Why didn’t I just sail in the tropics, I’m often asked? Not only because I’ve already been there. The main reason is that the expansive Arctic fascinates me much more than warmer seas. Simple. Here [along the Northwest Passage] there are so many interesting, beautiful scenic places... and people... it would be a pity to just simply bypass them.
There is excitement in the air in Arviat. Something new is happening. The Arviat Community Ecotourism (ACE) initiative is a grassroots project involving many individuals and several small businesses in Arviat, with a vision to establish a sustainable community-based tourism enterprise.
The regulatory approvals and other news surrounding the latest Mackenzie Valley Pipeline proposal brings back fond memories of the best broadcasters I have ever worked with and they are not names like Mansbridge, Duffy or Halton, all excellent broadcasters and former colleagues.
“We went to Ukkusiksalik. Toota and Jimmy Thom, Iqungajuq and Niaqukituq, and Iqungajuq’s brothers. They started building the Hudson’s Bay post. Iqungajuq’s mother went along too. My mother was Toota. My real father was Jimmy Thom. I have heard that my real father left when I was a year old. My Inuit [adopted] father was Iqungajuq.”
For centuries, European explorers seeking the Northwest Passage ate poorly, often paying the ultimate price for not knowing how to sustain themselves in the harsh environment of Canada’s North. At the same time, the indigenous people of this region ate well, having mastered the essential skills to wrest a balanced diet from this same unforgiving environment.
As Parks Canada reaches its centennial in 2011, its mission has evolved even as it continues to oversee corners of the country that remain well and truly remote even in the 21st century. With around 300,000 square kilometres now designated as national park holdings, around three-quarters of that total consists of large, entirely roadless areas to the north. Understanding a park’s ecological integrity means keeping tabs on what is happening to the plants, animals, rocks, and water within its boundaries.
In 1908 two individuals from the south bought round-trip tickets to the Arctic Ocean from the Hudson’s Bay Company. In doing so, former British Columbia school principal, Agnes Deans Cameron, accompanied by her niece, Jessie Cameron Brown, became the first white women to penetrate the Arctic Circle on their own. They travelled by a combination of railway cars, open-to-the-weather stagecoaches and scows, oxcarts and river steamers.