Seeking True North, Day 15:  Iqaluit, NU, to Ottawa, ON.
In 1999, a long-held dream of the Inuit people was realized with the creation of Canada's newest territory.  Carving off the eastern 60% of the Northwest Territories, Nunavut spans three time zones and includes most of the eastern half of northern Canada covering a barren landscape of 734,000 square miles and accounting for one-fifth Canada's total area.  Since this was designed as an opportunity for Inuit self-rule, the new government was mandated to protect and promote Inuit lifestyle and culture.

On paper, the territory of Nunavut brings together about 37,000 people in 26 far-flung tiny Inuit communities in an area three times the size of Texas, all north of the 60th parallel and with no roads connecting them.  Territory-wide about 85% of the populace is of Inuit descent.  After many years of negotiation with the Canadian government and the government of the Northwest Territories, the Inuit people signed the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NCLA) with the other parties in 1993.
Ceremony held on the founding of Nunavut, 1999 (photo from Wikipedia)
A sweeping document, the NLCA covered all aspects of life and appears to have granted the Inuit many privileges and advantages, including:
•  the central and eastern portions of the then Northwest Territories as the separate Inuit-dominated territory of Nunavut;
•  title to 140,000 square miles of land (about the size of Montana) that had been titled to the government;
•  the right to harvest wildlife by their own traditions throughout Nunavut, regardless of federal laws to the contrary;
•  a share of government royalties from oil, gas and mineral extraction on federal land;
•  preference in government hiring (toward a target of 85% Inuit government employees);
•  preference in public housing;
•  capital payout of $1.9 billion over 15 years.

What appears at first blush to give the Inuit of Nunavut unique economic opportunities and political leverage has not provided the linear progression one might expect.  Rather Nunavut flounders at the bottom of Canadian statistics in fulfilling the most basic needs of its people for education, housing, and adequate food.  In other areas, Nunavut's statistics far exceed the national average, sometimes by as much as 1000%:  drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, food insecurity, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, child abuse, violent crime, and suicide.  More than half of Inuit high school students drop out before completion.
Inuit proudly displaying the flag of their new territory in 1999
We would not pretend to understand the causes of this malady in a four-day trip, but extensive reading of works by people who have conducted lengthy research and observations suggests a familiar pattern of origin—the collision of a European-based culture with an Aboriginal one.

Until the 1960s, the Inuit people lived in family groups in nomadic camps following the game that sustained all their needs for food, shelter and clothing.  Over a period of several thousand years, they had successfully adapted their lifestyle to the cold and hostile environment of the Arctic tundra.  With the land unsuited for agriculture, they mastered challenging specialized skills involving fishing, hunting and trapping.  And they were very good at it.  This nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle linked to the natural world allowed them to achieve self-sufficiency and live off the land.

Once Europeans entered the Arctic area in larger numbers, the Inuit were under greater and greater pressure to abandon their nomadic ways and move into permanent settlements.  During one period in the 1950s and 1960s, it is alleged that police conducted mass slaughters of Inuit sled dogs—their only means of transportation—to force them to move into settlements.  This traumatic transition, accomplished in less than two generations, thrust the Inuit from their familiar partnership with nature—considered primitive by Western standards—into a modern sedentary lifestyle with permanent housing, snowmobiles, and satellite TV.  A bit like putting a fish into a birdcage and wondering why it isn't thriving.

The highly developed Inuit hunting and trapping skills—crafted over many generations—were of little use in this new culture.  Indeed, after their living in settlements brought the traditional Inuit way of life under greater scrutiny, pressure was applied by international conservationist and animal activist groups to curtail the very activities the Inuit had depended upon for survival.  A ban on seal hunting, in particular, stripped away one of their last reliable means to support themselves.

In terms of the markers Westerners measure to determine quality of life, traditional Inuit nomads would have ranked very low.  Thus, they started this staggering adjustment to modern culture at a crippling disadvantage, now being judged by standards unfamiliar to them.  It's well and good to say that 85% of government employees must be Inuit (a goal which has never been approached, 50% being the highest achieved), but qualifications for most of those jobs require more education than most in the Inuit community have been able to achieve.  Other forms of employment—construction, medical, retail, etc.—also require skill sets not learned in the traditional culture.  Inuit unemployment often hovers around 20%, making this once proud people dependent on government hand-outs.

