Toonik Tyme draws visitors from near and far

Premier, mayor and other dignitaries wield clubs in sea ice golf tourney


Marsha came all the way to Iqaluit from Chicago just for Toonik Tyme – her second visit to the city during its annual spring festival. She didn’t regret a minute of her stay.

“It’s been fantastic. Everyone’s been so warm,” said the friendly tourist who participated in all Toonik Tyme events, taking in everything from the ice carving competition to the igloo building to the golf tournament where she was thrilled to play with a group of well-known Nunavut leaders.

Sea ice golf took place on a lake this year. Premier Paul Okalik, Iqaluit Mayor Elisapie Sheutiapik, and Iqaluit MLAs Ed Picco and Hunter Tootoo all put on all of their snow gear for a windy nine-hole round on the frozen lake across from the Arctic Winter Games Arena at nine a.m. last Friday.

Snowmobiles lined the hill behind Baffin Regional Hospital for the annual Uphill Climb races last Thursday evening, sponsored by Frobuild Construction and First Air.

Jessee Veevee took first place among the ladies, followed by Tuja Noah and Wendy Lee. Jeremiah Veevee led the men with machines 600cc and under, followed by Tooma Natsiq and Eegeesiaq Arnimmiuq.

For men’s 700cc and 800cc, Johnny Mikidjuk was in first place, followed by Bruce Uviluq and Alex Mercredi. In the men’s open, Bruce Uviluq took first place, followed by Luc Pothier and Utu Maurice.

Weather prevented more than two dog teams from heading out on the annual dog team race on Saturday.

But the crowd was overflowing at the closing ceremonies, which included performances by local singers Leena Evic, Tim Evic, Aaju Peter and the Northern Lights. Akinisie Sivuarapik and Sylvia Watt-Cloutier and their young throatsinging students charmed the audience.

All the musicians were riding high from the previous night’s performance at the Royal Canadian Legion, where the Pirurvik Centre hosted a celebration of Inuktitut. A full house also sang along to favourites by Akulliq, cheered a rare performance by Tanya Tagaq Gillis (“This is my first time. . . in front of Inuit”), and jigged to the tunes of accordion genius Simeonie Keenainak.

Calm, sunny weather made ideal conditions for the sea ice drag races, which took place on Sunday, despite the City of Iqaluit’s refusal to contribute equipment or funding – and the fact that the event was not on

the Toonik Tyme schedule.

Snowmobile racers Tom Bragard, Joanasie Kilabuk and Corey Levesque were among the volunteers and racers who made sure the drag races happened.

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