Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Fire

It was the first time I'd watched the Oscars alone in years. Steph had to work.

Just as Natalie Portman announced the winner for best actor, I heard the first siren. It's become a habit to look out the window since Iqaluit is such a small town. The trucks stopped right in front of my house and turned towards the Creekside Village complex, or as everyone else calls it, White Row.

I followed the skyline to find it interrupted by a raging inferno. White Row was on fire.

We've seen a few doozies over the years. The house beside us burned down and the house across the street has burned down twice now . . . yes, the same house. But I had never seen anything like this. When I say "inferno" I mean, Backdraft . . .Rescue Me . . .Ladder 49 style fire. 2 dead, 83 without homes.

There's enough written about the fires for everyone to Google and research. When a story like this happens it's literally "moths to a flame". The entire town talks about it and the local online newsies go from 2 posts a day to 10 and just about everyone in town has their own version of "what happened". The reason why I wanted to write about this was because for only the second time in 3 years, I was blown away by how the community all came together so effortlessly.

In less than 12 hours there were plans in place to help the survivors. Donations were overwhelming and the contributions are still continuing 4 days later. We the musicians, have already planned multiple fundraisers and benefit shows and get this: in less than a week all the survivors and victims have more than enough supplies, clothes, food, and support to help them carry on. What an accomplishment!

I don't always sing Iqaluit's praises but when a community that often feels divided by race, social class, economic struggles and cultural difference, it was moving to see all those thing put aside for a cause like this. You can be rich or poor, tall or short, you can even speak a foreign language but what it means to lose your home to an accident like that is the same in any language. Just like the warmth you feel when you see people working together to help strangers.

Today, I'm proud to live here.

Monday, February 27, 2012

"The Racquet Club"

About a year ago, Steph and I "bit the bullet" and decided to become members of The Frobisher Bay Racquet Club. We had talked about it over the course of last year but waited out to see if it would fit our lifestyles once we were more grounded here in Iqaluit.

We'd heard it was crazy expensive.

We heard it was a "white supremacy"

We heard it was "cult like".

It's not true.

The initiation fee is higher than you'd find at most gyms but, you're not paying for a gymbership, you're paying club fees. I think the misconception comes from people wanting to going the club for it's gym, then expecting gym-like prices. But it's a CLUB, everyone there is a member. If it feels exclusive, it's because it is!

The food at the club is good and the prices are easily the cheapest in town. They are even better considering the amount of food you get. Drinks are cheaper, there's wireless internet, pool table, tanning beds, satellite T.V., gym, courts etc etc. It's small but, it's a club. If you go to anywhere where they have the club setup, you'll find that the initiation fees are usually pretty high. This is for income security. Some people join a gym, pay the first month, and never go back. So yes, it's pricey up front but, it runs us under $200 a month to both be members.

Steph and I have looked to improve our health. Steph is a little more successful than I am since I'm a little more . . umm . . ."social" so, we find that the club is really beneficial. Steph likes to go there to study because it's quiet and I've found that I actually like getting excercise.

There are large comparisons between the Racquet Club and Atii Fitness. They each have strenghts and weaknesses. I've been a member at both but, I've found my permanent home with the Racquet Club. I think if you can stomach the initiation fees, you'll find that it's a worth investment.

Go see Rob . . .He'll give you the tour, set you up and always treat you like gold.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Capital Suites

The Hotel industry up here is as competitive as anything you'll experience. There are 5 main places to stay:

- The Hotel Arctic (Formerly the NOVA INN)

- The Frobisher Inn

- The Discovery Lodge

- The Navigator Inn

- The Capital Suites

I've stayed or spent time at all of them. When we first moved up here we had the "privilege" of staying at the Navigator Inn and I used to work inside the building of the now Hotel Arctic. We frequently eat at the Discovery Lodge and I've had friends or company associates stay there while the Frobisher Inn is somewhere we've had friends stay and live and we've both spent time there.

I'd be lying if I said that the quality of all the hotels is close. It's not.

There isn't anywhere else to stay other than at CAPITAL SUITES. It's hands down the best lodging you will find here in Iqaluit. Sure, sure, if you ask the people who work or operate the other hotels, of course theirs is the best but, we've stayed at them all. There's just no comparison.

Think of all the things you want in a hotel room. Then think of those things being dependable, consistent, and at your disposal. That's what Capital Suites offers. A kitchen, Wireless Internet that isn't "down right now". Up to date furniture, a hotel lobby, and no-one ramming their own restaurant down your throat. The desk staff will pretty much help you get dressed in the morning if you ask them, there really isn't a thing they wouldn't do for you. They grasp the idea of real customer service and what it means to make clients happy. They'll even recommend their competitors menu items just so your entire experience is as fulfilling as you need it to be. To the staff there, it's just as important for you in the community here as it is to stay there with them.