The needs of the majority population are so great in this new arrangement that the territory began with an almost total reliance on federal funding.  Even today, Ottawa provides more than $30,000 per capita in government subsidies to Nunavut, compared to less than $2,000 for Ontario.  It is an ongoing tragedy of epic proportions.

The capital city of Iqaluit (pop. 7,177) with its need for government employees has managed to recruit a large number of non-Aboriginals to the city with high salaries and generous benefits.  Iqaluit's population today is almost 50% "transient."  Not transplants, as we met in Yellowknife and Whitehorse.  This distinction is important.  Every single transient we met and chatted with, save one, indicated plans to stay a few years to accumulate money and return to their home in the south.  Local wages represent the highest in Canada, but in Iqaluit, there is an enormous income disparity.  Median income for transients is $86,000; for Inuit, $19,900.
Locals in Iqaluit protest high food costs  (photo from Nunatsiaq News)
In Iqaluit, the amount of housing is inadequate and the cost dear.  Many Inuit live in homes at three to four times the house's capacity.  Those less fortunate live in shacks on the beach near the town dump.  Obtaining adequate food is even more of a hurdle with the extreme costs.  Federal subsidies have failed to deliver relief from food prices that are out of reach for the unemployed and underemployed.  Almost three-fourths of preschoolers live in homes without enough food to eat.    Is it any wonder that so many Inuit in their capital city are in a constant battle with despair?

In our four days in Iqaluit, we observed very little interaction between Inuit and transients, as we had seen in Yellowknife, where the indigenous people seem to be well integrated into daily life.  When we had the opportunity to ask the local Anglican pastor about our impressions, he asserted that there are areas where meaningful interaction occurs, and no doubt there are.  Yet his church operates two services—one in English and one in Inuktitut—so that co-mingling isn't happening at church services.

When eating in an Iqaluit restaurant, most of the customers are transients and tourists.  Throughout the meal, Inuit walk through the dining room offering opportunities to purchase handcrafted bits of local art.  Some are quite intricate, others more primitive.  In our experience, this was the primary opportunity for conversation, but they had lots of tables to cover and understandably didn't want to linger.
This Inuk artist gave us permission to take his photo.
Our efforts to engage local Inuit were unsuccessful with the exception of the car rental agent.  The typical reaction was exemplified by a tow truck driver we saw dropping off a car at the town dump.  When we stopped and spoke to him, he replied politely, "Hello, Mister," and turned back to his work.  Even the first employee we met at the TI, an Inuk whose job was to interact with tourists, was loathe to answer our queries or say anything to encourage us to spend any time in Nunavut.  It's not difficult to see why non-Aboriginals might be resented.  Making up a large portion of government employees, these often young southerners are in positions of authority over a community dependent on government assistance, giving them power over the most basic parts of the Inuit's life.  In Nunavut, the Inuktitut word for 'our land.'

Sadly, this scenario has played out in places the world over where Western culture has tried to impose its 'advanced' standards on indigenous people.  If there is a solution, we hope it finds its way to this tragic land soon.
Challenges of Nunavut:  Toronto Globe and Mail reporter Patrick White traveled extensively in Nunavut and wrote an insightful series of 2011 articles on the continuing challenges faced by this unique territory.  If you're interested in learning more, part 1 of his "The Trials of Nunavut: Lament for an Arctic Nation" can be found here.   Another excellent article from the London Guardian is well worth reading for anyone who wants to understand the problems better.  And finally there's another article from the Toronto Globe and Mail:  "Nunavut's Next Generation:  The Kids' View on Life in Iqaluit."

