Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Tsiigehtchic (Arctic Red River), a northernly community on the banks of the Mackenzie river, Canada

Tsiigehtchic (="mouth of the iron river") is a native village in the Northwest Territories of Canada, on the banks of the Mackenzie River, where its waters are joined by the Arctic Red River. It's also a strategic point at Dempster Highway - where it runs  by ferry crossing through the MacKenzie river.

The settlement founded in 1868 was first a Catholic Mission, then in the 1870's a Hudson Bay Company trading post was established. By that time it was named 'Arctic Red River.'

Tsiigehtchic (Arctic Red River)
NWT Canada

Coordinates: 67° 26′N, 133° 44′W
              165 km north of the Arctic Circle
Population : ~170

Tsiigehtchic enjoys a picturesque setting at the confluence of the two rivers, sitting high on the bank, overlooking the site where their waters meet.

The Catholic Mission in Tsiigehtchic was first established in 1868. Two churches are now facing each other.

View of the Community; at right (blue building) the Trapper's Store.

Trapper's Store & Post Office

Children with popsicles they bought at Trapper's Store

Most of the 170 inhabitants still follow a traditional lifestyle of hunting, fishing and trapping; many spend extended periods of the year living “out on the land”, just as they have always done.

The basic healthcare unit.

'Tsii' has a post office, a school, a sports rink, a local office and a grocery store, more a few other amenities. The tiny health center has a visiting nurse that is kept for a month in the peak of winter.

The School

The Community Band Office, for native meetings and arts.

Snowmobile is the main transportation over iced roads. Children use them like bikes.

Arctic Red River

As said above, the Artic Red is a subsidiary of the Mackenzie; its basin still provides many of the basics of life for the people of Tsiigehtchic: trees are cut in the white spruce forests for heating homes and, in the summer and fall, the river is full of fish nets tended by the residents.

The ferry crossing at Tsii is vital for drivers on the Dempster Highway, the only Yukon road up to Inuvik and Tuktoyaktok.

Ferry 'Louis Cardinal'

Its course runs on the other bank of the Artic Red River.

In the winter an ice road crosses and follows the Mackenzie all the way north to the Arctic Ocean. Inuvik, the last village on the Dempster Highway is about a two-hour drive.

The Dempster Highway is a 740 KM gravel road journey from Dawson City to Inuvik, running through Yukon and the Northwest Territories, crossing the Arctic Circle and offering incredible scenery, wide open spaces and remote beauty.

The Arctic Red River basic also offers amazing landscapes.

And still, of course, at this latitude the best show in town: auroras.