Fort Providence

Fort Providence

Zhahti Kųę – “Mission house place”

Population: 815

Stretching along a high bank overlooking the broad Mackenzie, this historic Dene community is an essential stop for road-trippers. Just five kilometres west of Hwy 3, it boasts a placid campground on the riverfront, top-notch fishing (pike, pickerel, grayling), and distinctive crafts – porcupine quillwork is a local specialty. Also, keep your eyes peeled for bison, which ramble the dusty streets and graze in local yards.

Location: 61°21′ N, 117°40′ W
Elevation: 160 metres
Population: 734
Traditional name: Zhahti Kųę
Name means: “Mission house”
Setting: On the north bank of the Mackenzie River, just a few dozen kilometres downstream from Great Slave Lake
Languages: Slavey, English
Ethnicities: Dene, Métis, non-Aboriginal
Getting there: By all season road from Hay River (two hours) and Yellowknife (3.5 hours)
Founded In: The 1860s, when Roman Catholic Oblates opened a mission, boarding school and orphanage here, calling the site “Providence.” By 1868 the Hudson Bay Company had opened a trading post nearby, calling it “Fort Providence”
Claim to fame: One-tonne wood bison, which roam the dusty streets, often browsing in locals’ front yards
Visit for: Purchasing local arts and crafts; watching the tremendous crash of ice-floes when the Mackenzie River breaks up; the Bison Jamboree (end of March)
Best daytrip: Flightseeing over nearby attractions such as Great Slave Lake, the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary and Lady Evelyn Falls
Best expedition: Setting off from here to paddle the Mackenzie River
Historic highlight: Opening of the Deh Cho Bridge (the only bridge across the Mackenzie River) in 2012
Notable locals: Robert McLeod, premier of the Northwest Territories; Michael McLeod, the Northwest Territories' Member of Parliament




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Located on the south bank of the mighty Mackenzie River where it empties out of Great Slave Lake, just a short way from the Mackenzie River ferry crossing at Fort Providence, this us great spot to take a break before continuing your journey north or south....

The Deh Cho Bridge near Fort Providence is the only bridge to straddle Canada’s biggest river, the Mackenzie. It's twice as long as any other bridge in Northern Canada. It was also the costliest piece of infrastructure in territorial history, with a...

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Enjoy great fishing, bison and bird watching, and take advantage of the services available in nearby historic Fort Providence, featuring visitor services, tours, fishing, groceries, a motel and restaurant. The campground is on the north bank of the Mackenzie River...

Perched on the banks of the Mackenzie, this placid, timber-shrouded campground is an ideal basecamp for fishing the big river and exploring the town of Fort Providence, three kilometres downstream. You’ll find powered campsites, potable water, showers, picnic tables,...

For roadtrippers, this is an ideal spot to stretch your legs, lay out a picnic and enjoy your first glimpse of the big Mackenzie River as it begins its 1,750-kilometre odyssey to the Arctic Ocean. Situated just a few kilometres shy of the Dehcho Bridge and the...