Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Last Drop

Having lived for a couple years in Qikiqtarjuaq (Broughton Island), this little recollection caught my attention. While it does serve to give a sense of the isolation faced by some of Canada's most northerly places. I found Harper's story interesting for a number of reasons. The Padloping Island the author mentions was once the site of a USAF WWII air base and a Canadian weather station. I never actually stepped foot on Padloping Island myself though I it was pointed out to me by a local elder once.

Kenn Harper, for those who don't know him, is well-known in Nunavut as a teacher, linguist, northern historian and businessman, who first went North in the 1960's. He remains there to this day. Not only did he spend time in Qikiqtarjuaq, but he was also one of the first teachers in Arctic Bay, the other Nunavut community I lived in. Ernie Lyall, mentioned later in the article, was the subject of an interesting book my parents bought for me a couple years ago, An Arctic Man. While chaperoning at a badminton tournament in Rankin Inlet not that long ago, I met one of Mr. Lyall's grandsons. Ernie Lyall also spent a period of time in Arctic Bay with the Hudson's Bay Company.

The North. It is a cold dark place in terms of its physical geography but also a small and intimate when considering its human element. The history of the place is always interesting too.