The Northwest Territories and Yukon Radio System (NWT&Y)…or how we got to Northwestel …

Map of “the system” via http://www.nwtandy.rcsigs.ca/map_system.htm

… or how we got to Northwestel

“…In 1922, the vast Canadian north, from Hudson Bay to the Alaska border, comprising of the Northwest Territories and the Yukon Territory, had no means of communication with civilization, or “outside” as it was known, except a limited mail service by boat in summer and dog-team in winter. In addition to this limited mail service Dawson City, YT was served by a telegraph line from Hazelton, BC operated by the Dominion Government Telegraph Service. The telegraph line was none too reliable due mainly to maintenance difficulties as it ran for hundreds of miles through uninhabited wilderness and over extremely rugged terrain. […] The story of the Northwest Territories and Yukon Radio System (NWT&Y) is a virtually unknown saga in the history of the development of northern Canada. The contributions of the men who staffed the stations are largely unheralded. In his post-script to the official history, WO1 Cal Vince says: “Northerners will also remember Signals primarily as magistrates, Airways and Transportation agents, acting minions of the law and prime movers in community affairs. It is the unmistakeable fact that the fine reputation built by the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals during 37 eventful years of service in the north country was not the result of the efforts of one, two or even three individuals, but rather the results of the combined efforts of every officer and man who served on this now non-existent arm of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals.” These are not the normal roles of soldiers on active service. But there in the Canadian northland they were engaged in unusual circumstances and eventful times. Not only was Canada’s northern frontier and its resources in the early stages of exploration and development, but the science, technology and practical applications of global telecommunications and air transportation were also probing new frontiers. The Royal Canadian Corps of Signals was asked by the Government of Canada to step into the breach and fill the void in long-distance telecommunication to serve those industries and the embryonic communities in the northern territories. In the process the Signallers found themselves, perforce, fulfilling duties far beyond anything they had learned at the School of Signals in Vimy Barracks. In enthusiasm, ability, dedication and inventiveness they were not found wanting. In the nearly four decades (1923-59) that their System operated they left behind them a proud and impressive legacy…”
See the full story at….
http://www.nwtandy.rcsigs.ca/

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