Far, far in the north of Northwest Territories, on the banks of the Mackenzie River and close (by small plane) to Great Bear Lake, Norman Wells owes its existence to the discovery of oil, which also fuels Norman Wells MICE venues. The regional capital of one of the NWT's five regions, Sahtu, Norman Wells is so far north, a small population of Inuit live here, as well as other First Nations (Sahtu Dene and Metis peoples) and incomers. It can be tough living this far north, above the 65th parallel (the Arctic Circle is a little above the 66th parallel), but the many spring, summer, and autumn days of perpetual or near-to perpetual light make it a glorious place for wildlife and scenery.
The airport, Norman Wells Airport (YVQ), practically in the middle of town, is the community's lifeline and has service to the small Canadian cities of Inuvik and Yellowknife but also to Calgary and Edmonton. The latter is some 1,400 miles to the south, and Yellowknife is 500 miles or so southeast along the Mackenzie River and across Great Slave Lake.
There are no dedicated MICE venues in Norman Wells but there are two full-service hotels, the 57-room Heritage Hotel, which has a small conference room for up to 40 persons and an adjacent golf course with four holes; and the 55-room Mackenzie Valley Hotel, which also has a conference room. Other choices include the 55-room Sahtu Dene Inn & Suites, which is a fine addition to the accommodations options but not as rounded as the Heritage and Mackenzie Valley hotels; the 10-room Rayuka Inn and the 24-room Yamouri Inn. Fifty or so miles southeast along the Mackenzie River brings boaters to the small town of Tulita, where actor Leslie Nielsen lived for a few boyhood years and in which sits the eight-room Two Rivers Inn.
There's little function space in Norman Wells, with groups perhaps best of meeting during the morning at the Heritage Hotel and enjoying afternoon and early evening (all evening if the light is out, which it probably will be) activities along the Mackenzie River and in the Great Outdoors. The Norman Wells Historical Centre has a very interesting museum and the small Canol Theatre with a movie screen. Adventurous choices include Canoe North Adventures, based in Norman Wells, which puts on river trips ranging from half-days to full-blown affairs, and North Wright Airways, also based in the city and which has a fleet of hydro planes that can be used for fishing, hiking, and picnic trips.
Restaurants in Norman Wells are in its hotels, including most notably the restaurants inside the Hermitage and Mackenzie Valley hotels.