Toonik Tyme Wrap-up – The “Better Late Than Never” Edition

After a week and a half of being fairly sick, and then being forced to recover from the results of a disappointing election, I am finally back to sum up – as promised – our first experience with Toonik Tyme.  I have also been significantly shamed into getting my fingers back on the keyboard, so thanks for that Ian.  😉  If you read this blog just for the pictures, then you’re in luck.  Ian has advised me that we uploaded about 90 new shots from the festival in Iqaluit that heralds the coming of spring.

Stage at the Opening Ceremonies

The festival was heralded in through the use of the opening ceremonies.  Many of the larger events were being held at the Curling Rink, and this was no exception.  From what Ian and I could see, there was a great turnout.  Plenty of people were volunteering to help out with upcoming events and all volunteers got this lime green t-shirt.  Can’t miss a person in this thing!  We had planned on helping out at a few events, and so grabbed our shirts that night so we’d be ready.

The opening ceremonies began with the lighting of the traditional qulliq by a local elder.  She told us a lovely anecdote about how stinky seal oil can be when it’s old – apparently it was old that night, because she wasn’t impressed by the smell at all.  We finally got to experience Inuit throat singing!  It’s traditionally performed by Inuit girls or women, almost as a game.  The two women face each other and sing back and forth, attempting to make the other laugh.  I’m glad we got to see it, as it’s something to experience for yourself for sure.  We have a couple of videos of some of the singers.  I’ll try to get some of them uploaded at some point.  But let’s just say that the internet up here leaves something to be desired when it comes to uploading videos.

There were a number of throat singing acts, including a woman from Nunavut who partnered up with a woman from Finland (if I recall correctly) for a mix of Inuit throat singing with Joik – a traditional singing style of the Sámi people.  The Sámi are the arctic indigenous people of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia.  We were also treated to local singer Aaju Peter, as well as some exchange students in Iqaluit. Unfortunately my memory is hazy on names and places, and we must have thrown out the schedule for the night.  Boo!

Throat singers

Folk singing with Aaju Peter

Friday night was Northern Bands night at the Cadet Hall.  There is some amazing talent in this little city of ours.  We were very happy to be introduced to Josh Qaumariaq, Michael Doyle, Jordan Grenke, and so many other talented musicians.  I wish I could remember them all, but they were all amazing.  It makes me want to get into playing music again!

Josh Qaumariaq & his band - this guy's voice...INCREDIBLE blues singer!

Mike Doyle & friends...a VERY talented bunch!

Saturday was by far our busiest day.  We were in line for the craft show at 9 AM for its 10 AM start on the very good advice of a friend.  The show was full of all kinds of vendors.  Food, clothing, traditional art and carvings, fur, coffee…something for everyone!  I easily got waylaid by the first table we passed – it was filled with cheese!  There were so many tables there that we barely got to see everything.  The crowd quickly made its way into the Curling Rink and people were everywhere.  We picked up a few gifts for people and some more goodies for ourselves and were off.

Missy and Sileema manning the St. Jude’s booth – raising money to finish rebuilding the church…

Following the craft show, we headed back out for some of the outdoor events.  We didn’t get to see everything that was going on that day.  There were so many events…snowmobile races, igloo building, ice carving, barbecues, dogsled races.  So much to do, and not enough time to do it all!

Ian and the large arctic char that now resides in our freezer

Carving ice sculptures in the cold

Ian...seconds after biting into a frozen burger

After a quick nap, Ian and I headed back to the Curling Rink for the annual “big band” night. Every year, a band from down south is flown in to perform. The White Stripes have been here. Last year it was The Trews. This year, a band out of Hamilton, Ontario graced us with their presence…The Reason. We volunteered at the event. Ian got to handle security, and I manned the door, taking tickets. It was a great night, and we ended up being able to watch the band once all of the volunteer duties were complete. And of course, in my usual groupie ways, I snuck in a picture of myself with the singer, Adam. All in all, we had a great night! Live music is so much fun!

Ian with the boys in security

The Reason rocking Iqaluit

Suzanne playing groupie with Adam White of The Reason

After a very late night cleaning up from the show, we were back at it again in the morning. This time, we were helping to sell tickets at the Toonik Tyme Hockey Tournament. The proceeds were going to the Iqaluit Humane Society, and we ended up raising $2000 for our efforts. The hockey tournament featured teams from across Nunavut and Nunavik. We were there on the championship day, during the semi-final games. It was very busy, and we met a tonne of people, including some really helpful kids. So cute!

Two of our little helpers at the hockey tournament

Sunday was unfortunately the end of our Toonik Tyme adventures. We wanted to get back out for the closing ceremonies, but both of us ended up feeling pretty sick that night. It’s too bad, as I heard it was quite good, with more performers similar to the opening night.

