Friday, April 2, 2010

Allan's Retirement Party

As some of you may know, our store manager, Allan Hart, has decided to retire after 34 years of working for the North West Company. Of those 34 years, he spent the last 28 of them as store manager in Baker Lake.

This is an amazing fact in itself when you consider two things about the way people go about their careers these days. Personally, I don’t see anyone working for one company for 34 years ever again as people do not have the same loyalty as they did years ago. Also what is amazing about this is that for those 28 years that Allan was manager here is that the customers and the people of Baker Lake respected him, and still do respect him.

With that said, the Hamlet threw a community feast and square dance in his honour on March 27th.

It was a surprise to Allan that the party was being thrown. Everyone sat in the community hall and waited for Allan to arrive, and when he did, everyone in the room gave him a long standing ovation. It was a great thing to see – something that you think you would only see in a movie.

After that, the food began to pour out.

The feast consisted of a big chunk of caribou, rice with raisins in it, and macaroni salad. The meal was delicious!

After the meal, there were some speeches and Allan was presented with some gifts from families and organizations in the community. Allan then gave his little speech, which was somewhat unprepared as you could expect, and was translated into inuk by his wife Nancy.

And then, in Inuit tradition, LET THE SQUARE DANCE BEGIN!

Grace and I had never seen the Inuit square dance before, and it was pretty cool to watch! However, they had some other plans, and the next thing we knew, we were square dancing!

Now, this isn’t square dancing in the AM 920 CKNX kind of square dancing that we would know in the south. And quite frankly, you are never in the shape of a square for that matter. We expected a dance to last around five minutes, you know, the average length of a song…


The dance was about 15 minutes long, and was one song in length. There was eight people total in our square (four groups of two) and since there was three white people in our square who had never danced before, Grace got dragged around by Mellow (who used to work at the store and is an overall awesome guy) and I got dragged around by Pam (who works at the store). We did spins, circles, jigs, and a bunch of other things that we can’t seem to remember at this point in time, but it was a lot of fun and was very tiring!

The really cool part about the square dance though is that in the hall there were elders, teenagers, adults, and kids… and they all knew how to square dance and they all enjoyed doing it! Down south you would not see that at all!

It was a great experience for us to have, and we won’t forget it!

Below are some pictures for your enjoyment!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

As Promised, Here's Pics

As promised in the last post, here are some pictures from the summer in Baker Lake. It isn't much, but it is what we have. The store renovation blog will be up tomorrow.


This is out at the Bridge to Nowhere overlooking the river. It's quite peaceful out there. And isn't the view something else?

This is the Bridge in the background. There is a little eating/rest area there, which is where this was taken from.

That is a sik sik (I believe that is the proper spelling). It is essentially a ground squirrel that if you get too close, has some serious anger issues. As you can see, he isn't too happy at the moment.

An arctic hare. Poor guy didn't know that winter was over. Usually they turn brown in the summer.

A ptarmigan. This has to be the stupidest bird known to man (or a close runner up to the dodo). They are hunted with rocks and sticks. You chase them, and instead of flying away (which they can do) they decide to run. Like I said, not too bright. Makes me wonder how Steve couldn't catch one... (Sorry Steve, had to do it!)

Lovely Baker Lake as viewed from the VOR near the airport.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Summer Update.. In Winter

Okay, so it’s March 2010.

If you look closely, the last time we wrote in this thing was May 2009.

Okay, we suck. We have a lot of things to cover from the last nine months or so. Here is the order of events (and this may end up turning into a Band of Brothers type mini series based on how long it has been since we updated this thing) that we are going to cover everything in:

  1. Summer
  2. Store Renovation
  3. Christmas
  4. New Year’s
  5. Winnipeg
  6. Today

With that said, we are not going to make you wait any longer. Here is the first chapter…


We’ll skip the part about going home for vacation as everyone knows about that. What we will do is talk about coming back from vacation.

We got back from vacation and we had to go live at the Four Plex (coming full circle) for two or three weeks because our landlords at the house decided that they wanted to come and live at home for a few weeks. Did that suck? Why yes, yes it did. When you go from living in a house for seven or eight months and then have to move to an apartment, it sucks. So while we were at the apartment, not much happened…

Except sea lift.

The dreaded sea lift. As you may recall (or probably not since it has been so damn long since we wrote in this thing), sea lift is the twice a year barge shipment of goods and supplies in to town. This is done to save money on freight costs (which compared to flying everything in by air, it is a lot of money). However, this has it’s downside as well – such as handling 300,000 pounds of freight in three days.

I made the comparison last year of saying that it was like doing 20 trailers at Speare Seeds back to back – without a forklift. I still stand by that comparison. It is a long three days, but it is worth it when you see how much money is saved not only for the store, but for the customers as well. We also bring in furniture and appliances on this barge for our big arena sale.

After we got through sea lift, it was time to move back to the house. Yes, I do mean move. We had to move all of our stuff out of the house to the apartment, and then back again. All this so our landlord’s could have a vacation. Still ticks me off to this day. Anyway, we got back into the house and settled in.

The rest of the summer was not that adventurous with all things considered. We went out on the Honda a few times and did some exploring on the land. We had a baseball game with the stock boys from the store on Labour Day, as well as a BBQ afterwards.

Everyone had fun during the summer. However, as we all know by now, the summer is not that long up here.

With that, his brings us to the second sea lift. To save time, see the description of the first sea lift as it is very much the same.

I will add some photos of the summer time when the internet connection allows me to add some. The bandwidth and such can be so crappy at times that it is impossible to do anything uploading or downloading.

Tune in next time (the day after tomorrow) for part two… Store Renovation.