Photos: Iqaluit celebrates Nunavut’s 25th with cake, fireworks

Gov. Gen. Mary Simon among high-profile attendees

Nunavut’s 25th anniversary celebrations in Iqaluit ended April 1 with a colourful fireworks show by the breakwater. (Photo by Jeff Pelletier)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Iqaluit celebrated Nunavut’s 25th anniversary Monday with cake, fireworks and messages of hope about the territory’s future.

Nunavut officially broke off from the Northwest Territories and joined confederation as its own public government on April 1, 1999.

Like any birthday, the community gathered for a big party at the Aqsarniit hotel. Staff added additional seating inside the hotel’s large ballroom to accommodate the lineup of guests that extended out the facility’s front doors.

Gov. Gen Mary Simon and her husband, Whit Fraser, were among the high-profile attendees.

Sitting alongside them were Premier P.J. Akeeagok, MP Lori Idlout, Commissioner Eva Aariak and federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Gary Anandasangaree, as well as other MLAs, former politicians and families.

“I’m honoured to be joining all of you and other Nunavummiut in celebrating the 25th anniversary of Nunavut,” Simon said in her remarks.

“Its creation marked a significant milestone in recognizing Indigenous rights, particularly Inuit rights, and protecting and promoting Inuit culture, language and heritage. I am especially honoured to be here with you as Canada’s first Inuk governor general.”

Former premier Paul Quassa also stood up to remark on how his peers’ “old vision” is still coming into reality.

“Full self-reliance, being self-sufficient is what I see in 25 years… We now have total control over our land and resources, let’s make that work.”

Several musical performers also took to the stage, and for dessert a Nunavut flag cake was served.

After the party ended, people made their way to Iqaluit’s breakwater where, despite some wind, a colourful fireworks show lit up the sky.

Simon and Fraser plan to continue their four-day tour of Nunavut this week with a stop in Kimmirut Tuesday, a return to Iqaluit later that day and Wednesday, ending with a visit to Qikiqtarjuak on Thursday.

“I like to hear what people think these days, the challenges that they face, how they feel about 25 years after the creation of the territory,” Simon said Monday in an interview about the trip.

“It’s really important, I think, to focus on understanding the challenges, but also talking about the future.”

  • A limited supply of Nunavut 25th anniversary T-shirts were available to attendees at Monday's celebration at the Aqsarniit hotel in Iqaluit. (Photo by Jeff Pelletier)



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(2) Comments:

  1. Posted by Peter on

    A few of us were wondering where NTI is in this 25th anniversary celebration?

    Isn’t this important for them too? Seems like they would bring the negotiators for TFN to this event as some are still alive and the true father of Nunavut who started the Inuit movement and we would not have Nunavut today if it weren’t for him, unfortunately he was not invited again.

    • Posted by Baffin on

      It didn’t involve international travel so they didn’t bother to participate in the 25th anniversary celebrations


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