory.

Aurora College provides transfer programs, certificates, diplomas, and literacy programs, skills development programs, trades training, educational assessment, and counselling.

Universities and Colleges in Northwest Territories

Why Study in the Northwest Territories?

The Northwest Territories boasts spectacular beauty, and plenty of opportunities for people to enjoy its scenery, and outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, view the northern lights, celebrate indigenous cultures and more.

Economy/ Key Industries

The primary industries contributing to the NWT economy is diamond mining, oil, and gas industries, as well as the production and sale of energy, and fur trade.

In the next 10 years, the labour market of NWT predicts that there would be 30,000 – 35,000 new job openings within the territory.

The GDP of the NWT is $4.8 billion and has the highest per capita GDP of all provinces and territories in Canada.

Geological resources in NWT includes gold, diamonds, natural gas, and petroleum. BP is the only oil company that produces oil in the territory. BHP Billiton, and Rio Tinto, two of the world's biggest mineral resource companies, mine a lot of their diamonds from NWT. In 2010, nearly 30% of Rio Tinto's total diamond production and 100% of BHP Billiton's diamond production was from NWT.

Tourism is a growing sector in NWT, due to world heritage sites like “Nahanni National Park Reserve”, Tuktut National park, the visibility of the Northern lights, Aulavik National Park, Wood Buffalo National Park, and more.

Popular Sightseeing Attractions

  • Nahanni National Park Reserve
  • Woof Buffalo National Park
  • Great Slave Lake
  • Hay River
  • The Northwest Passage
  • MacKenzie River
  • Great Bear Lake
  • Victoria Island
  • Banks Island
  • Norman Wells Historical Centre
  • Viewing the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)
  • Ice Roads
  • Dempster Highway