Back in September of 2018, I had embarked on a move of a lifetime from urban Toronto to a small island in the Arctic Cirlce: Iglulik, Nunavut. For those who do not know, the province of Nunavut is geographically right above the province of Ontario. Yet to get from one to the other—specifically to Iglulik Island—I needed to take three separate planes, one of which landed for a quick "pit stop." This was a full day journey with absolutely no guarantee that once you're in the north, the plane will land where it is supposed to. From Toronto, to Ottawa, to Iqaluit, to Hall Beach, and finally to Iglulik, the full day adventure was exhausting but filled with magnificent landscapes.
Once passing the Arctic circle and departing from the Iqaluit airport, you could see that winter had come "early." Patches of ice had begun to form in the ocean, and when we landed at our first "bus stop" in Hall Beach, the ground was covered in snow. It was one of my happiest moments (I love snow immensely). The flight from Iqaluit includes three stops along its route: Hall Beach, Iglulik, and lastly, Pond Inlet.
But let's backtrack a moment. Why was I moving from the urban and popular city of Toronto to the middle of nowhere in the Arctic? Because it was both a dream and an opportunity. I had just finished my post-secondary education as an elementary teacher and had applied to teach in an Inuit community desperate for educators. You see, there is a huge teacher crisis in the North for a multitude of reasons.
Funny enough, an old hook-up had sent me the job posting thinking that they would apply (they never did).
I was embarking on an experience of a lifetime to pursue my dream, and there was already snow in September! I couldn't ask for more.
When we landed in Hall Beach, I had no idea what to expect, but there wasn't much there. You've never truly been in the middle of nowhere until your plane lands in a snow-covered... nothing. There was a small looking one-room-and-a-bit building (if you could even call it that) that had "Hall Beach" painted on the side, and that was it. We were told to vacate the aircraft while they refueled for about half an hour. As I got off the plane with the other ten passengers, I couldn't stop smiling because I was stepping in snow!
Inside the "airport" there were a few chairs, the front desk area, and a square steel panel on one side of the room; that was for the luggage to come in from. Almost surprisingly, there were bathrooms at the airport, and I quickly decided to go because "who knows where I'll be next." When I left the bathroom, the airport was completely empty. Had they left without me?!
Turns out they almost did, as I saw I was the last one to get back on the plane. Phew! The next flight took maybe 12 minutes. And suddenly, I was in Iglulik—the airport was even a tad bigger (emphasis on "a tad")!
What a journey!
I want to flash forward by about nine months to when it was time to head back South for the summer vacation (don't worry, there will be many stories about what had occurred during those months). After flight cancellations due to weather and shuffling of airlines, I was back on that "Arctic Bus" getting on the second "stop." It was exciting to see the open water and how the ocean ice was breaking apart. It was wonderful to see how Hall Beach didn't look so barren now that the ground was visible.
And it was thrilling to see nature at its finest; rebirth and thawing out.
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