Friday, January 22, 2010

Hanging out in the Canadian North

Last night we went to Nunavut for the evening. Okay, we didn't actually get on a plane and physically GO there, but we DID go to the opening of Canada's Northern House, where a little slice of Nunavut came to us. Canada's Northern House will open it's doors during the Olympics and will shed a little light on life in the Canadian arctic. By some stroke of good fortune, we managed to get on the guest list!

It was pretty amazing - from the delicious appetizers (hello venison, muskox, arctic char) to the stunning artwork (soapstone and traditional bone carving) to the exhibits featuring slides and video of daily life in various parts of Nunavut. And as I looked around, I was completely gobsmacked by the vastness of Canada.

How is it possible that we live in a country where, on the exact same day you can go for a run in the lush rain forest of Stanley Park where the temperature is 10 degrees Celsius, drive for a couple of hours and go downhill skiing in Whistler, dog sled in Yukon, ice fish in the Northwest Territories, watch the northern lights in Nunavut, hunt seals in Northern Newfoundland, surf in Tofino, have a Quebec City carriage ride in the daylight, and a sleigh ride by the light of the moon, go skidooing in Labrador and much, much more? For the time it takes us to cross Canada from west to east, we could zig-zag across Europe a bunch of times (particularly through Germany on the autobahn - ZOOM ZOOM...). And with that kind of vast distance, comes such a range of geography, weather and culture. How excellent it was to glimpse the slice of geography known as Nunavut.

Here Mister Man lurks between "industry" and "culture", clutching an espresso stout ale from a northern micro brewery.

Look at this amazing face and body carved in the pelvis of a whale. Beautiful.

I loved the simulated northern lights undulating on the ceiling.

And I was moved by this beautiful traditional lamp, in which a wick is set aflame in seal oil. And that's kind of how I felt last night as I wandered around the exhibit - all warm on the inside, as I contemplated life in the Canadian arctic.

P.S. The last couple o' photos were taken by Mister Man. Not only is he one amazing person and possibly the best man on earth, but he's got some photographer chops too!


  1. Thank you for the insight, enjoyed your view. It is challenging at times, but fun to live in Nunavut. We became 10 years old last April 1, 2009.

    Governing our own territory has helped bring back our traditions and strengthen our culture for sure.

    We look for economic opportunities and tourism is a big one on our list. Not only is our culture unique, we have beautiful land and large bodies of waters. In this part of our Earth, every living thing has their place and purpose for being there.

    We humans place a great deal of responsibility in our wildlife management. This is one responsibility that has been lived by to date.

    Yes Nunavut says welcome! as it is a place to see and experience the true north.

    Theresie Tungilik

  2. Theresie,

    Thanks so much for your comment. I would LOVE to visit Nunavut someday. It looks like a spectacular and special place. Catching a glimpse of it at Canada's Northern House made me want to visit even more. Thanks for your kind and welcoming words.

  3. Has Linda hired out Mackenzie to work there over the olympics? That dog looks just like her!

  4. MacKenzie is awaiting the contribution to her Mom's travel fund for her "appearance" fees. L

  5. It's TRUE!!! That puppy dog with the piercing blue eyes is the spitting image of Mackenzie!! Perhaps she's been moonlighting while Mom's been galavanting about the globe!