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The Arctic - Iqaluit, Nunavut 
April 2001


Nunavut is the third territory of Canada, created on April 1, 1999 from a large portion of the Northwest Territories.  In Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit people seen written above, Nunavut means "Our Land" and is a region of Inuit self government containing about 30,000 residents in Canada's arctic.  Iqaluit is the capital and seat of government where I visited for a week.  So how did I end up visiting here?  My folks moved up there to work with the government for a few years so this afforded a rare opportunity to experience the North.

What used to be the Northwest Territories was split into two halves, the larger of which is Nunavut as seen here.

Click here for a 360 degree Panoramic view of the landscape surround Iqaluit


  An Inukshuk at sunset.  These are markers left on the landscape as signals to others.
Here's my Mom and I out for a walk, not a bad self portrait if I do say so myself.      
These Ravens are HUGE, they have been seen to stalk cats.  I Thought this was an interesting shot. Now here is my first viewing of the Northern lights.  No, not a spectacular viewing but you can kinda see them faintly.  I want to go back some time and see if I can see the real deal...

 

To the left an Inuit dog and an igloo built for an igloo building competition.

On the right, bustling downtown Iqaluit.

 

 

Not often you see a Stop sign in Inuktitut.


Toonik Tyme

Toonik Tyme is an annual spring celebration with lots of activities, some based on Inuit traditions and others on more modern ones.  Some of the more modern ones were a kite festival, snowmobile races while here, you can see some games based on traditional practices, an under-the-net race, spear throwing, and Jump roping.  Lucky for me I happened to be there at the right time to see and participate.

Dog Sledding

 
 
  These are Canadian Inuit dogs (Canis familiaris borealis), not huskies.  This breed is the official animal of the territory and is called a Qimmiq in Inuktitut.  It is one of the oldest pure breeds of dog in the world and has been in the arctic for over 4000 years.  They are well adapted for the arctic climate and the working lifestyle of sled dogs living only on a meat and fat diet.  You can tell the health of a dog by whether it's curved tail is held upright.  If it's not, then the dog may be ill.  

 

A shot of Ted (my stepdad) and Mia (my mom) while we were out on the ice.  These two are the greatest :-)

 

 

On the Sled !  An amazing trip for an afternoon.  Only bummer was that I did badly damage my foot slamming it into a piece of ice.  Might need surgery for it, ugh! (Update,  had surgery for it in August, 5 months after the injury.  Good news is they were very successful in reattaching the damaged connective tissue to the bone, yay!)

  This is me taking a dog to the sled to get hooked up, talk about powerful anmals !   If you let them walk on all fours while you walk them, they can pull you off balance they are so strong.  That's why you have to walk them on hind legs so you can guide them.  These are NOT lap dogs...

     

 

On the left is my mom and the trip leader, Matty McNair of Northwinds expeditions.  I was steering the sled standing on the back as per Matty's instructions.  A remarkable person.  She has been to the magnetic and geographic north pole a number of times, wrote a great book, On Thin Ice, about her experiences.  A very experienced, no nonsense adventurer.  She and her husband run their business out of Iqaluit.

     

A parting Shot of Inukshuks near Iqaluit


For more information about Nunavut and the North:

Northwinds Expeditions

Government of Nunavut

The Story of Nunavut's creation