Kitikmeot Trade Show returns after COVID-19 pandemic hiatus

Annual event runs Wednesday to Friday at Cambridge Bay community hall

Cambridge Bay’s chief administrative officer, Jim MacEachern, says the annual Kitikmeot Trade Show, which returns to in-person events this Wednesday after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is one of the biggest events of the year in the Kitikmeot region. (Photo by Madalyn Howitt)

By Madalyn Howitt

Updated Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 3:45 p.m.

The Kitikmeot Trade Show is returning to Cambridge Bay this week for the first time in three years. 

The 22nd annual economic trade show and conference is one of the biggest events of the year, said Jim MacEachern, the hamlet’s chief administrative officer.

“Businesses from across all of Nunavut as well, and then our hubs in Yellowknife, Edmonton, Ottawa … are all very active in it,” MacEachern said. 

“It’s a good way to bring everyone together to discuss business and opportunities and what the future is for the country.”

This year’s show will run from Wednesday through Friday at the Cambridge Bay community hall. It will feature 52 exhibitors and around 220 participants representing 100 different businesses and organizations. Some of those include Polar Knowledge Canada, the Government of Nunavut, Canadian North Airlines and several retail businesses like the Northern Store, Co-op and local contractors. 

The theme is Reconnect, Reimagine, Rebuild. It’s the first time the show will be held in-person since 2020 when the arrival COVID-19 forced the cancellation of many events across the territory.

Panel discussions on Thursday and Friday will include transportation in the Arctic and alternative energy in the Arctic. 

Transportation will be a particularly big topic MacEachern said, as Cambridge Bay will soon lose jet service when Canadian North retires its last Boeing 737-200 jet on April 1. The airline’s new jets cannot land safely on gravel runways like the one in Cambridge Bay. 

Planning has been happening since September. MacEachern said this year’s show had to take on some new challenges to get up and running, like organizing around flight schedules and routes that have changed during the pandemic. 

The show’s biggest hurdle is always capacity at the hamlet’s community hall, and the finite number of hotel rooms and accommodations available in the community, he added.  

However, a limited capacity for hosting also has its perks.

“As opposed to a business or an organization sending multiple mid-level representatives, the majority of the attendees are the actual decision makers, the presidents, the owners, executive directors that tend to vote,” MacEachern said.  

“From that standpoint, it is an advantage to kind of have a limited capacity.”

The direct financial impacts on the host community of Cambridge Bay are also major boosts each year, MacEachern said. 

“When you look at the catering alone, the total for all of the events is over $40,000 and all of that goes into our local economy,” he said.

Promotional items that go into the delegate bags that are given to the guest speakers and entertainers were all purchased either locally or from the region.

Local artisans and seamstresses will also be able to sell their goods at a booth set up for them at the show, MacEachern said. 

The trade show will conclude Friday with a performance by three-time Juno Award winner Chantal Kreviazuk, who will also perform Saturday at 8 p.m. at the community hall. That performance is free and open to the public, the Kitikmeot Trade Show steering committee announced Monday.

This story has been updated to include details about Chantal Kreviazuk’s performances in Cambridge Bay.

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(2) Comments:

  1. Posted by YCO on

    i hope jaime is back to organizing the event she did awesome all those years she worked at hamlet

  2. Posted by not amused on

    Great that the Trade Show is on, but totally not amused the lack of posters being set out at locations where the public can see -not even one posted. Sad because there are elders and/or those who don’t have face book to know what is going on. I feel for the elders, just my 2 cents for the day.

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