Nunavut Newbie v.2.0: Iqaluit Newbie

A journal that will hopefully help out anyone who is thinking about moving to Nunavut or anywhere in Northern Canada.

Monday, August 24, 2009


I guess it's time for a post, eh?

Life is back to normal post-holidays. I've been working out a lot, eating healthier, and going tanning. I also booked my Christmas holiday but that's not important right now.

I have yet another chapter in the book of Jaime and Her Ignorance Toward Vehicle Ownership. It's a little thing called registration. Tomorrow marks 1 year of owning my beloved Suzuki. It also marks 1 year since I had it registered and insured. My insurance is no problem, I got that covered. I pay an exorbitant amount to cover myself, it's under control. What I don't get is why the hell my registration expired in April and not August. I didn't pay much attention to the sticker on my polar bear license plate, but I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that I needed to renew it sometime in August.

Wrong! Last weekend I was pulled over by the lovely law enforcement officials of our dear city as part of Take Back The Night. The By-law officer took my insurance. "Ha!" he laughed, "Your insurance is expired!"
"No it isn't, I know for a fact it expires August 25."
"Yeah and what's the date today?!"
"August 14."
"Oh yeah."

That was a bit nerve-wracking but I chilled out and handed him my registration.
"AH HA! This is expired! It expired in April."
"Oh, really?"

I escaped without a ticket, but not without a lesson: Nunavut's Department of Motor Vehicles has seemingly arbitrary expiry dates for registration. If you know why this is, please explain.

And now, I've been getting quite a few question-comments so I'm going to answer them here.

Q: My family is also looking at Iqaluit. I am a Registered Nurse, so am looking at government positions, wondering what the housing is like that they provide?

A: There are many houses, townhouses, and apartments. Housing is decent. Any more specific, and you'd have to find out where you're living because each unit is different. I don't work for the GN and I don't live in GN housing so I'm not much help.

Q: Should I buy a car here or there, if there should I fly there..can you even drive all the way there? Is it safe, or just as safe as Ottawa for a single girl to live? I notice the salaries are quite high but does that just match the cost of living or can you actually make more money there? Is housing readily available? Is there a region that you recommend for someone that will be going to the North for the first time?

A: Whoa whoa whoa. First of all, you cannot drive to anywhere in Nunavut. You have no choice but to fly. You can buy a car down there and have it sealift'ed up, or you can buy one here. There are decent options in the larger communities as far as I know. In Iqaluit there is anyway.

It's reasonably safe but like anywhere in the world, if you put yourself in a dangerous situation, you may not be lucky. I don't walk around town by myself at night, but I don't in Ontario either. Other than that, no, you're not going to be mugged walking down the street in broad daylight. Not by a long shot.

Housing is available depending where you move and who your employer is. Some jobs provide housing, others don't. Iqaluit has some private accommodations, but it's better to have a place secured before you move here, and that goes for any community.

Yes, you will make money here assuming you don't spend it all. Don't assume it will be easy to save, but you probably won't be broke.

If you're going to the north for the first time and aren't sure if you'll like it, I suggest Iqaluit. We have familiar amenities here such as a gym, movie theatre, restaurants, bars, etc. If you're up for a challenge, anywhere in the north is your arctic oyster.

P.S. You won't be able to drive between communities. I suggest you do some more research before committing to moving here.

Q: I want to move to Nunavut. Can you email me at

A: Sorry, no. I do not send out general "how to move here!" emails. Please ask me a specific question and I can attempt to answer it. If I sent emails to everyone who left these comments, I'd have to quit my job and chain myself to my computer. I'm not a mind reader, you have to tell me what you want to know.

Q: Is the people friendly there? I want to spend some time there to know the mother nature and original living style of Nunavut. Is anyone willing to like to keep some one and show places?

A: Nunavut is very friendly. I can't answer your second question because I'm not on speaking terms with every single person here. Only they can answer for themselves.

As a general note, I enjoy answering questions, but please think your question through first. Don't make me smack my head against the keyboard, please. It's brand new and very pretty and I don't want to break it.

Also, welcome to Nunavut Tara and Jordan & Steph!! I've been impatiently checking your blogs for updates! I look forward to reading your observations.

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Happy 3 Years

(I apologize for the tininess of the photo; it won't seem to upload larger.)

Congratulations to me! Today is my 3 year anniversary of moving to Nunavut. This time 3 years ago, I was probably sitting in the apartment in Rankin Inlet, staring out the window in shock.

I don't know if I ever wrote about this, but for probably the first 2 or 3 hours after landing in Rankin Inlet for the first time, I felt nothing but panic and dread. As much preparation as you do, as many pictures as you see, nothing really compares to the moment you look out your new apartment at a completely strange and different world. I felt like I had just landed on the moon. I'd never been so far away from my family and friends, and knowing it would be months before I'd see them again shook me to the core. I was, as you might say, freaked out. It was August 1st and I'd just come from a 45C humidex in London. It was 4C in Rankin Inlet that evening. I put on a toque and we went out for a walk. I stared at Hudson Bay in fascination. I breathed in the fresh air, looked around, and officially decided I liked the place. From then on, I've loved Nunavut and have never looked back.

This place has been good to me. I consider myself to be a very lucky person in that I have everything I want and more. I have Nunavut to thank for that. It's difficult to imagine what my life would have been like had I never moved north. I'm not sure I could even fathom a guess at what I'd be doing right now in Ontario if I never left. I've changed so much from the days of riding the Cherryhill bus in London everyday; from the days of freaking out about spending $90 at the grocery store; from weaving through crowds at Masonville mall.

Anyway. Thanks for 3 great years Nunavut, and I'm sure there will be at least 3 more great ones ahead.

Oh! And to everybody who mocked me when I said I was moving north, especially to the person who told me I'd never last and all the people who said I'd hate it: You were dead wrong, losers.

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