Tag Archives: nunavut

Differences In The Arctic: Cost of Living

18 Sep

We have been here less than 24 hours and already the differences between life in southern Canada and in the Arctic are revealing themselves. The major one that I’ve noticed by now is that it is shocking how much basic things cost here compared to their costs in Toronto.

I’ve seen the statistics before: the ITK released a very helpful list in 2008 of what basics costs in various southern and northern communities (see page 10) and the disparities are astounding (Side note: the rest of the statistics in the report are more than worth reading – it may be eye opening for you). The average cost of living in the Arctic is estimated to be between two and three times greater than it is in southern Canada.

However, I must admit now that I’m here the statistics did not adequately convey just how expensive it is here. Beyond the cost of travel to the Arctic (and back) and lodging (which is always at a premium), basic costs that you may not give much thought to in the city are very differently priced here.

Consider this: Rankin Inlet is a very small place compared to Toronto, but we don’t know our way around yet. We have taken a taxi twice and each ride was approximately 5 minutes long. Each cost $15. Why? Fuel is expensive and must be imported – and yes, fuel is imported to Toronto as well, but with very different infrastructure and frequency.

Then, there’s the food. Take a look at our menu from last night:

Check out the prices. This is not just for tourists, either – this is how much it costs for local people to eat there. The Saturday special was a chili cheese burger, poutine and a slice of pie for $22.95.

We haven’t been to the grocery store yet, but when we do I will report back. I suspect the prices will be equivalent – our very nice flight attendants on the way up gave us a back of extra fruit because they can be so expensive. I’ll continue to report back as the week goes on.

Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Coordinator

Introducing Our MIA Kids Correspondent

17 Sep

As MIA’s Educational Coordinator, I am fortunate enough to meet a wide variety of people who come to the museum and want to discuss the art with me. I learned very quickly that everyone has a unique perspective on the museum and the art we display (as well as everything else). Part of our goal at MIA is to be as inclusive as possible, and we realize that the views and perspective of our staff are not the only ones that exist. In that spirit, we’ve appointed an Official MIA Kids Correspondent to give their own unique take on the museum, Inuit art, events, and other aspects of the museum’s activities.

Our MIA Kids Correspondent’s first assignment? To help us better document and describe our trip to Rankin Inlet. So without further ado, meet Lauren Harris:

MIA Kids Correspondent Lauren Harris

How old are you?

I’m nine.

How long have you been interested in the museum and Inuit art, or just art?

I’ve always liked art. For Inuit art, I would say since I was five I really started to like it.

What is it that you like the most?

I’ve always liked how it was kind of magical, how it wasn’t really realistic. I would say sculptures are my favourite because I can appreciate it more.

Were you excited to be chosen our official MIA Kids corrspondent?

Yeah, ever since I heard.

How have you liked the trip so far?

So far? Well, I really like it. Mostly because I got to see how Inuit live and I really like their community. It’s good to get away from the madness in the city.

Have you learned anything new since you’ve been on this trip?

Yeah, that they don’t have all paved roads, which I thought was cool and maybe dangerous.

What’s made the biggest impression on you so far?

I would say when we were landing. It was so amazing seeing the land and taking it all in.

What do you hope to do while you’re here?

I hope to ride one of those four wheelers [ATVs] – I’ve always wanted to do that.

Lauren will be commenting on our journey periodically, so keep your eyes on the blog to hear more of her impressions of the Arctic.

Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Coordinator

We’re Here!

17 Sep

Hello from Nunavut!

MIA Director David Harris and I just arrived in Kangirqliniq (Rankin Inlet). While we’re getting settled, I’m excited to update you about the trip so far. If you keep up with our Twitter and Facebook feeds, you’ll know that yesterday we landed in Winnipeg, since you can’t get a direct flight to anywhere in the Arctic from Toronto. Rankin serves as the regional “hub” for the Kivalliq region, as I discussed last week, so many people fly here (from Winnipeg) and continue on to other destinations in the region.

While at the Winnipeg airport, we saw out first sign in syllabics, which I posted yesterday. Though it was nice to see syllabics, the sign is for the Kivalliq Inuit Centre Medical Transportation Pick-Up Area, as you can see. Though there is health care in the Arctic, there is no major hospital in the Kivalliq so when people have specialized or serious health needs, they often must fly south.

