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Yellowknife, Northwest Territories (Canada)

Last modified: 2018-07-05 by rob raeside
Keywords: northwest territories | yellowknife | building | sword | maple leaf: gold | leaf: maple (gold) | ship | pick | shovel |
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1:2 image by Eugene Ipavec
Source: Canadian City Flags, Raven 18

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Yellowknife, with a population of 17275 (as of 1996), is also known as Sombak'e (meaning "money place"), and is located approx. at 62°N lat. and 114°W long., on the west shore of Yellowknife Bay on the North Arm of Great Slave Lake. Local languages are Chipewyan, Dogrib, South and North Slavey, English and French, and to the community belongs the electoral district of Frame Lake, Great Slave, Kam Lake, Range Lake, Weledeh, Yellowknife Centre and Yellowknife South.
Antonio Martins, 4 July 2000

Current Flag

Text and image(s) from Canadian City Flags, Raven 18 (2011), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) by permission of Eugene Ipavec.


The flag of the City of Yellowknife is a Canadian pale design of dark blue-white-yellow, with the city’s coat of arms, over three-fourths the height of the flag, in the centre. Its shield has a horizontal top, slightly pointed upper corners, and vertical sides curving in their lower thirds to a point, bordered in yellow. Its field is blue, and contains many elements. In the centre is a naturalistic depiction of a mining head frame in white with black details, set on a horizontal band of green trees over yellow rocks. To the left is a stylized yellow maple leaf with six black veins; to the right are a crossed pick and shovel, handles upward, in yellow. At the top is a wavy white stripe, divided by multiple vertical blue bars, running horizontally nearly the entire width of the shield. Below the horizontal band is a field of blue with three wavy white stripes; above them and surmounting the band is a boat in white with black details, heading to the right. Above the shield is a knife (in falchion shape) in yellow with black details, point upward. At either side of the knife are wings in white; behind it is a half-sun in red with six rays. Above these, and running behind the top of the knife, is a yellow ribbon inscribed in three sections THE CITY OF YELLOW KNIFE NORTHWEST TERRITORIES in black serif letters. Below the shield, and curving up on either side nearly its full height, is a yellow ribbon inscribed MULTUM IN PARVO in black serif letters.
Jim Croft, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


The central symbol is a representation of the old head frame at the Giant Mine in Yellowknife, which, along with the crossed pick and shovel, refers to the city’s gold mining industry. Gold was discovered here in 1896 and in the late 1930s the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada and others began commercial gold mining. Today, mining, especially for diamonds, continues to be a major industry in the area. The maple leaf and the Canadian pale design are both direct references to Canada. The wavy white stripe represents the northern lights or aurora borealis, portrayed with the curtain effect. The blue and white wavy stripes reflect Yellowknife’s location on the Great Slave Lake, one of the largest lakes in North America and the eleventh largest in the world. The boat signifies the maritime commerce, such as fishing and transportation, on the lake. The sun symbolizes another celestial feature of the far North—the Midnight Sun, which remains above the horizon at midnight during summertime. The yellow knife refers to the city’s name. In 1771, explorer Samuel Hearne called this area Yellowknife, as he called the local tribe Yellowknife Indians because he found them using knives and utensils made of pure copper. The wings represent the bush pilots so instrumental in transporting goods and people in the vast areas of the North and serving as a critical link to the outside world. The motto, Multum in Parvo, is Latin for “many things in a small place”, as Yellowknife has many attributes for a small city—it is the capital of the Northwest Territories and a mining, transportation, communication, and tourism centre.
Jim Croft, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


Jim Croft, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


Unknown. Miss Netta Pringle won a contest to design a civic emblem. On 27 June 1956 the city council adopted her design for the coat of arms.
Jim Croft, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011