Overnight fire destroys outdoor classroom in Iqaluit
“Heartbreaking news to wake up to,” says school principal
Families in Apex arose Friday morning to news that their community school’s tupiq had been destroyed in an overnight fire.
Iqaluit firefighters were called to the tent fire at about 1:30 a.m., but the 15-by-21-foot wood and canvas structure was a total loss, the City of Iqaluit said on Friday, May 24.
There were no reported injuries, and the fire is now under investigation by Iqaluit RCMP. Police have not said if they suspect arson.
The tent was erected outside of Nanook School last fall, as a focal point of the school’s new land-based outdoor education program, Nuna School.
The heated structure meant that students could learn outdoors on even the coldest days, in a space where they hosted elders, lit qulliqs and shared bannock.
Nanook school principal Mathew Knickelbein said the loss of the tupiq was “heartbreaking news to wake up [to.]”
“We will rebuild,” Knickelbein said in a Facebook post.
“We will not let this setback curb our enthusiasm for providing such important educational opportunities to our students in our community.”
Knickelbein said the school would launch a fundraiser in the days to come.
But by mid-day Friday, a number of Iqaluit businesses and organizations had already pledged materials or cash donations to construct a new tupiq.
You can donate to the school’s rebuilding efforts at this GoFundMe page.