When in Nome:  As we have learned, Inuit is the designation preferred by the indigenous people of Nunavut and other parts of eastern Canada, as they find the term Eskimo, pinned on them by outsiders and said to mean "eater of raw meat," to be offensive.  In Alaska, on the other hand, Eskimo is still in use to include both the state's primary groups of native peoples—the Inupiat (an Inuit group related to the Canadian Inuit) and the Yu'pik, whose ancestors came from Siberia.  And the Yu'pik are insulted if lumped together under the term Inuit.  So you must remember and consider where you are.

Seeking True North, Day 14:  Iqaluit, NU.

When we left our hotel this morning, we were stunned to see a large expanse of brilliant blue sky—the first we've seen since arriving in Nunavut.
See the yellow submarine?  The big marshmallow?  The igloo church?
We've noticed that with the buildings so colorful and architecturally unique (and no trees to block your view), you can, after just a couple of days, identify buildings from across town—the yellow submarine airport, the puffy marshmallow elementary school, the igloo church.  In the compact town, it certainly makes finding your way around easier.
Shh!  Don't tell anyone but there's a letterbox hidden somewhere in this picture.
Our first stop was the Apex beach, where we wanted to plant one of our Nunavut letterboxes.  Even the beach looked different today under blue sky.  The trailhead sign for the beach path to Iqaluit provided the perfect hiding place.  The wind was quite brisk and made for a bracing walk on the beach.
3 bedrooms and 2 baths in less than 1,600 square feet...What a price tag!
Back in Iqaluit, we passed several houses with For Sale signs.  With all we have heard about the cost of living here, we decided to investigate the details on one of them.  Even in a city where a single pack of cigarettes costs in excess of $19.00, we were amazed.  This 3 bedroom/2 bath house is 11 years old and has 1,576 square feet. Average monthly utility bills were included in the real estate ad: $150 electricity + $80 water/garbage + $340 heating oil. Ouch!  Annual property tax is $2,800.  Like many houses, there is a storage area under the house.  In Nunavut, one buys the house only.  The land itself is jointly owned by the community, and homeowners pay a land lease.  Price: $539,000.
Waterfall on Sylvia Grinnell River
Back at Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park, we planted a second letterbox to go with the one we had stashed there a couple of days ago.  This one is near what is affectionately called the waterfall on Sylvia Grinnell River.  One can imagine a much larger cascade earlier in the summer when snow melts, but today it was pretty tame.
The Legislative Assembly Building of Nunavut 
After lunch at our hotel, it was time for us to catch the 1:30 tour at Nunavut's Legislative Assembly Building (the Ledge).  We arrived just before the tour began.  Along for the experience were Martin and Jenny, in from Winnipeg to visit their son and daughter-in-law, and three friends from Yellowknife—Crystal, Ryan and Heidi—who had just finished hiking what they termed a great trail north of Iqaluit.
Bench in the entry hall of the Ledge
When we entered the building, we couldn't help noticing the design of a bench mimicked a traditional Inuit sled.  Called a qamutiq (COM-eh-tik), the sled is built to travel on snow and ice, especially adapted to Arctic sea ice environment.  The key to this special design is the use of lashes to hold runners and crosspieces together, rather than nails or pins.  This allows some flexibility in the qamutiq as it runs over uneven surfaces.  In the old days, these sleds were pulled by dog teams or humans, today more likely by a skidoo (snowmobile).   A vital part of Inuit culture, the qamutiq shape is also referenced on the front of the Ledge building.
Legislative assembly room (again the symbolic qamutiq)
Alex was a lively guide, full of anecdotes and the kind of "insider" information that raises this kind of tour from mundane to memorable.  He took care to point out the symbols of Inuit culture incorporated in the legislative chamber and to distinguish elements that make it unique.
Seating for the public (L), Inuit elders (C), and Members of the Legislative Assembly (R)
The most atypical feature of the chamber—setting it apart from any other Canadian Ledge—is the special seating reserved for Inuit elders.  Among the Inuit, elders are older members of the community who are considered culture-bearers.  The distinction is not simply a matter of chronological age, but a function of the respect accorded to individuals in each community who exemplify the values and lifestyles of the local culture.  In meetings of the legislative assembly, special chairs between the desk seats of the members and the public gallery seats behind them accord elders a special level of respect.  They have no vote or say in the proceedings though they may be consulted.
Like the maces of other territories, all materials used in the Nunavut mace come from the territory itself.
The ceremonial mace for Nunavut was created by local artists using local materials including a narwhal tusk and metals and gemstones from the territory.  Blue lapis lazuli from an area near the village of Kimmirut is a special feature.  According to Alex, this rare gemstone is found in only three places in the world.
Nunavut Justice Center
At the end of the tour, Alex suggested that we might enjoy a tour of the Nunavut Justice Center, knowing a group of government building aficionados when he saw one.  Having passed by it numerous times, we decided to follow his suggestion, though we didn't see any of our fellow visitors from the Ledge there.  Unlike the Ledge, which had only an indifferent security guard posted at a desk in the lobby, the courthouse conducted an airport style security screening.

