Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut March 14, 2018 - 8:05 am

Nunavut says goodbye to Igloolik leader and businessman

Elijah Evaluarjuk died Feb. 10

Elijah Evalarjuk is pictured at his popular restaurant, Top of the World Pizza, in September 2017. The Igloolik businessman died Feb. 10. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Elijah Evalarjuk is pictured at his popular restaurant, Top of the World Pizza, in September 2017. The Igloolik businessman died Feb. 10. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Nunavummiut will remember Elijah Evaluarjuk for his big heart, delicious pizza and the soft-spoken leadership he brought to the territory over his career.

The Igloolik family man, businessman and former mayor died at home Feb. 10 surrounded by his family, six months after he was diagnosed with cancer. He was 60.

“Everyone knew him well, even outside of Igloolik,” said Igloolik’s current mayor, Celestino Uyarak. “He was an outgoing guy and easy to talk with.”

Evaularjuk served as mayor in the Baffin community in the mid-2000s, but he was best known as the owner and operator of Igloolik’s Tujumivik Hotel. He inherited the business from his late father, Mark Evaluarjuk, a former MLA in the 1970s and 1980s when Nunavut was still a part of the Northwest Territories.

Evaluarjuk struggled with alcoholism in the early years of managing the hotel, but sought treatment for his addiction and became an advocate for sobriety and healthy living.

He drew a following from across the North for his hotel restaurant, Top of the World Pizza, dubbed “the best pizza in the circumpolar world,” which drew occasional orders from communities as far away as Cambridge Bay and Yellowknife.

At the end of the business day, Uyarak said Evaluarjuk would often put a call out on the local radio for people to come by and pick up leftover food from the restaurant’s kitchen.

“He was always involved in the community,” Uyarak recalled, and not just as a business person and leader, but also as a talented musician who played back-up with legendary rockers Northern Haze.

“We will miss him very much.”

Since 2014, Evaluarjuk had served as a board member for the Qulliq Energy Corp. and, since 2016, as its chair.

At Nunavut’s legislative assembly March 12, Jeannie Ehaloak, minister responsible for the QEC, recognized Evaluaruk’s strong commitment to the organization—namely, his efforts in pursuing renewable energy opportunities and net metering.

“He could always be counted on for his quiet leadership style which encouraged a collaborative environment,” Ehaloak told the legislature.

“He will be remembered for his kind smile and gentle demeanour.”

QEC president Bruno Pereira said Evaluarjuk was soft-spoken as a leader, but skilled at mediating conflict.

“It was the consistency that he brought to the way he managed board meetings; addressing issues honestly but respectfully,” he said.

“You could always rely on him to be a calm and fair individual.”

Pereira travelled to Igloolik for the Feb. 14 funeral for Evaluarjuk, which drew most of the community to Igloolik’s Catholic church.

“He was very well-regarded,” Pereira said.

QEC’s vice-chair, Bert Rose, is now serving as acting chair until the minister appoints a new permanent chair in the coming months, Pereira said.

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(12) Comments:

#1. Posted by David on March 14, 2018

Rest in peace my friend.

#2. Posted by NinA Manning on March 14, 2018

He was a great man. Always so kind. Loved his pizza and always ordered pizza all the way to pond inlet

#3. Posted by Annie on March 14, 2018

We Will Remember Him. <3 Rest in Peace Elijah. You were a very kind hearted man.

#4. Posted by Kono on March 14, 2018

Rest in peace Elijah was a pleasure to know you

#5. Posted by Jobie Weetaluktuk on March 14, 2018

He one kind of man, kind.

#6. Posted by Peter Napartuk on March 14, 2018

wow that is shocking, met Evaluarjuk in Puvirnituq Snow Festival when he travelled with Northern Haze. in Snow Festival these guys sang and Electrify the whole community centre and the next nights nothing but full crowd. he sure was so nice guy and gentle. condolence to his close Family and thank you Elijah be Rest in Peace now go Sing the Lord and make them go nuts on dancing like an Angels. 😘

#7. Posted by Johnny on March 14, 2018

R.I.P. Elijah, one of our old residence room mate in 7o’s, always joking and card tricking then, I saw you only once again after that but heard about your Pizza, I have had yet to taste it but now I will never do that but I heard about the recipe and responded in “YUMMY”. I just learned I will get it later is not good thinking. Elijahngai, minguiqsiqqsiarit

#8. Posted by Roy Inglangasuk on March 14, 2018

Rest In Peace Elijah, always a caring host when stayed at your hotel. Bumped into you in Iqaluit many times and you always made time for a visit.

#9. Posted by Malachi Arreak on March 15, 2018

It seems I was given the opportunity to say goodbye to my second cousin during the last weekend of January, as I met him at the airport as we both were going home.
In retrospect, we said our goodbyes that day as ten days later he passed on. We discussed several things that I will now work to clarify.
He was always one of my favourite relatives to both socialize, and to joke around with, albeit he was much older than I but we shared a common bond.
Whenever he had an idea, he would ask me directly and I would have no choice but to assess his circumstances and provide him with options. He always seemed to choose the best course of action after contemplating the matter. Such was his ability to manage the challenges he face.
RIP my dear cousin. Love and hugs to his family, relatives and friends. He was one of the few “good” men I knew. There are far too few left who grew up with those abilities as most gravitated towards self-destructive behaviours. We shall meet again one day.

#10. Posted by Nulira on March 15, 2018

He has the deepest loving heart in an Inuk man I ever knew. We feel his love, friendliness. My Irngutaq is named after his Anaana. I’m definitely missing his kindness and love. My 1st ever nuliq.

#11. Posted by Nathaniel J on March 15, 2018

He was a good man, easy to get along and talk with. Tasty pizza and great hospitality at his hotel. I remember reading in the paper how Elijah found his aluminum boat after it was lost at sea for 13 years. I was so happy for you! Good good good man. Rest in peace my friend.

#12. Posted by Patrica Enuapik on March 17, 2018

for real I was there for a workshop and he welcomed us all like a family..
my condolence’s to his family.
he surely will be missed.

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