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Northwest Territories: Location and Land


Canada's Northwest Territories (N.W.T.) are above Saskatchewan, Alberta, and eastern British Columbia and lie between the Yukon and Nunavut north of the 60th parallel.


The size of the Northwest Territories changed on April 1, 1999,with the creation of Nunavut. The area of the former Northwest Territories, which stretched from the Yukon east to Baffin Island and included all of the Arctic archipelago, was reduced by approximately two-thirds, from 3,426,320 km2 to 1,171,918 km2. This is not the first time that the Northwest Territories has undergone dramatic boundary changes. At one point or another during the N.W.T.'s history, it has included all of Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Yukon and most of Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

The Land

The Northwest Territories, "the Land of the Midnight Sun" can be divided into two broad geographical regions:

  • taiga, a boreal forest belt that circles the sub arctic zone, including most of the Northwest Territories.
  • tundra, the vast, rocky plain in the Arctic regions, where the extreme climate has stunted vegetation.

Lakes / Rivers

  • Great Bear Lake (31328 km2), is the eighth largest lake in the world;
  • Great Slave Lake (28 568 km2) is the tenth largest lake in the world);
  • Mackenzie River - Canada's longest river flows 4241 km from the Great Slave Lake to the Beaufort Sea.

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