Hay River Tourist Attractions
Hay River is one of the largest places in the Mackenzie District. On the southern bank of Great Slave Lake, it is the southernmost port on the Mackenzie river system.
Hay River's strategic position earned it the title of "Center of the North". Here freight (mainly building materials and fuel) destined for settlements along the Mackenzie River and in the Arctic was and continues to be transferred to barges. During the four to five-month summer season, the port is choc-a-bloc with barges, fishing boats and coastguard launches. Fish processing - white fish from the Great Slave Lake, also trout, pike etc. - is a long-established industry.For thousands of years this was the home of the Slave and Dene Indians. The Hudson's Bay Company built the first trading post here in 1868, which rapidly became the main trans-shipment point for the north. But it wasn't until the Mackenzie region began to be opened up by road that the population really started to expand. A railway, the Eine Railroad, built for transporting ore, was only completed in 1964. Road building in the Mackenzie region also pushed ahead from Hay River. The discovery of oil and natural gas in the far north, a region in the opening up of which Hay River played an important role, brought further new development.
The little wooden houses of the old town lie at the mouth of the Hay River, where the quays are piled high with supplies for dispatch to distant settlements. This is also where the fishermen live, often returning home with rich catches from the Great Slave Lake or Hay and Mackenzie rivers.
Devastating floods led to Hay River building of a new town center on higher ground.The new town area was built in the mid 1960s following the flooding of 1963. Despite the move, Hay River is still effected by flooding in the spring.
Twin Falls Territorial Park
The most notable feature of Twin Falls Territorial Park are the Alexandra and Louise Falls. A spiral staircase leads visitors to the top of the Hay River canyon at the lip of the Louise Falls. An interpretive walking trail winds along the top of the Hay River Gorge from Alexandra Falls to Louise Falls. Display panels at Twin Falls Territorial Park discuss the importance of the falls to the First Nations people of the region.
Diamond Jenness School
The Diamond Jenness School, opposite the tower block, is an outstanding example of northern architecture. Named after an anthropologist who, around 1910, was the first to study northern native culture, its color purple makes it the landmark of Hay River.
Hay River Coast Guard Station
Anyone wanting to find out more about the kind of situation that can arise on Great Slave Lake and along the MacKenzie River should arrange to visit the Hay River Coast Guard station.
Hay River Indian Reserve
Hay River Indian Reserve, a few miles outside the town, centers on the old Hudson's Bay Company's trading post, where there are still a few old buildings, including a church.
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