Spend a week in Nunavut
by: Margo Pfeiff
Hop on a qamutiq sled pulled by a team of trained dogs to try your hand at ice fishing, dropping a line through the frozen sea ice to catch an Arctic cod. Squint at the wintry landscape following your keen-eyed Inuit guide’s finger. Finally you spot them – a mother polar bear and cub! Or, on a sunny summer day overlooking dramatic fjords, nibble tundra blueberries and pick up a few Inuktitut phrases from your Inuit host family as a delicious caribou stew simmers on a camp stove.
Nunavut is rich with living Inuit culture, but opportunities to experience and get to know the people and their way of life up close and personal are rare. Carrefour Nunavut offers a unique homestay that hooks up guests with Inuit hosts in the traditional village of Kimmirut year-round for a week of “Living the Inuit Lifestyle”. Embedded in the community, you get to know the hamlet with insiders. Go with their flow, watching ladies create traditional sealskin boots, hearing elders’ stories, chatting with stone and ivory carvers about their work and joining in with drum dancing or throat singing sessions. The menu for your home-cooked meal of “country foods” depends on the family hunter’s good fortune – it might be Arctic shrimp, ptarmigan, seal or even polar bear stew!
Inuit love to spend time out “on the land”. In summer, hike the tundra in nearby Katannalik Park watching for snowy owls and foxes in round-the-clock daylight, or become one of their extended family on a Soper Lake boat fishing trip. Then overnight, as they do, in a rustic outpost camp.
In winter, help your musher hook up the dogs for a sledding expedition, riding in comfort wrapped in caribou hides. In spring, take an Arctic safari to the ice floe edge to spot seals, whales, bears and migrating birds. Glide across the frozen sea to spend the night in a cozy rustic cabin. Or perhaps the snow is just right to build an igloo – go ahead and sleep warmly in it as technicolor Northern Lights dance overhead.