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The North’s Best Kept Secret: The Long John Jamboree

Winter in Canada’s North can be long and dark. So when spring finally gets to rolling around and the sun is up a little longer, it’s a call for celebration. We found out about one such celebration in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories: The Long John Jamboree.

The Long John Jamboree goes down on frozen Great Slave Lake, the second largest lake in Northwest Territories. And though it’s billed as something of a welcoming of spring, for those of us used to the weather in southern Canada it’s very much still a winter festival. Winter and outdoor games such as curling, ice carving, pond hockey, and lumber jack racing are constantly going down within the Jamboree’s grounds, as well as helicopter rides over the lake, dogsled races and rides, and pancake and chilli cook-offs.

While all of the events are pretty cool, you can’t miss the Burn On The Bay and any and all parties within the ice castle. The Burn On The Bay is an annual event in which a large wooden sculpture is built, and promptly torched in front of the masses under an open sky, and usually, the Northern Lights.

Accompanying the Long John Jamboree is the Snowking’s Ice Castle. This massive ice castle is something to behold and worthy of a trip to Yellowknife in it’s own right. Construction begins early on this one as builders cut out large chunks of Great Slave Lake to build this amazing venue. Of all of the ice fortresses and castles we’ve ever seen, this one is far and and away the largest and most intricate. The multiple roomed castle features ice dining areas, concert halls with towering ice ceilings, ice-slides, and courtyards.

With an ice castle of such scale, weddings, concerts, and parties occur nearly nightly throughout the Long John Jamboree. 

Everything You Need To Know To Go


An incredible party and winter festival to celebrate the arrival of spring in Yellowknife.  You can check out the full schedule of events here.


Long John Jamboree: March 24-26, 2017
Snowking Winter Festival: March 1-26,  2017


Great Slave Lake, Yellowknife, NWT

What Do I Need To Bring

It’s cold out there. Very cold. We highly recommend a down jacket and insulated boots. Be sure to bring plenty of layers and warm mittens. A face mask or scarf may be of benefit, and sunglasses are recommended.


Explorer Hotel, Coast Fraser Tower, Super 8 YellowknifeChateau Nova Yellowknife


Like this post? Check out Your Self-Guided Tour To The Best Eats And Drinks In Yellowknife and Longer Days Mean Longer Nights: A Guide To Nightlife In Yellowknife, NWT, too!

Trip Details

For details on anything mentioned in this post check out these links

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