There was no official tour guide at the courthouse, so Deputy Murray, who works security, volunteered to take us around.  Nunavut's Court of Justice functions as both local and territorial court, Canada's only single-level court in a province or territory.  Its judges hear all matters assigned to both lower and provincial courts.
Courtroom at Justice Center
Note again the presence of the qamutiq symbol in the partition between the spectators and the court.  Inuit elders offered suggestions for the design and arrangement of the courtroom.  On their advice, the witness stand (center front in photo above) was placed so that the witness is facing the judge and jury.  The hope was that the person testifying would be more likely to tell the truth if he or she was looking these court officials in the eye.  We also thought it might make the witness less susceptible to influence from any spectators.  Now we wonder why all courtrooms don't have this arrangement.

While at the courthouse, we sat in briefly on a criminal hearing that was underway in a smaller courtroom.  A young man had been charged with vandalism.  He was in the courtroom along with the court officials and the lawyer for the prosecution.  Though we could hear his attorney participating fully in the hearing, she was not physically present.  When we had an opportunity to ask Deputy Murray, he told us that because transportation is so expensive to fly lawyers or witnesses in from distant villages, they often participate in court hearings via audio or video.

We wound up the day with one more visit to the Kickin' Caribou Pub, where we saw Vancouver Tom again but he wasn't our waiter tonight.  After a light meal, we returned to the hotel to pack up for our return to Ottawa tomorrow.  An overnight near the airport, and we'll return home on Wednesday.

More Photos from Today
No one we asked knew what this new building is for.  With a shipment of materials from the sealift, construction was active.
A joint effort by several Nunavut artists for the 20th anniversary of the Nunavut Land Claim.
More artist collaboration on these beautiful murals at the local hospital.
The so-called 'big red boat' at Apex beach.
Iqaluit's many colors
The big red boat again.  It just keeps coming back.
All the way from Fort Valley, Georgia (south of Macon) to the Arctic—a Blue Bird school bus!
Iqaluit's first four-way stop intersection, known locally as the Four Corners, in the midst of its 5:00 "rush minute."

