History of the Northwest Territories Yukon and Radio System

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The following text is from two manuscripts held by the C&E Museum - the original and a slightly edited version. The author is WO1 "Cal" Vince (Retd). The original manuscript, dated June 1960, is presented here with only very minor edits to correct the tense in a few places, and the deletion of some personal observations that were left out by an earlier editor.

A Short History

of the

Northwest Territories and Yukon Radio System

by WO1 Cal Vince


The aim in preparing this concise history of the Northwest Territories and Yukon Radio system was an attempt to record the highlights of events in a chronological order, so that those interested in the System may obtain a clearer view of the functions and responsibilities the Corps assumed when given the task of establishing and operating the System.

The Radio System was known in the communication field as an efficient, reliable and rapid means of communication throughout the vast Northland. the high standard of operating and low error factor speaks well of the men who were employed on the System.

With the loss of the System the Signal Corps regrettably lost a most valuable method of training Signals personnel in maintaining equipment and the art of passing traffic efficiently. It also taught men to be self-reliant and readily accept responsibility, which in turn provided excellent NCOs and officers of the Corps.


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.


1923-29      1930-39      1940-49      1950-60

See Also

For sidebar stories on life in the North during those years go to:

Stories Page
Special Events Page
Vignettes Page