Trust me, Capital Suites has to be your first choice. You have giant suites, great sized rooms, and a staff that are trained to be the best. You are at home with Capital Suites . . really.

Now, to be fair, the Hotel Arctic has made a huge improvement in there level of consistency since the company was taken over last June. It's modernized and the staff seem to be more informed and willing to assist. It's still a small work in progress but, in a year, it'll be exciting to see the changes they make.

The Frobisher Inn is still a mess. It's website looks fantastic yes, but, it's a crap shoot. Some weeks they're on and some weeks they're not. It's noisy and there's always a lot going on in there. The bar is really busy every night and the theatre is up there too but, it's a little too chaotic at times for us.

You'll love the food at the Discovery Lodge but, the rooms and the building are in dire need of a facelift. They're clean but, with the few they have, they'd better be.

I don't actually have anything great to say about the Navigator other than the fact that their restaurant serves Chinese Food. Seriously . . that's it.

When we're online booking a trip and checking out things like ratings or TripAdvisor scores, we compare. But I would take someones personal experience over anything else is if seemed details and concise. So, in the spirit of competition I'll still allow you all do to the same. Please look into each and see what floats y'er boat. Any of the accommodations will suffice . . . that is, if you want them to just suffice. I could write a post on each of them and show you the pro's and con's but, when we moved up here we couldn't find anything on these places and guessed. . . and we guessed wrong. If I had've known about Capital Suites when we needed a room, our first few days, maybe even weeks, would've been a lot easier.

Here's our TOP 5:

1. Capital Suites
2. Hotel Arctic
3. Frobisher Inn
4. Discovery Lodge
5. The Navigator Inn (by default)

CAPITAL SUITES - (867) 975 4000

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Second Wind

You know what . . . I miss writing.

I miss waking up and reading everyone's blog and reflecting on my own. I applaud Townie, Tara, and the M & M's. They are at it almost everyday. That used to be me.

Annually I get this feeling however, it's difficult to deal with the actual effort of following though. Either way, I'm going to give it a shot.

Even though things seem fairly routine, I am in a position where I really see people for who they are. Iqaluit is simple like that. People seem to just let it all hang out. I think people moving up here deserve to know where is what and how those places are. Hell, maybe even a little bit about who runs them.

I get more traffic on the VENTURES vs NORTHMART post than anything else I've written and when you google ASTRO HILL theatre, our blog comes up. This is a good thing.

More to come.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

We're Married!

My My, this blog is dusty.

On January 28th 2012, I married my co-writer, my best friend, and my fellow journey-woman, Stephanie. We moved up here almost 30 months ago and we survived. We're still here and are happier together than ever.

Moving up here is a journey, being up here is an adventure but, living up here was the real story. We grew closer is our tiny apartment and chose to become a family and start a family. This is part of our story up here and I felt it should be included on here.

I'm sorry we don't write or share anymore. Truth is, with all the big changes in our life we've grown a tendency to keep things to ourselves. I still hope this blog is helpful to those planning a trip up here but, I didn't want it to become overly saturated with mindless things or obsessions with wedding plans and baby excitement. There are great blogs everywhere for those topics and especially some great ones from the north.

A part of me hopes that one day, years from now, we'll read these entries with our kids and then can experience a small glimpse of what our lives were like just before we started our family. I want them to read these words and know that everything changed when they came and that we'll always encourage them to have great adventures like we did here in Iqaluit.

We're married!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dear Stephanie

This morning I woke up and it's our wedding day.

We've been together almost 8 years. We're best friends and I can still remember the first time I really saw you.

I'm going to put my suit on, fix my tie, shine my shoes and take that one deep breath. But before I do all of that I want you to know that although our status will change, nothing else will. We got to this place because of who we are together and how we've grown to appreciate each other. Our strangest virtue is our ability to see each other for exactly who we are and love what that is.

I'll always protect you, cherish you, and find the warmth and comfort in the smallest things you do.

If I could choose again . . .I'd still choose you.

I love you . . . my wife.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I bought a Mac . . .

We're watching Mad Men . . .

I'm 2/3 of the way through the Steig Larsson trilogy . . .

The amazing thing is, each are equally amazing. I can't believe I/we put any of these things off for any length of time. The funny thing is, you hear about these things and you always say "I gotta see that . . . I gotta get that . . . I gotta read that" but, then when you finally get around to it you think "why didn't I see . . .get . . or read that before"

Such a Cliche.

I've also reached the obsessive stage with the Mumford & Sons album and we're "eating clean". I can't stop watching "Extreme Couponing" and there's something about "Pawn Stars" that my Dad was right about. MY DAD! I used to FIND these things not hear about them second hand.

Next up . . . Breaking Bad, The Hunger Games, and something about Yoga in a heated room!