Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Photographing Nuuk's Arctic Winter Games hockey in Iqaluit

Photographs by Ron Wassink

I received an email from an Arctic Winter Games (AWG) organizer
in Nuuk, Greenland, last fall asking if I would help out
as a photographer for hockey games to be played
in Iqaluit's arenas. Nuuk doesn't have ice hockey arenas.
Of course, I said I would be more than happy to help.

The 2016 AWG were hosted by Greenland, and four days
of male and female hockey were hosted in Iqaluit. I spent
four days at the arena downtown, while my fellow
photographer, Daniel, shot hockey at the newer, AWG arena.

I lost track of the number of games I photographed. It was somewhere
around 15. Here are some of my favourite photos.

 NWT's goalie takes a bite out of her gold medal.

 I photographed referees after each game, except
or the first and last games. The two refs on the left,
from Ottawa, brought up referee uniforms
and equipment to donate. All refs, but one, were
from out of the territory.

 Nunavut's boys practice.

 Pre-game warm-up.

 Members of the female Yukon squad cheer on the boys.

 A NWT player in mid-air, scoring opportunity
against Alberta North -- female.

 It's a goal!

 The toques spell ...

 A spectator for the moment.

 Yukon boys take on Nunavut.

 Alaska's stick boy.

 A blizzard in Iqaluit delayed flights to Greenland
for the opening ceremonies. A coach takes 10.

 Some of Iqaluit's volunteers at the airport waiting
for athletes to arrive.

That's me on the left with Daniel.
(Casey Lessard photo)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Pre-spring blizzard blasts through Iqaluit

Photographs by Ron Wassink

A blizzard blasted into Iqaluit on Friday, March 18, bringing
Nunavut's capital city to a standstill. A couple of stores
staggered through the blizzard, providing a smattering
of shopping minutes and hours to anyone brave enough
to take on howling winds and bullet-like blasting snow.

Challenges with cabin fever, I covered up every patch
of exposed skin, grabbed my Nikon and took on winter.

Here's what I saw over the two days of blizzard.

A person walks into the blizzard, to St. Jude
Anglican Church. The Frobisher Hotel
is almost hidden by the blowing snow.

 Joanasie was one of few people out and about
during Day 1 of the blizzard.

 Peace! And happy trails!

 Hangin' out at Tim's on Saturday morning,
Day 2 of the blizzard. The coffee shop was open,
but not that adjoining Northmart grocery store.
Full shelves, lots of food, but no shoppers.

 Joe rolls up a large Tim Hortons coffee. Joe
reminded me that Horton played in the NHL,
for my team, I believe. Go Leafs!

 Environment Canada called the blizzard over
at noon on Saturday. Still, winds howled,
and so did a snowblower clearing a path
to the Quickstop variety store.

 Yep, time to take on this blizzard!

 And, the price paid to fight Mother Nature.

 A giant snow drift threatens to take on the seat
of political power ... Nunavut's Legislative Assembly.
That's the Hotel Arctic across the street,
and the faint outline of two ravens flying head-wind.

The only guy upset that workers had a blizzard day
holiday on Friday was ol' Stone Face. who's
parked in front of the Iqaluit Post Office. All
offices and most stores were shutdown for two days.

The blizzard kept me home on Friday, and a chance
to call up Ian and wish him ...
"Happy Birthday, Ian!"

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Midnight summer solstice fog in Iqaluit, 2015

Photographs by Ron Wassink

The Arctic boasts 24 hours of daylight at the height of summer
solstice. In fact, the further north you travel in Canada's north,
the more sunshine you will experience on June 21 ... it can be sunny
the full day! Here, in Iqaluit, the capital city of Nunavut,
we can boast day-round daylight on the summer solstice.
The sun does set. It dips below the horizon for a couple of hours,
and than it's back to full sunshine.

The day-long daylight allows us to yahoo 'round the clock!

This year, my midnight solstice photo project was most disappointing.
We suffered through snow and fog! So much for our summer welcome?!?!?

A group of us decided to meet at the fry truck, which parks outside the
Legion, at midnight on Saturday/Sunday. This was the first first-day-of-summer
that I pulled on a winter parka, gloves, scarf and boots!

Here are the photos showing our welcome to the official
start of summer 2015.

 Rod and Colleen walk to the Iqaluit Legion.
Check out our streets ... full of potholes! Our summer
solstice was a foggy welcome to summer.

