24 Hours in Nunavut
I was recently given the opportunity to go to Iqaluit, Nunavut for 24 hours. My immediate reaction was a huge smile and a big “YES”! This past Saturday I headed off to Iqaluit from Ottawa with my two best friends, Sarah and my boyfriend Mike. Sarah has been to Iqaluit many times so she was our own personal tour guide. As soon as we got off the plane we were greeted by one of her friends who took us for a tour of the town starting with the first ever Hudson Bay Company, which was founded on May 2nd, 1670.
It didn’t take long to drive through the entire town of Iqaluit so we decided to explore it again but on foot. We walked around the town going to all your typical tourist hot spots, like the museum and visitor’s center. We also checked out their local grocery store, the North Mart which is sort of like a Wal-Mart of the North to look at the price difference between Nunavut and Ontario. A case of pepsi was $14.99 and one watermelon was $17.99 (it was a good thing we brought snacks). Seeing as we were only there for 24 hours we were unable to do any extreme excursions so instead we did a bunch of walking and hiking around the town, taking as many pictures as possible. Before we got there, when I thought of Iqaluit, I thought it would be flat and frozen, which it sort of was but it was actually full of rolling hills! We decided to hike the highest hill in the town to get a great view of Iqaluit.
Let me just say that I was very happy I brought my Keen Bryce’s with me. It is Spring in Iqaluit right now so the snow is beginning to melt which makes it quite soft. My shoes were wet the entire time I was there but my feet were completely dry. When I got my first soaker I thought “great, now I am going to have wet feet and shoes the rest of the trip” but that wasn’t the case. My feet stayed warm and dry!
While walking through the town we met some children playing on their bikes. I don’t know what it is about Mike and I but no matter where we go we seem to make friends with children, maybe it’s because we both work at a school or maybe it’s because we are still kids ourselves. It was nice to see children playing outside even though it was cold (to them they would probably say it was warm). I would like to think that they do this often instead of being stuck inside playing video games like a lot of children end up doing on cold days. I loved how they built themselves a ramp out of a piece of plywood and it seemed to entertain them for quite awhile.
We finished our walk through town and ended it at The Discovery which was a fancy restaurant that served country food. By country food I mean local food. We got to try some arctic char and caribou. It was expensive and delicious, well worth the money.
It stays light out for most of the night at this time of the year in Iqaluit. I wanted to take advantage of the extended daylight but couldn’t manage to keep my eyes open past midnight. We got a good night’s rest so we could wake up early to explore some more. I was hoping to see the Northern Lights but it looks like I will have to go back when it’s -40 and dark for most of the day! I’m okay with that. I would love to experience true Northern Lights. We woke up and decided to walk out on the sea ice, not sure if it was fully safe, but we went anyways because it was too tempting not to. There were dogs from dog sled teams laying on the ice amongst the ravens and chunks of ice that were very tall. We decided to climb up on a few, and did that ever make me miss iceclimbing!
Before heading back to the airport we went and checked out one of Nunavut’s Parks; Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park. The minute we stepped foot in the park I had wished I saw it on the first day. It is probably a good thing we didn’t though because we wouldn’t have ended up spending much time in the town and I probably wouldn’t have ever wanted to leave! It was so beautiful! I would definitely recommend going there if you are ever in Iqaluit. Sylvia Grinnell is very picturesque and the park is divided in two by the Sylvia Grinnell river (would love to see it in the summer time). The river is apparently an excellent spot to catch arctic char and has one of the most rare plants growing in Canada, grow there, the Woodsia Fern. There is also a chance that you may see Caribou or Arctic Fox there, if you are staying for more than 24 hours.
I definitly enjoyed my 24 hour stay in Iqaluit, Nunavut. I would love to go back again in the heart of the winter, where there is a chance I could see the Northern Lights and in the summer when the hills are snowless and the bay is unfrozen. It would be great to experience every season of the arctic. I am pleased to have had the opportunity to go to Nunavut as it was a place that was on my bucket list. One of the things on my bucket list (it’s very big) is to go to every capital of every province/territory in Canada. After visiting Iqaluit all I have left is the NWT, Yukon and Newfoundland! I am hoping to accomplish this goal within the next year or two. I have my friend Sarah to thank for creating this wonderful opportunity for us, First Air for the amazing flight that left me full (their warm chocolate chip cookies are amazing) and Keen for creating shoes that kept my feet dry and warm!
A few more pictures, it was hard to pick out of the 400 I took in the 24 hours we were there.