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Who's Next?

Who's Next?

Surveying the post-Rob-Shaft horizon
By Herb Mathisen
Apr 01
From the April 2015 Issue

It’s not looking good for the Robertston Headframe. The iconic landmark—a relic of Yellowknife’s Con Mine, which turned out gold bars for more than six decades—is one step closer to the scrap heap after the City decided to end negotiations with Newmont, the structure’s current owner, to transfer over ownership of the building. Newmont is completing remediation work on the old mine site, which includes the demolition of the building. After years of talks to save the Rob Shaft, the City voted it down for legal and financial reasons.

It’s an unpopular move. Many note the Robertston Headframe’s importance as a navigational landmark: it stands near the mouth of Yellowknife Bay and is visible out on the big lake for miles. And some will mourn another lost piece of the city’s storied mining heritage.

The 76-metre-tall structure is also currently the tallest building in all three territories. Which got us to thinking: if the unthinkable were to happen, what building would take over that title?

There isn’t much competition in the Yukon. Whitehorse has a height restriction on buildings: the Mah’s Point condo complex, at 20 metres, tops out as its tallest building. In Nunavut, Astro Hill in Iqaluit is home to that territory’s tallest building: the Tukturjuk Tower—at just under 29 metres.

Maybe you don’t have to look too far for the Rob Shaft’s successor. Yellowknife’s skyline boasts 10 buildings over 30 metres in height: if you put together a pan-territorial top-10 list, it would hold nine spots. The lone non-YK tower? Mackenzie Place—the Hay River Highrise—generally regarded as the would-be tallest building North of 60.

But... we couldn’t track down any proof. (And it comes up pretty close to Yellowknife’s next-tallest building, Northern Heights.) We called the buildings’ owners, planning divisions, land title offices, fire marshals, transportation departments, airlines, surveyors and window-washers, and though we got reasoned guess-timates, we couldn’t get a solid answer.

So we’re putting the call out to our readers: help us determine which of those two buildings is tallest.