Robert L. Peters

1 March 2008

Northern sortie…


Iqaluit, Nunavut

The past three days have been a blur—art directing annual report photography in remote northern communities for our client, The North West Company (the oldest retailer in North America, also the largest non-governmental employer of Aboriginal people). Our sortie took us to the Cree community of God’s Lake Narrows in Manitoba, then across frozen Hudson’s Bay to the hamlet of Cape Dorset (famous for its Inuit sculptors) on the southern tip of Baffin Island, then on to Iqaluit (formerly known as Frobisher Bay, and now the capital of Nunavut, Canada’s newest territory). Folks who have never been to Canada’s high north have a hard time imagining just how harsh and sparsely populated an environment this is—though spread over an area equal to the size of Western Europe, all of Nunavut has a population of less than 30,000.

Predictably, the weather was cold (-30° Celcius, with wind-chills below -50°). The Company truck would not start in Cape Dorset—we were picked up from the airstrip by snowmobile. The people were warm and welcoming, however, as has been my experience on prior trips to these remote regions.

Photos: Our cozy cabin for the first night at God’s Lake Narrows Lodge; Cree vocabulary snapshot from the school billboard; warm Inuit smiles in frigid Cape Dorset; Iqaluit stop-sign (Inuktitut); boarding the Company plane at the fibreglass-skinned airport terminal; happy teens at the NorthMart store. (Thanks to photographer Ian McCausland for shots 1, 3, 6).

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