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A Trip to the Top of the World

Dog sleds, inukshuks and cold, oh my!

My post f
or this month is about Northern Canada seen through the eyes of a friend of mine who lives in Toronto.

I love to travel even if it’s vicariously through someone else. My friend Bev was away last month on business. That’s hardly odd in itself. It’s where she was that’s interesting. Work had taken her to Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, the largest and newest federal territory of Canada. Nunavut was officially separated from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, resulting in the first major change to Canada's map since Newfoundland became a Canadian province in 1949.

Nunavut makes up a major portion of Northern Canada, and most of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, making it the fifth-largest country subdivision in the world. Nunavut is both the least populous and the largest in geography of the provinces and territories of Canada and home to the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world, Alert.

The flag of Nunavut bears an inukshuk. Many people will recognize the inukshuk as the symbol of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. In a land without trees, stones are used to construct an inukshuk which is used by the Inuit for communication and survival. The traditional meaning of the inukshuk is "Someone was here" or "You are on the right path." It could be a navigation or directional aid, a marker to show a place of respect or memorial for a beloved person or to indicate migration routes or places where fish can be found.

I’m so grateful to Bev for allowing me to use her photos for this March article. All photos except the licence plate and the inukshuk are courtesy of Bev Bernbaum.

Here’s a view of the Arctic landscape from the plane.

The centre of town seen from the plane during landing.

The Iqaluit airport.

Here is Bev’s home away from home, the Nunattaq Bed and Breakfast, also known as 4141. The main form of public transportation in town is by taxi and the cab drivers don't know streets, they know the building numbers.

Signs in the community are in English and Inuktituk.

Here’s the post office.

Bev said the bank is the same one she uses in Toronto.

I love the name of the restaurant, Fantasy Palace. Bev said they serve great soups.

Downtown Iqaluit. There's a Tim Horton's at the end of the block. Does this mean that there is no Canadian community without the ubiquitous Canadian doughnut shop?

This is the view from one of the windows at the back of the house.

Here’s the moon setting at 8:30 in the morning from the kitchen window.

Bev took this photo while walking along the bay to get to the museum.

The hospital, called Qikitani General Hospital, was formerly known as Baffin Regional Hospital.

The temperature shows a balmy -25°C or -13°F. I say balmy because one day the temperature dropped to -52°C or -72.4°F.

The next set of photos is the main reason I wanted to post about Bev’s trip to Iqaluit. Two women took her dog sledding and the photos are amazing.

Here are some of the dogs that will be harnessed to the sled. Bev said the dogs got so excited when they knew they were going for a run.

Here the harnesses for the ten dogs are all laid out in a very neat and orderly way but when the dogs were being hooked up, they got all jumbled together.

Harnessing one of the dogs.

Heading out, across the river into Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park. Bev was sitting right at the front of the sled.

Stopped at the side of a hill out of the wind to have hot chocolate and snacks and give the dogs a break.

Beautiful dogs lit with the golden sunlight. Lovely photo.

Heading back, Bev stood on the back of the sled. She said, “The dogs would run up an incline and stop to look back at us as if to say... "You're kidding, right?" During the return trip she’d step off the back and run with the sled to push and keep warm and then jump back on.

So I hope you enjoyed our little trip to an incredibly beautiful part of Canada. Thanks to Bev for allowing us to share her adventure and for letting me use her wonderful photos.

See you next month and stay naughty,


Kaenar Langford

Tales to seduce and entice…


Kaenar Langford

Tales to seduce and entice…


widdershins said...

That was .... beautiful... thank you Bev!

Lisabet Sarai said...

Fabulous! Thank you friend and thank you, Kaenar!

Gabriella Hewitt said...

Oh wow. Lovely and very cold. I am shivering just looking at it;)

Victoria Roder said...

Thanks for sharing the pictures and insight. What fun!