We spent the day in Winnipeg and then this morning flew to Rankin. This is my first experience flying up north, so I was (naively) surprised to learnt that we may  not have ended up in Rankin at all today. Due to low visibility weather conditions, we may have had to divert to Churchill, Manitoba, or simply turn back around to Winnipeg and try again later. We boarded the plane with high hopes anyway.

Thankfully, the weather cleared up by the time we made it here so we were able to land. It was quite overcast, so we couldn’t see much on our descent until we were quite low. But as we did, the tundra opened up underneath us and it was amazing – just beautiful, and such a different kind of environment than we have in Toronto.

View of Rankin Inlet from the plane

So now that we’re here, it’s time to get down to work. Keep checking back, I’ll be blogging about our trip the whole week.

Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Coordinator

Nunavut’s Birthday is Just Around the Corner

29 Mar

The Nunavut Flag, designed by Andrew Karpik from Pangnirtung (via Wikipedia)

Nunavut’s 12th birthday is right around the corner: this Friday! Nunavut is Canada’s newest and largest territory, which came into existence in 1999 via the Nunavut Act and Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act. Creating this territory out of the Northwest Territories took over 30 years of effort: the first official suggestion that the NWT be split into two was read in the House of Commons in 1963. The Inuit Tapirisat Kanatami began pursuing the creation of Nunavut in 1971, which ultimately resulted in the creation of the territory.

MIA has a particularly strong connection to Nunavut: our Director, David Harris, was a school teacher in Kinngait (Cape Dorset) for several years before returning to Ontario and immersing himself in the Inuit art world. The museum also represents artists from across the Arctic, including Nunavut, and represents the territory’s three major regions (the Qikiqtaaluk, the Kivalliq, and the Kitikmeot) in our permanent collection.

Canadian Inuit Dog (via the Nunavut Legislative Assembly)

Want to know a little bit more about Nunavut? Check out these fast facts:

  • Nunavut means, “our land” in Inuktitut.
  • The flag, pictured above, is very symbolic: the blue and yellow represent the riches of Nunavut’s land and sea, while the red represents Canada. The inuksuk symbolizes the stone monuments that guide peoplethrough the land and mark important places. The North Star (Niqirtsuituq) is a traditional navigational guide and also symbolic of elders’ community leadership.
  • Nunavut’s official dog is the Canadian Inuit Dog (or Qimmiq). The official flower is the Purple Saxifrage (Aupilaktunnguat), and the official bird is the Rock Ptarmigan (Aqiggiq).
  • Four languages are officially used in Nunavut: Inuktitut, Inuinnqatun, English and French.
  • The population, as of October 1, 2010, is 33, 268 people; approximately 85% identify as Inuit.

Nunavut is a huge territory with a long history, and no blog post could possibly cover all of it. If you’re interested in learning more, MIA is very excited to celebrate Nunavut’s 12th birthday with programming for all ages, including special family activities and crafts all focused on Nunavut.

Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Coordinator

Coming Soon to MIA

28 Mar

Our April newsletter went out last week (if you want to subscribe but haven’t, click here!). The museum has some very exciting programming coming up next month and you, our blog readers, will get some sneak peeks behind the scenes about it.

If you read our newsletter, you’ll know that we have two very exciting additions to MIA coming soon: a visible storage area and a new special exhibition about stone cut prints from Ulukhaktok (Holman). Our visible storage area is currently under construction, and we’re very excited about how this will turn out.

Part of MIA's team works on creating our new visible storage area

We also made some changes to our display areas this weekend. New informational panels went up in many areas of of our permanent collection, thanks to our Head Museum Technician. Take a look at the process:

Rearranging some objects in our Nunavik case.

Placing our new panel focusing on Joe Talirunili.

Adding information about Karoo Ashevak into the Kitikmeot case.

We’re very excited about all the new changes coming to MIA, and hope you are too.

Also – don’t forget that Friday, April 1 is the twelfth anniversary of the creation of Nunavut. MIA will be offering special family programming¬† that day, focused on learning about the diversity of Nunavut. Be sure to check back later this week to learn more about Canada’s newest and largest territory.

Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Education Coordinator