Seeking True North, Day 13:  Iqaluit, NU.
When we drove past the town breakwater this morning, the famous Iqaluit tide was out, way out.  So we had to stop and take a photo to compare with another taken from the same place at high tide later.  Quite a difference!
What a difference four and a half hours makes!
Then we drove to Apex, about 3 miles from Iqaluit.  Apex got its start as an Inuit community near the Frobisher Bay U.S. Air Force base established at the current site of Iqaluit in the 1940s.  Then in 1949, the Hudson's Bay Company decided to move its operations to the sandy beach at Apex to take advantage of commercial opportunities brought in by the base.  With construction materials so difficult to obtain in the Arctic, the buildings were disassembled, transported 30 miles from Ward Inlet, and rebuilt in Apex.
The old Hudson's Bay buildings repurposed
The map in the Iqaluit visitor guide suggests the Gallery by the Big Red Boat is in one of these buildings, but apparently it is no longer there.  However the boat is still hanging on and has become the namesake for a property management company whose office is located in the former gallery.
Brought to you by the red boat
Along the beach were a few baby icebergs that had been grounded in the low tide.  As we were photographing these miniature reminders of winter, we noticed that litter has made its way to the Apex beach also.  Even worse, at the other end of town is a makeshift dump where all manner of trash has been deposited on the beach.  A rejected sofa sits on the hill overlooking Tarr Inlet.
Room with a view
After reading in the visitor guide about the famous Road to Nowhere ("While not an official tourist destination..."), we were compelled to take the drive.  Winding its way through the tundra past a few small lakes and Rotary Park, the road ends a few miles outside the city at a firing range.  Much like Ragged Ass Road in Yellowknife, the road's street sign disappears on a regular basis.  And as with Ragged Ass, a replica for the Road to Nowhere street sign is available in local gift shops.
Truth in advertising:  the road went nowhere.
Having completed our excursion to nowhere, we visited the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum.  Housed in a former Hudson Bay Company Building next door to the Iqaluit TI, the museum exhibits traditional Inuit clothing and tools as well as modern works of art.  Works by contemporary Nunavut jewelry makers and artists are showcased and sold there.
Main exhibit room at the museum
As we left the museum, three little ones (aged about 3, 4 and 5) were playing nearby and we heard one yell to another, "Nan nan boo boo!"  We had to laugh until one started playing "chicken" with traffic.  When he saw a vehicle coming down the street, he would run out in front of it.  Fortunately, the locals drive slowly, perhaps because they anticipate such antics.  Sadly this has been a common sight while we've been in Iqaluit—very young Inuit children playing near and even in the streets with no apparent supervision.
Be careful, little ones!
Lake Geraldine had been on our radar for a couple of days.  Even Josh, our first encounter at the TI, had said it was worth visiting, but alas when we tried today, we found the gate locked.  Later when we asked a local about the lake, he replied that it was just a reservoir and we hadn't really missed anything.
Trucks connect to pipes on this duplex for water and sewer services.
Not every home in the area has water piped in from the reservoir.  Some houses have trucked water and sewer services.  A red light on the outside of the house turns off when the water tank is near empty, signaling the water truck to stop and refill the tank.  There's a separate sewer truck that makes rounds and pumps out...well, you can imagine.  We heard a story about a local city councilman whose home was the victim of a valve reversal mistake by the sewer truck driver last year.  When he was supposed to be pumping waste out, he accidentally pumped more in.  A lot more.  Yuck!
A warm and cozy position for little ones up to age two
Around Iqaluit, we have seen quite a few Inuit women and even one transient carrying their babies in a traditional amauti (eh-maud'-ee) style of parka.  Favored by eastern Canadian indigenous women, the amauti nestles the child against the mother's back in a special pouch just below the hood, a nice spot for a cold day.

Tomorrow will be our last full day in Iqaluit.  We hope to take a tour of the Ledge and plant some letterboxes—the first ones in Nunavut.


Iqaluit Stats:
•  200 miles from the Arctic Circle
•  0 trees
•  0 traffic lights
•  $2,456 average cost for a 2-bedroom apartment (double Vancouver and Toronto rents)
•  7,177 population
•  40 to 50% non-Inuit population 

More Photos from Today
Beached baby berg in on beach in Apex
The new Iqaluit cemetery in Apex features rib bones from a bow whale.  
Nice summer foliage along the Road to Nowhere 
Iqaluit's colorful buildings 
A walk on the Apex beach
The distinctive middle school

Seeking True North, Day 12:  Iqaluit, NU.

