The Northwest Territories cover an immense tract almost six times the area of the UK
Almost six times the area of the United Kingdom, the Northwest Territories cover an immense tract of Canada that lies north of the 60th parallel and almost reaches the North Pole. The region extends from the high Mackenzie Mountains in the west to the tundra regions of the east (and the border with Nunavut Territory, established in 1999). The tree line, cutting right across the Northwest Territories, constitutes a striking feature, where fir, spruce, and birch forests become treeless tundra.
Winter temperatures of -30°C are recorded in virtually all parts. During the short summer, which lasts only a few weeks, the sun barely sets - hence "land of the midnight sun". In winter, it remains dark virtually round the clock, the so-called "polar night". About 12,000 years ago, following the recession of the last Ice Age, ancestors of present-day First Nations migrated across the Bering Strait from Siberia to mainland North America. In the mid 17th century, the first Europeans penetrated the Canadian northwest, reconnoitering on behalf of the big fur trading companies (the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company). Even until half a century ago, the fur trade was still one of the most important contributors to the region's economy. Now, mineral resources supersede it, with large reserves of copper, zinc, silver, gold, lead, uranium, and other minerals.

 Hay River
[Image: canada-nwt-hay-river.jpg]
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