About the Project

Living as I do in sub-Arctic Canada, near the rocky shores of Great Slave Lake, I learned to give by simply watching nature. The heat of the sun, clean water, clean air, wildlife…you start to see everything nature does as a gift, and you want to give back. I feel blessed by so much giving, and grateful. I have such a good life here.

This website is my ode to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

After receiving so much from nature – meaningful work, good friends, the northern lights on cold winter nights, round-the-clock sunshine on my garden during summer – it is time for me to pay homage to it, and the unsung heroes around me who give tirelessly, often anonymously, to make our community kind and caring. I am interested in unique and original acts of giving, small gestures that have ripple effects.

There is something about giving in Yellowknife that is different from anywhere else. Many of us live away from our families – our natural support system – so we learn to rely on each other for comfort and joyful moments. With less than 20,000 people, Yellowknife is relatively small, so we often know the recipients of our giving. There is an immediacy to our actions. If you don't happen to know the people immediately, well, soon enough you find out they were your son's hockey coach, the nurse treating you at the medical clinic or the person greeting you in front of the post office, obviously tired from walking all day and a sleepless night spent outside. In some way, shape or form, we all know each other, and I think it forces us to be more accepting of one another. This great lesson in diversity, we also learned from nature. Yellowknife is one of the most cosmopolitan cities I have ever encountered, on so many levels.

My Yellowknife includes my Dene friends in N'dilo and Dettah, two adjoining First Nations communities built on understanding nature’s giving, and the need to give back. With them, I don’t have to explain why I’m here. But others, like me, who were not born in this area, often have to justify why they continue to stay. ‘If only people could see Yellowknife through our eyes,’ we think to ourselves, well, here is a chance!

You will find on this website 17 short films and more than a dozen original works created by local artists, all exploring the art of giving in Yellowknife. You will not see any faces so as to highlight the act itself, instead of the giver or the recipient.

So sit comfortably, take a deep breath and delve in. You will soon come to realize why we live here.

Welcome to Yellowknife!

France Benoit
Film Director