Toonik Tyme in Iqaluit…

It’s been a busy few days here in Iqaluit.  Toonik Tyme started on last Thursday evening with the opening ceremonies.  What is Toonik Tyme you might be asking yourself? It started back in a spring festival.  This is the time where the sun has returned, and the bitter cold days start to get warmer…a perfect time to get outside and celebrate with friends from the community! *check out the link above for more information.

Part of my ‘stay-cation’ here in Iqaluit was to be able to participate in some of the Toonik Tyme Events.  Just to warn you–this is a post FILLED with photos…so ENJOY!

Thursday April 12th a few friends and I headed to the curling rink for the Opening Ceremonies.  It was a fantastic evening of celebration with lots of live music!  Every year there is an Honorary Toonik this year Solomon Awa was chosen.  Solomon was the leader of the successful bowhead whale hunt that happened near Iqaluit this past August.

There were lots of music…the Inuksuk Drum Dancers took to the stage for a few songs.

Two very talented throat singers…shared a few songs.  Throat singing traditionally was done between two or more women.  It often mimicked sounds in nature… one woman would lead and the other would follow with similar sounds.  It is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard, it’s so hard to explain in words what it sounds like!

This year’s Toonik Tyme has a theme of diversity.  One of the groups that played were Koel & the Twin Otters…they sang some Traditional Chinese songs, and some Indian Love songs!

..this group performed songs with a reggae inspired beat!  The one I loved was the “IQ” song… (not 100% sure of the actual title).

One of the last groups to perform were The Jerry Cans!  It was some great tunes that made you want to get on your feet and DANCE! (that is if you can keep up to the accordian!~)

Friday April 13th- I went to the Family Sledding party…on the Road to Nowhere Hill!

Later that night I joined my friend Leslie for the “Giant” Bingo… I was within 1 number on two different games of getting BINGO, sadly I missed out on the $10,000 pot!

Above is the photo of the winner-Hannah Stoney from Iqaluit.  She brought her “lucky” elephant with her when she came to play, which a co-worker of her husbands brought it back from India. I suppose next giant bingo-I need to get a ‘lucky’ elephant!

Saturday, April 14th– was a crazy busy day!  I started off the day by heading out with 2 friends to get in line for the craft sale. There were so many wonderful things… I ended up with three new things- a pair of earings, a knitted scarf/cowl thingie and a seal skin headband. Afterwards my friends and I went to breakfast… and caught up since it had been awhile since we had all hung out!

I went to the RCMP BBQ…and took a turn to ‘strike’ a pose with Safety Bear!

There was also an Ice Sculpture Carving Contest… I ended up not seeing the carvings happen (I was at the Igloo building contest.) But took a ‘before’ picture and returned ‘after’ to see what had been made!  It was amazing to see what someone had turned the block of ice into!

It was pretty amazing to see the Igloos being made.  It was my first time to actually “SEE” it happen.  (I had visited an Igloo in Igloolik-but didn’t get to see it being made!) I took a HEAP of photos… so here are some that made the cut for the blog!

Below you can see how the Igloos were slowly formed… brick by brick!

I am NO expert at making an Igloo… I’m going to share with you some of my observations-which may or may not be 100% correct, but it’s what I observed and then my interpretations of that!  To start off… you need snow blocks.  So the igloo builders started with saws and a machete like looking knife… to cut deep down into the snow to make rectangular blocks.  This created a ‘hole’ or a spot to build the igloo around.  The blocks then are placed on top of each other… and ‘shaved’ into place. It’s a fine art watching a block being picked and then placed… sometimes a few got ‘rejected’ and thrown outside of the igloo.  Most of the igloo makers when they got to a certain spot in the building–they finished the roof by building it from the INSIDE out.

Solomon Awa was the judge for the competition… which was for the best ‘shaped’ igloo in the fastest time.  While he was waiting he made an igloo!  The photos below are him working on it.  You can see him fitting on the final top block, cutting it down to size… coming out of the Igloo (he had to cut his way OUT of the completed igloo)…and enjoying a Tim’s Coffee!

After Solomon had caught his breath… he took a moment to look around, and went over to help this guy.  He gave some pointers and instructions. It was really neat to see how he shared some of his amazing knowledge with one of the participants in the challenge!

Finishing up the top…

Below is a picture of Joshua Kango who won a round-trip Canadian North ticket from Iqaluit to Ottawa for the igloo he made.

Then came the fun part of being able to go inside the igloos!  Here I am in the one that Solomon made… (I only went into one of them). Normally the ‘cracks’ would be covered with packed snow…but when that doesn’t happen u get a really cool effect on the inside!

The Igloo making was a highlight of my day… it was so great to be able to watch how they are made.  I just want to thank all the Igloo makers for their hard work!  (They all got their ‘sweat’ on while cutting and placing all of those snow blocks!)

I also was able to go to the bannock and tea making competition.  It was neat to see everyone huddling around the coleman stoves and getting their baking groove on…all dressed in their winter gear!

The last event I attended was the concert at the curling rink.  The evening started off with three different local acts and then The Stanfields a band from Nova Scotia took to the Toonik Tyme Stage. Here’s a shot of the Stanfields on the stage…

I think I might have enjoyed the night a bit more if my tailbone wasn’t so sore…(I fell Friday afternoon, and bruised/injured it… still sore as I type this). But that’s not to say I didn’t have fun with the with the friends I was with.  Some of the highlights were the 6 bags of Mini Chips that Nathalie bought for the bargain price of $20.  (she got them from the Racket Club upstairs…) Yup, those bags were approx. $3.33 each!  This was something that Nathalie and I found VERY funny! But they were tasty and such salty goodness!

…Sunday I was too sore, with my tailbone..and ended up visiting with some friends so didn’t get out to the sea ice to participate in any of the activities out there!

Tonight was the closing ceremonies and feast…but I was at the airport and on my way back to Pang!  I had a blast at the activities that I attended… It was worth the vacation and time to in Iqaluit to participate.  If you ever get the chance… you should totally visit Iqaluit during Toonik Tyme!

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