Editor’s note: As a matter of full disclosure, the previous staff member from Cornerstone Pentecostal Church’s daycare is a relative of the story’s author.

The Yellowknife Women’s Society daycare has returned to normal operations following a fire which put them out of their building for months.

On Feb. 15 at the Centre for Northern Families, a fan in a wall shorted out which caused an electrical fire. The fire itself caused little damage, but the entire building had to be renovated from the damage caused by the smoke.

Karen Rawson, the daycare and family programs director, said that no one was at fault for the cause of the fire.

She said that when she learned that they would not be able to operate at their facility for multiple weeks, she began to look for an alternative space. She was turned down by many.

“Everywhere I contacted already had other events occurring, were not able to get back to me, or would not be up to code to house a daycare even temporarily,” she said.

She reached out to Cornerstone Pentecostal Church and their board unanimously approved the use of their church as a daycare. The church used to run their own daycare before closing in 2018, said one previous staff member.

Children playing at the Centre for Northern Families after renovations were completed following an indoor fire. Jonathan Gardiner/NNSL photo

The Yellowknife Women’s Society ran their daycare at the church which Rawson said worked out well for them despite having to extend their agreement until the end of April. They returned to their own facility on May 8.

It cost $136,000 to renovate both bathrooms, the adjacent room to the bathroom where the fire was contained, replace all affected floors, paint all the walls, clean everything in the building, and remove the fan that caused the fire. It cost an additional $20,000 to relocate and move back to their facility.

Rawson said that she was grateful to the church for sharing their space and for the immediate and overwhelming response from the community to help out however possible.

“Children and staff are very happy to be back in our newly renovated space,” she said.

Jonathan Gardiner

After a tough break looking for employment in Alberta, I moved to Yellowknife in 2017 and became a multimedia journalist in 2022. I enjoy the networking side of my job, and I also aspire to write my...

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