The capital of Nunavut, Iqaluit (pop. 7,177) sits on the shore of Frobisher Bay.  Set amid rocky rolling hills and tundra valleys, the entire town sits on a layer of permafrost.  For this reason, virtually every building rests on pilings or stilts to prevent heat exchange from the house that would melt the permafrost.
Stilts also eliminate the need for a level building site.
Another distinctive feature immediately noticeable is that most city streets are unpaved and unmarked with signage.  According to locals, the first streets were asphalted in 2002 in preparation for a 2.5-hour visit from Queen Elizabeth.  Since it's above the tree line and very little will grow here, Iqaluit also has no landscaping as we know it.  Making up for all this drabness, many buildings and houses in Iqaluit are painted bright colors.
Colorful Iqaluit
We left our hotel late morning to explore the capital city, a little uncertain after our encounter at the TI yesterday what there was to do.  One place that had been mentioned by Josh was Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park, which was near the NAPA store where we picked up the car yesterday.  Very surprised that our Garmin GPS had data on Iqaluit, we were pleased to realize we didn't need it and could find the park on our own.  (It's only about three miles from one end of town to the other.)
All the trash everywhere
When there are a limited number of roads leading only a short distance out of town, we seem to have the urge to try them all.  So we drove on past the park to see where the road led.  Where it led was a sprawling open-air dump with everything from household garbage to junked cars to plastic bottles and construction material piled in together.  There appears to be only a half-hearted effort at keeping the trash covered with soil like a landfill, so every breeze spreads the rubbish hither and yon.  Last year a fire burned in a mound of trash at the dump,  pouring smoke and toxic fumes into the city's atmosphere for almost four months before officials were able to extinguish it.
Koojesse Inlet
The road beyond the dump ended at Koojessee Inlet at the mouth of Frobisher Bay.  So near to the dump, the area was litter strewn, spoiling what might have been a scenic view.  Near the shore, rustic shacks dotted the landscape, presumably housing the city's homeless with materials scavenged from the dump.
Inuit call the river the Iqaluit River (meaning place of many fish)
Finally we went back to Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park.  Straddling the river of the same name meandering through the tundra valley, this preservation area includes several easy hiking trails.  The park takes its unlikely name from the river, which was dubbed by an American explorer to the Arctic to honor the daughter of one of the financial backers of his expedition.
Camping along the river
Wind was brisk and icy, so we didn't explore any trails today, but we did check out some double-walled white canvas tents set up near the river.  These are owned and rented by a local outfitter for those who want to camp without hauling their gear.  Tents are equipped with wooden platforms, cots, sleeping bags, and lanterns.  But we didn't camp either, nor did we engage in any fishing though the river is said to be bountiful for landing a few Arctic char.

Being without cell service, we're beginning to really appreciate how constantly we depend on our smart phones for the answers to questions.  Some things we've wanted to search for today:  Why is there so much litter in the city of Iqaluit?  Who owns the tents in Sylvia Grinnell Park?  Do the changing tide levels affect the river?  Normally we would have found those answers on the fly.  Now we just make note of the questions to research later.

After lunch in our room at the hotel, we returned to the TI, hoping someone else would be on duty who would offer more assistance.  When we arrived, there was our old buddy Josh, who pretty much ignored us as we walked around looking at brochures.  Seeing no point in going through the same routine with him as yesterday, we were just about to leave when someone new and young and eager and friendly walked behind the desk.  He hadn't even taken off his backpack before we began barraging him with questions.

Only a high school junior, Kundai moved to Iqaluit with his parents six years ago, and he is an outstanding ambassador for the city.  He was very upbeat, very positive, engaging, and eager to help us find ways to enjoy our time in the city.  He told us about polar bears walking past his house last year and other anecdotes about his life in Iqaluit.  He even introduced us to an audio tour of the city which the TI lends out on an iPod nano.

Kundai's enthusiasm was contagious and we found ourselves eager to get started on the tour.  As he suggested, we just plugged the iPod into the auxiliary jack of our rental car and we were off.  Before we got too far, we noticed that forklifts were unloading a barge from the Sealift, so we detoured a bit to check it out.  There we ran into another friendly resident.

Bugsy was working security at the unloading site and wouldn't allow us to get close to the cargo area, but he was willing to talk to us.  Quite articulate and knowledgeable about the operation, he admitted that he had spent 25 years in entertainment before moving to Iqaluit a few years ago.  (No wonder he's so good with words!)  We had read a bit about the sealift operation before coming here, but he filled in some blanks in our understanding.

