Iqaluit residents flock to opening day Toonik Tyme events

Annual festival runs until April 9; opening ceremonies, fireworks set for Friday night

Annabella Piugattuk, centre-right, and her daughter Deedo Piugattuk, right, hold their dogs Kango and Umati prior to racetime on Friday. (Photo by David Venn)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Toonik Tyme in Iqaluit kicked off Friday with kids’ racing events, ice golf and tobogganing.

Annabella Piugattuk and her daughter, Deedo Piugattuk, waited at the start and finish line, taming their dogs Umati and Kango for the children’s dogsled running event on Frobisher Bay.

This is Deedo’s second year of dogsledding and her second competition — in her first one, she placed second.

“I just really like animals. Dogsledding is really fun and it always looked really cool,” she said.

Watching her race brings feelings for her mother, who said her dad used to run a dog team.

“It’s an overwhelming feeling of pride,” Annabella Piugattuk said. “I grew up around dog teams but I never got into it myself. But [Deedo], she’s so into dogs.”

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Just about 20 metres away, the kids’ snowmobiling race was underway.

  • Two snowmobilers race neck and neck around a corner on Frobisher Bay Friday afternoon. (Photo by David Venn)

Adamee Itorcheak filled in for the event organizer, who dropped out at the last minute.

He and a few others counted each lap as the seven contestants raced around the track, with nine-year-old Peter Natsiq taking the first-place $300 prize.

Itorcheak split up the cash prizes so that even the last-place finisher went home with $25.

Meanwhile, about 100 residents flew down the hill just beside the Arctic Winter Games Arena for the family tobogganing event, and dozens gathered across the street on Toonik Pond for ice golf.

More than halfway through their round, Kathleen Merritt had a few less strokes than Paul Salter. Still, he had a few tips on how to play the ice golf course.

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Paul Salter chips a shot on hole 6 of ice gold on Toonik Pond. (Photo by David Venn)

“Surprisingly, when you hit it low it seems to run pretty well,” Salter said after finishing the sixth hole.

Merritt said the first day of Toonik Tyme was going well and they were excited for some of the upcoming racing events and the fishing derby.

“I just love being out in the spring weather and seeing the community come together,” she said.

Opening ceremonies were scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. and fireworks at the breakwater at 10 p.m.

A full schedule for this year’s Toonik Tyme is at 2023tooniktyme.sched.com. The festival runs until April 9.


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(2) Comments:

  1. Posted by Tuniit Extinction Project on

    Would be nice to know who the Honourary ‘Tuniit’ is this year. Anyone know?

    • Posted by Lynda on

      Johnny Mikijuk is the Honorary Toonik this year…it is on the Toonik Tyme fb page.

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