Life in a Northern Town, Pt. 2

In the late 1930s, a young lab technician and photography enthusiast named Leonard Willing arrived in boom-town Yellowknife. Over the next decade and a half, he took hundreds of photos, which together paint an intimate and enduring portrait of life and work during the town’s gold rush days. You can read more about Willing in the first series of his photos we published last month. Here, back by popular demand, some more of our favourites. Much thanks to Glenn Willing, Leonard’s nephew, who rediscovered the photos decades after his uncle left Yellowknife and has given EDGE permission to publish them. Again, little is known about the identities of many of the people seen here. If you recognize anyone, or can fill us in on the backstories of some of these striking images, please let us know.

The original Wildcat Cafe

Leave Your Assays Here: outside the YK Supplies and Drugstore

A proto-houseboater, circa 1938

An early pilot, perhaps, standing beside a plane with its engine in a hanger

Dressed for the weather

Shack life, with toboggans

Men at work,  by the Con Mine utilidor

Cutting firewood at Negus Mine, 1938/39

Boats at Negus docks, 1938

Negus headframe, 1939/40

Out for a drive at Negus, 1939/40

Setting up an A-frame to recover a tractor that has fallen through the ice at Con Mine, 1939

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