Northern Notes

ATTENTION ALL NORTHERNERS WHO VISIT THIS BLOG: If you have any tips, tricks or things worth noting to those new to the North please feel free to share. Having as much advice in one spot from varying sources makes it a heckuva lot easier for people to reference. Cheers!


Last Updated: February 25th 2013

Days without a complete wipeout for Ian – The streak ended at 726 days. I almost completed 2 full years without busting my bum but unfortunately a week after Suzanne took a spill that broke her wrist I too joined the masses that have put ass-to-ice. Thankfully the only thing I shattered was my pride.


  • Tim Horton’s @ NorthMART apparently opens and closes an hour before the store does so that’s handy if you want to camp out there and have a coffee or something waiting for the grocery store to open up. As of December 6th 2010 they do not have the capability to accept Tim’s Cards. They’re working on it though.
  • Yaktrax don’t do much when there’s a layer of snow over the ice. They actually help make you slide even more once the snow gets caked up in your rings.
  • It’s been advised to us by someone who’s been up here for quite a long time that if you have electronics (like a tv, computer, etc) coming up via air transport let the devices warm up to room temperature gradually before even trying to turn them on. He recommends letting them sit in moderate temperature dwelling for at least 2 – 3 days before firing things up. Many a hard drive have been lost to premature activation.
  • Depending on where you are and how much sunlight you get (or don’t get for that matter) it’s recommended that you stock up on vitamin D. At least 1000 – 1200mg daily should suffice during the dark months but you can load up on more (up to about 2500 – 3000mg) if you’re really feeling “out of it”.
  • They have Internot up here – not quite Internet. If you’re used to blazing download & upload speeds be ready for a wake up call. You have to do your homework and/or pay a hefty price for comparable Southern speeds.
  • Cab rides end up being social interactions with strangers whether you like it or not. It’s quite common to share cabs with others around town. Since cab rates are $6 per person anywhere in the city it’s an everyday event to have people pop in and out of the cab you’re in en route to your destination. If you don’t like engaging with people then you’re going to be doing a lot of walking here. Good luck when the bad weather comes.
  • Stock up on lotion. It’s so dang dry up here it can get you itching no matter how many showers you take. Keep yourself moisturized as much as possible.
  • Apparently if your shoe size is 10 and over (females), there is a good chance you’ll find a lot of shoes on sale.
  • NorthMart has loads of sales in the days approaching Christmas – including a balloon drop where you can win some great prizes.
  • It’s a good idea not to go grocery shopping after 5 PM on Government agency pay days.  The word is that both grocery stores are extremely busy at that time.
  • To get a post office box, you must be able to show a letter from a landlord or an employer.  Oh, and if you don’t have a civic address, don’t bother asking for one.
  • If you wear glasses be mindful and stray away from wearing them outside if you’re going to be in the cold for too long. I heard my frames creaking and crackling the other day when it was bitterly cold and there was a guy at the post office who’s lens just popped right out. That’s all I need is for my only pair of glasses to get viciously taken out.
  • Be very observant when you shop for fresh meat and produce at any of the stores. Unlike the south where it’s often safe to assume things are within their “best before” range, up here if you’re not paying attention you could very well end up with some edibles that are well past their prime.
  • Tim Hortons is apparently doing the Roll Up The Rim up here.
  • The Country Food Fair will now be held on the second Saturday of every month, so no worries that you missed the first one (March 12th).
  • Missy warned us about this but we didn’t take her seriously – own a pair of rain boots. When Iqaluit starts defrosting the muck and mud levels are staggering. You can quite literally go calf deep in some mud without notice. Let’s just say I had a nice pair of sneakers before coming up here. ;p
  • Best time to buy pop around here seems to be just before sealift time. Stores look to sell their old inventory before their new supply comes in and it’s usually for far cheaper than you’d ordinarily find. For example for the apst month or so NorthMart has been selling Pepsi 12 can cases (Crush, Mug, Schwepps, etc) that normally go for about $15 for only $5. So what they’re a little old. Can’t beat that price up here.
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5 thoughts on “Northern Notes

  1. Hey Ian and Suzanne,
    We just moved to Iqaluit and have found your blog extremely helpful for learning about this town. We especially enjoyed the Grind and Brew. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences, because it has made our first couple weeks here a lot more fun as we’ve gone in search of the different places you have already found.
    All the best!
    joc

  2. Hi ! My boyfriend and I are both in the process of applying for jobs with the Government of Nunavut. I notice you took a couple cats with you – I have 2 – 11 year old cats and I am very afraid that they would not survive such a long flight. We are on vancouver Island. I am hearing conflicting reports about having them fly in the cabin vs checking them on the plane as cargo. Do you have any advice for me regarding bringing my two cats? I love them and do not want to bring harm to them. Are your cats happy up there? my two never go outside so I think once they get up there they would be ok – I just worry about the travel. Any input that you have would be appreciated.

    • I think you’ll have to check with whichever airline(s) you’re flying on to confirm but when we came up we were allowed to have both our kitties in the cabin as “carry-on” luggage. Depending on the time of year you come up the cargo hold may in fact be too cold to have them in there so you may have no choice but to bring them in the cabin. They required a soft carrier that could fit under the seat in front of you with a weight not exceeding 20lbs (cat + carrier weight) if I recall. Check your airline’s website for specifics regardless and make sure you confirm, confirm again and triple confirm. For us we flew 2 Air Canada flights (Toronto to Ottawa and Ottawa to Iqaluit). Total flight time was about 4hrs but you have to factor in travel time getting to and from as well with the little critters. We had started our journey roughly 5hrs ahead of our first flight. We didn’t allow our cats to drink that night prior to us leaving.

      They were generally well behaved for the whole duration. They didn’t get much sleep the night we left so the whole day was pretty exhausting for them. By the time we got on the Ottawa to Iqaluit flight they slept for most of it. They love it up here though. They too don’t go outside but we also live on the 4th floor of our building so they get to watch all the street theater so they’re content. At 11 years old your cats should be able to handle the travel okay. If you have any real concerns though try to find an organic pet food store. We went to one a couple weeks prior to leaving called Global Pet Foods and spoke with an employee there about a natural relaxant. At the time our kittens were being little terrors at night running around and being kid-like so we wanted to get them something to calm them down a bit. I can’t recall the name of the product we got but it was an all natural, chicken flavored liquid that you placed on their dinner and acted sort of like an anti-catnip. We had given our cats a nightly dose for weeks before we left so I’m not sure if it played a factor in their calm behavior during travel or not but it seemed to work.

      I hope this information helps you out. If you’re curious about anything else don’t hesitate to email either of us. We’re more than happy to help out new arrivals. Hope everything pans out well for you two. Look us up if you’re ever in town. Cheers!

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