Sealift is the annual re-supply of fuel, construction materials, vehicles, and consumer goods to isolated  communities.  Even with the generous checked bag privilege on airlines serving the area, round trip air fare to the south can cost in excess of $2,000, so shipping by sealift offers greater capacity and lower cost.  Sealift ships squeeze into the area as soon as the ice clears Frobisher and Hudson Bays, usually in July.  Several lifts will be delivered between July and October before sea ice returns and cuts off this vital supply line.
A favorite sight in Iqaluit.  The sealift has arrived!
Because Frobisher Bay's water level varies as much as 40 feet with changing tides, Iqaluit has no port.  The Sealift ship must anchor offshore, load cargo onto barges with cranes, and send tugboats to take the barges close to shore and ground them for unloading.  Jumbo forklifts, which can go into the water to reach the barge, offload the cargo onto trucks for delivery.   Since the small Arctic communities they serve lack the equipment for all this transfer, the sealift ship brings it all on board—barges, cranes, forklifts, and tugs.

According to Bugsy, most of the cargo is shipped to businesses and government with less than five percent being destined to individual families.  If they can afford to do so, some families try to buy a year's supply of basic goods when they visit family or friends down south and have it shipped on the sealift.  Thus some houses are equipped with a "sealift room."

Finally we got back to the audio tour of the city and learned some things about Iqaluit.
Discovery Hotel/former PanAm barracks
Discovery Hotel.  Back in the days when transatlantic flights required a refueling stop and change of crew, Iqaluit was a regular stopover.  PanAm Airline built what is now the Discovery Hotel in the 1950s as a barracks for crew who made transfers mid-flight.  Today it has been transformed into a boutique hotel with what is reputed to be the best restaurant in town.
Where the action is...if you have connections.
Canadian Legion Hall is an important source of social activity in town and one of only a handful of places that sell alcohol.  Dances are held weekly but guests are admitted only if accompanied by a member.
S'More to love with this school.
Nakasuk Elementary School.  One of three elementary schools in Iqaluit, this structure that looks like a giant marshmallow sitting on a mound of earth was built at the height of the oil crisis in the 1970s.  With energy conservation the primary goal, construction was done with fiberglass modules built on site and a minimum number of windows to cut down on heating costs.
Inuksuk High School
Inuksuk High School.  Built in the same era as the elementary school with the same energy crisis in mind, but the high school did get a bit of color.
Bet you can't guess what this church is usually called?  Yeah, you got it.  The igloo church.
St. Jude's Anglican Cathedral.  This igloo-shaped church was completed in 2012 as a replacement for the previous church that burned.  Anglican missionaries came to the area in the early 1900s and significant numbers of Inuit converted to Christianity.  The congregation has a sizable Inuit membership.

There was much more to the tour and it was quite interesting but too long to include here.  After we finished, we went to the Frobisher Inn and had dinner at their Gallery restaurant so Ken could try an Arctic char (similar to salmon), which he declared quite good, as was my asparagus and spinach salad.  Afterward we stopped in the Store House Bar and Grill on the property and hooked up with Bugsy, who was waiting tables and tending bar.
Our Gallery meal
Then we called it a day, planning to plant at least one letterbox tomorrow and visit nearby Apex and maybe even strike out on the Road to Nowhere.


Help Wanted:  Hers a listing of some of the jobs advertised in this week's edition of the Nunatsiaq News.  Preference in hiring to Inuit for all government jobs.
•  Education Coordinator:  $70,000 + $15,000 Northern Allowance + $6,000 Housing Allowance
•  Sign Language Interpreter:  $64,000 + $24,000 Northern Allowance
•  Corrections Officer:  $80,000 + $24,000 Northern Allowance
•  Community Inspector Trainee:  $80,000 + $23,000 Northern Allowance
•  Miles driven:  27
•  Weather:  39° to 43° F., overcast/drizzle
•  Sunrise 5:07, Sunset 8:03
More Photos from Today
Koojessee Inlet
Squatters at the Inlet 
You don't see this sign every day in Georgia. 
Still a little tundra flora in bloom.
Cold wind off the river
One of the paved roads in town
At the local cemetery, plain crosses marked each grave and most were lovingly decorated. 
Our new buddy Bugsy 
This place must have everything you might need.