Monday, March 02, 2009


Given the timeliness of some recent posts from Clare regarding the high costs of living the high arctic, I thought I'd add my two cents for whatever it's worth. It wasn't until almost 3 years after my arrival in Nunavut that I began my blog. By that time I had grown more or less used to some of the inflated costs. I would read on a few other northern blogs that began after mine about high grocery prices and, unless some price really stood out, I shrugged it off to a case of someone adjusting to life in the North.

Having lived in many places in Northern Canada over almost 10 years now (yikes, where has the time gone?!), I've found my thinking starting to change. If I am trying to make a life for myself here, then it makes sense that high costs, as Clare so ably discusses, should concern me. Increasingly, I'm finding that they do. And, up here, I only have to be responsible for myself. I cringe when I think of the costs associated of trying to raise a family. On the subject of the cost of air travel, every summer and Christmas when I head off to visit my parents, I inevitably bring back 2 or 3 plastic totes filled with books, clothing and food (oh, Havarti, a better cheese I know not!) I recall back in December mailing 3 plastic totes through Canada Post, at a cost of around $285. I quipped to my step father at the time that given the cost of my air line ticket to Ontario, I really ought to look into how much it cost me to mail myself to Arctic Bay/Nanisivik in a plastic tote. The 3 totes altogether weighed about as much as I do so the savings (typically First Air dings me around $3400 Nanisivik to Ottawa return) would be fantastic. (Comfort-wise and oxygen-wise, well, maybe not so good.)

So I make my point. Costs can be crazy. And solutions.....I do have some. I'm just hesitant to mention them given that, as a government mandarin I am not as free to comment as I sometimes wish I was. But, to make a point, (the point I was hoping to get to 2 paragraphs ago before this little rant-within-a-rant began) here are a couple of pretty standard grocery items I picked up at a store here in town on my way home from work this afternoon. I like to think I shop healthy and as I get older I find myself paying a lot more attention to doing this. The costs weren't like the insane $34 for juice that I recall seeing at one point last year. (In one northern Manitoba community I once lived, I recall paying $21.99 for a dozen eggs.) But, they were still enough to get my attention.

Any guesses on the costs? I'll post the answers in the near future.


Kennie said...

Ok ..

It's something like 4.99$ for Skim Milk 1L .. so I'm going with 5.89$ for the milk ... and 12.99$ for the OJ (and I didn't even go to the Northern today :-) )

Matt, Kara and Hunter said...

$12.99 for the juice and $8.99 for the milk.

I never even look at prices anymore. After living in the arctic I am sure whatever I am paying here in the Yukon is much better!!

Jackie S. Quire said...

Wow, you must have some VERY INTERESTING methods if:

"I'm just hesitant to mention them given that, as a government mandarin I am not as free to comment as I sometimes wish I was..."

Now I'm interested!

Also, I can't believe you could ship totes for that "little"

Tracey said...

OK, my guess on the juice is $9.50 and $8.50 for the milk.

Jennith said...

The OJ was on sale for $9.99 in the Northern in Baker today and the milk would usually cost about $7.95

Way Way Up said...

Good guesses everyone! I won't let the cat out of the bag just yet....gotta be all enigmatic and mysterious but you are all very close. I'll post up the correct prices (hopefully) tomorrow.

Jackie - Oh how I'd love to post my ideas. I don't think they are all that earth-shattering. Just common sense. But even that seems to be a rare commodity in the political arena these days. I'm sure I'd ship my totes at pretty much any cost. I really have no idea how the prices I pay compare to someone else's though since I don't know anyone from my hometown that's had to ship them as far as I've had to.

With the number of flights I've made around the North though I'm sure if I could figure out a way to mail myself I'd make Canada Post a very very happy group of people.

Aida said...

that OJ would be $12.99 and the milk (they dont carry that brand, its beatrice) and 1L is $6.99 i believe. prices in Arviat. we rarely buy milk from the northern and if we do, we buy 4L of homo milk and that is $13.49.