 Midnight at the oasis ... the line-up at the Iqaluit
Legion is a familiar, weekend sight. The Legion
hosts a dance party Friday and Saturday nights.
It's one of four so-called "night clubs" in Iqaluit.

 Jason enters guests in Pat's Lounge.

 Solstice cheers from the McIntyres. Check 
last year's blog post ... the McIntyre  family
walked hand-in-hand up the street.

 The Stockleys enjoy Legion entertainment.

 Our group of friends met at Kulu's fry truck,
parked across from the Legion, for poutine,
fries and bacon/sausage on a bun.
It wasn't exactly a warm welcome to summer!!

 Midnight and an order of fries. There's always
a line-up when the Legion guests do their
last dance at 2 a.m., weekends.

 Thank you for my order of fries!

Friends share an order of poutine
on the official first day of summer, Iqaluit!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Iqaluit Idol Toonik Tyme Contest at the Storehouse Tavern

Photographs by Ron Wassink

This year was the 50th anniversary celebration of Iqaluit's
Toonik Tyme, and one of the highlights was Iqaluit Idol.
Ten singers were featured with a 50/50 mix of own music
and karaoke style presentation.

The event was hosted by the Storehouse Tavern,
which is part of the Frobisher Inn complex in Iqaluit.

 A musk ox head and snowshoes on the Storehouse
Tavern wall in the fireplace lounge.

 The main row crowd at Iqaluit Idol. This year
was the 50th anniversary celebration
of Iqaluit's spring festival -- Toonik Tyme.

 A singer and her ukulele.

 Emmanuel performed two songs.
He won second prize.

 Rapper Brian Tagalik of Arviat sang 'The Struggle'
his song about suicide. He won first.

 The music was awesome.

 Aaju Peter played guitar for the only Inuktitut song.

 The lounge at the Storehouse.

A vintage Ski Whiz hangs from the rafters.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Inuit drum dance and sing for John Kerry, Arctic Council chair

Photographs by Ron Wassink

Circumpolar delegates of the Arctic council countries were in Iqaluit
this week for the Arctic Council meeting. John Kerry, U.S.
Secretary of State took over as chair of the council from Canada's
Leona Aglukkaq, who is also Nunavut's Member of Parliament,
and Canada's Environment Minister.

Of interest to me was the number of Iqaluit Inuit participating
in a demo winter outpost camp that included two igloos,
a canvas tent and historic hunting tools and qulliq (oil lamps 
made of stone). The participants dressed in traditional garb,
including seal skin and caribou skin clothing and footwear.
The group performed a drum dance and song for the new chair.

Here are some of my photographs of Mr. Kerry's visit to the outpost 
camp, which was set up behind the Nunavut Legislative Assembly.

 The outpost camp re-enactors perform for Arctic
Council Chair John Kerry (blue scarf), Leona Aglukkaq, 
and Rob Nicholson, Canadian Foreign Minister.

 John Kerry and Leona Aglukkaq share a laugh
at one of the igloos.

 Arctic Council Chair John Kerry speaks with the
Inuit and Iqaluit's Mayor Mary Wilman (green coat).
Mr. Kerry offered special thanks to the Inuit
"for your song."

 Drum dancing for John Kerry, Arctic Council chair.

 Aaju Peter, left, and elder Malaya Ishulutak, pose
with Sami delegates from Norway, including Asa
Larsson Blind and Aile Javo, president of the
Sami Council. Asa is vice-president. Ms. Peter
was born in Greenland, was educated in Denmark,
and moved to Iqaluit in 1981.

 The Arctic sun pounded on the big igloo and by 4 p.m.,
its rays collapsed a section of the igloo. The opening,
though, allowed a unique glimpse into the igloo
and its size from a different perspective. Elder
Ishulutak sits on caribou skins. Mr. Kerry wanted
to see inside an igloo, but didn't have the chance,
because these guys ...

 ... the security and support staff didn't tell him
about the hole in the wall ...

... and nor did these guys ... the media folks,
who were busy focusing on the camp visit.

I, of course, couldn't because I didn't carry
credentials, and the security guy standing beside
me probably would have had something to say
about me volunteering anything!

What was neat about the security team photo is they
picked up the seal skin soccer ball that was tossed
their way from the Inuit kids, and had a pick-up
game of their own while officials were meeting
in the legislative building (background).