So there you have it. Finally. We’re looking forward to Toonik Tyme next year. In fact, I’ve already started making inquiries about being a part of the board. It’s great to be a part of things in this city, and when it comes down to it, the best way to do that is to volunteer. Happy spring everyone!

11 thoughts on “Toonik Tyme Wrap-up – The “Better Late Than Never” Edition

  1. Glad you guys had a good time at Toonik Tyme, Suzanne…that Adam White is very cute…I would have liked to have my photo taken with him too!

    Why is Ian eating a frozen burger?


    • Well, the RCMP held a barbecue on the Saturday and were cooking up the burgers for free. Ian grabbed one, but by the time he got near the end of it, the cold ambient temperature coupled by the even colder wind chill had refrozen the cooked burger. It was incredible!

      By the way, The Reason was the band who played the cover of Sloan’s “Underwhelmed”. The photo was taken right after I had finished thanking him for playing it. And before I went back to picking up garbage off of the floor. Ahh, the life of a volunteer. 😉

  2. I have to say how proud I am of you and Ian! You guys are joining in, making friends and doing your best to help improve your new community…which I think is awesome. I think it’s smart to join in and help in your community because it makes it more of a home instead of a place you just happen to live. Keep up the good work and lemme know more about your wish list…my brother works at Walmart (discount!) and even though he is no longer at Bulk Barn he still has friends there (more discounts!). As I said before if u r in need of anything from here you can’t get there reasonably lemme know!

    • Aww, thanks Trish! It has definitely been a change from how we usually live our lives. Not to say that we don’t volunteer to help out where we go, but it’s increased tenfold up here. It’s an amazing community that just does that sort of thing to you. And since there’s almost always something going on, there are lots of opportunities out there to help. End of June/early July is the Alianait Festival, which we’re on the list to help out at. And then we’re both doing our things at the Humane Society and the Greenhouse Society. It’s awesome.

      We also definitely appreciate the offer for helping with the wish list. Unfortunately the shipping sucks, so we can’t always get stuff from down there, but every once in awhile. I’ll get in touch with you soon. We might be running out of some herbs/spices that we can’t find up here.

  3. It looks like a ton fun! Glad you guys had a good time and were finally able to share some photos.

    Was the burger suppose to be frozen? Does Ian still have all of his teeth?

    • See the explanation I gave to Wendy…hehe. Yes, he definitely still has all his teeth. But the look on his face when he bit into it was priceless. He kind of just looked at me and said “It’s already frozen!” It was cold that day!

    • It was depressing. The first few bites were magical. Nothing beats a fresh-off-the-grill burger in sub zero temperature… but alas I apparently don’t eat fast enough because by the time I walked 20ft away from where I got it the dang thing was frozen again. lol

  4. Toonik Tyme sounds like a whole lot of fun. You both lucky duckies. I could just picture how the throat singers were and what they said. I picture a few got loader than the other in high pitch voice or said something a bit ridiculous to get the other to laugh which made the audience laugh too.

    Congrats to Missy and Sileema to raise $2000 in one night! Ian that fish look great. What do you and Suzanne (sorry for always typing Rat..I tend to forget names sometime) plan to make with it? Have you ever heard of or tried “rellenong bangus” I am not sure if you need to use only milk fish or any. I plan to make this one day. It is more of stuffing the fish with a lot of cook goodies after the inside as been scrape out clean removing the bones, then frying or grilling the fish last.

    Frozen burger yuck. I read the response above that it was hot and straight from the grill. Wow it is really that cold over there. I can tell from Ian mustache, lol. Do it ever get summer warm temperature there that people can be coat less?

    • Just to clarify, Missy and Sileema were raising money for the church and I have nooooo idea how much they raised. Ian and I were helping to raise money for the Humane Society and the group of volunteers that helped out raised $2000 over the few days that the hockey tournament was going on. Just don’t want to step on any toes!

      I really need to upload a couple of the throat singing videos…they were so cool.

      As for fish, that’s all Ian’s. I don’t eat fish, but I’m over the fact that the large thing is still in our freezer. 😉

      And yes! It does get warmer. The snow will eventually be gone for a couple months…flowers will bloom and we won’t have to wear coats all the time. I’m looking forward to it…considering we’re almost at the point where it’ll be 24 hours of light…ugh!

      • 24 hours of light..too cool, lol. I wonder if people will lose sense of time. I always read about that and seen it on tv. Thanks for the clarification and sorry. I think I got too happy to see a post from ya:) that I misread and congrats on the Humane Society funds. Well done to everyone!
        Oh wow, a large fish like that for one. I must remember that you are a vegetarian. I remember your post mentioned that when you was moving and your worries of not having fresh vegetable and debated if you had to go back and eat meat and you were relief to find out when you moved there on certain day you can get fresh meat for you:)

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