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Ingraham Trail Hisotry

The Ingraham Trail History

The Ingraham Trail is named in honour of Vic Ingraham. Born an American in 1896, like many others, he came north to seek his fortune. Whilst barging supplies to Port Radium on Great Bear Lake in 1933, the tug carrying Vic Ingraham and three other men hit rough weather. When they tried to refuel, gasoline sloshed against a red-hot exhaust pipe and the tug caught fire. Ingraham plunged into the engine room to try and rescue two crewmen trapped below, and his hands and feet were severely burned. Ingraham and the surviving mate went over the side in a rubber life raft built for one man. For two days they drifted in an icy gale before reaching shore. Ingraham lost both his legs to that misadventure.

With the first gold strikes in Yellowknife, Ingraham was back in the North. He set up and prospered as a trader in the new community, building Yellowknife's first hotel, then a bigger one, and a third. They called him "Old Cedarfoot" for his creaky artificial wooden limbs. Ingraham drank with bush pilots, celebrated with lucky prospectors and grub-staked down-and-outers. He never learned how to turn a man down.



The Road to Resources:

Back in the 1950's then Prime Minister John Diefenbaker campaigned on a promise of opening up the relatively uncharted North with "Roads to Resources". In 1960, construction started on a road from Yellowknife to Fort Reliance, at the far east end of Great Slave Lake. This was to be part of a loop that would eventually extend right around Great Slave Lake. But, forecasts of mineral discoveries along the route proved to be over-optimistic. The project was abandoned, and the Ingraham Trail now ends at Tibbitt Lake, just 69 km out of Yellowknife.


Copyright, Government of the Northwest Territories

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