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Canadian Rangers – Thank you for your service

November 10th, 2015 | By | Filed in Current Events

On the eve of Remembrance Day, we honour members of the 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group. 1 CRPG members patrol the Arctic territories and Atlin, British Columbia. Headquartered in Yellowknife, NWT, under the command of Major Craig Volstad, the First is tasked with patrolling 40% of Canada's landmass. According to the official website, the mission of the Canadian Rangers is:
provide lightly equipped, self sufficient, mobile forces in support of Canadian forces sovereignty and domestic operation tasks in Canada.
Members assist in Search and Rescue when required. They are role models for young people and are often found in leadership roles in their home communities. Read more about the 1 CRPG patrols here. Arctic Kingdom thanks members of 1 CRPG for their service. We will be marking Remembrance Day, tomorrow, November 11 at 11 AM. We encourage all our followers to stand in silent respect at that time for 2 minutes to honour those who gave their lives in defense of freedom.

The Freighter Canoe – Uniquely Canadian, Uniquely Northern

November 4th, 2015 | By | Filed in Arctic History, Trips

Freighter canoe, Eeyou Istchee

Freighter canoe with the Canots Nor-West decal.

Freighter canoes are hybrids, part motor-boat, part canoe. They are large, long and oddly beautiful. Note the straight stern, on which an outboard engine can be attached. The photo to the right was taken on the eastern shore of James Bay in the Cree territory known as Eeyou Istchee. The people of Waskaganish, a small coastal Cree village on the southern coast of Eeyou Istchee, has a 300 year history of building canoes designed to carry the freight associated with the fur trade. It is thought that the current design was based on those more traditional canoes used by the Hudson Bay Company. Igloolik Freighter CanoeWhat those of us in the south often forget is that the North is Canada's third sea coast. James Bay and its northern and larger extension - Hudson Bay - are subject to strong winds, ice and currents. The motorized freighter canoe was designed to navigate that treacherous seacoast. The photo to the left was taken in the summer of 2015 near Igloolik, an Inuit community far north of Hudson Bay on the banks of the Northwest Passage. Our Kings of the Arctic Safari is staged there. Riding in the canoe are members of our Field Staff, showing off their skill in the canoe that Northern peoples have adopted as their own.

Nunavut Day – July 9, 2015

July 8th, 2015 | By | Filed in IN THE NEWS

Experience mushing first hand

Experience mushing first hand

Happy Nunavut Day! July 9th marks the annual celebration of when the Parliament of Canada passed the Nunavut Act and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act in 1993. Nunavut officially split from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, resulting in Nunavut becoming the newest territory in Canada.
This public holiday commemorates the largest and northernmost territory and is celebrated by the organization and participation of many different events. There are communal meals arranged, traditional games and dances, speeches by local leaders, presentations of policies and initiatives and fun competitions to increase the awareness of Nunavut’s history among younger generations.

Did you know: 10 Interesting Facts about Nunavut

- The first people to live in Nunavut were the Inuit - The creation of Nunavut marks the first major change to Canada’s political map since 1949 - Nunavut means ‘our land’ in the Inuit language of Inuktitut - Nunavut’s official languages are Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun, English and French - Nunavut is the largest territory and makes up one fifth of Canada’s land mass - Nunavut is the least populated, yet has the largest surface area in Canada - Species that call Nunavut home are: muskoxen, caribou, polar bears, arctic foxes, whales and seals - The land and the water are frozen most of the year - Nunavut’s resources are diamonds, hunting, fishing, trapping, sealing & arts and crafts - Nunavut was the last province/territory in Canada to have a Tim Hortons, the first one opened in December 2010

Nunavut's Emblems

The official flower is the Purple Saxifrage. The official bird is the Rock Ptarmigan and the official animal is the Canadian Inuit Dog. Author: Mandy Ams

Pan Am Games work around when travelling to Baffin Island

July 6th, 2015 | By | Filed in Current Events

Iqaluit Northern LightsFrom June 10 to 26 and from August 7 to 15, , Toronto and the Golden Horseshoe region are hosting the 2015 Pan Am Games. Seven thousand athletes and a quarter million visitors are expected. Needless to say there will be a strain on all transportation systems, including flights.

Ottawa is the gateway to Baffin Island: Toronto is not the only gateway to Ottawa

We recommend that you fly to Ottawa via Montreal, Quebec, if you are planning a visit to Iqaluit and Baffin Island during the dates of the Games. Montreal is a major international gateway with an excellent airport. If you are arriving from Paris, London or San Francisco, you will find convenient connecting flights to Ottawa. There are plenty of hotels surrounding Pierre Elliott Trudeau International (YUL).

Take the Train

There are as many as 12 departures a day between Montreal and Ottawa by VIA Rail, Canada's passenger rail service. The Dorval train station is a short distance from the Montreal airport (YUL). It is a comfortable alternate. Plan to spend a night in Ottawa before catching your northbound flight, if you choose this method.

Add to your Pan Am Games visit a weekend in the Arctic

Plan to extend your stay in Canada by adding a weekend in the Arctic. Iqaluit, the capital of Canada's eastern Arctic is only a 3-hour direct flight from Ottawa. If you catch our 9 AM Friday flight from Ottawa, you'll be in the Arctic by lunch time. Our 2 night, 3 day Arctic Weekend Getaway is an extraordinary value. A return flight from Ottawa to Iqaluit is normally $2,500 a person. Our package includes the flight, 2 nights hotel, a city orientation tour, taxes and airport transfers in Iqaluit at a per person cost of $1,516. Yes. You read that correctly. You'll save $984 per person!

Father’s Day is June 21, 2015 – Don’t forget

June 20th, 2015 | By | Filed in IN THE NEWS

Polar Bear_RANDY_BURDICKDuring the month of May, we celebrated Mother’s Day and posted a blog about beluga whales and narwhals. We focused on how the mothers take care of their young and support them until they are no longer dependent. For Father's Day, we decided to take the opposite approach and highlight which animal is undoubtedly the worst father in the Arctic. Let’s just say that this dad will not be winning any 'Father of the Year' awards anytime soon. Father polar bears managed to make National Geographic's list of 'Worst Animal Fathers' which isn't a surprise given their unsympathetic nature towards their young. Mother animals are known to be more protective and caring, providing nourishment and encouragement as their cubs grow up. In the case of polar bears, the father's only role is to mate with the mother. They do not help dig the den and have nothing to do with raising the cubs which is why they are quite accurately considered the deadbeat dads of the Arctic. On occasion, father polar bears have actually been known to kill and eat their offspring when hunger strikes and there is no other food. Mothers have to work even harder to provide for their cubs and protect them from their hungry fathers. When food is hard to come by, adult males have no sympathy for hungry cubs and are not always willing to share in the meals that are available. If a cub gets a little too close, that may be the trigger with not-so-promising end results for the baby polar bear.

No Happy Father's Day wishes for polar bear dads

It’s a safe assumption that polar bear dads won’t be getting any Father’s Day cards this year. Even if you don’t always get along with your dad, at least he never tried to eat you! Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads out there! Author: Mandy Ams

National Aboriginal Day – June 21

June 19th, 2015 | By | Filed in ACTIVITIES, Current Events

National Aboriginal Day Inuit Child National Aboriginal Day brings together Canadians from all walks of life to participate in events taking place from coast to coast to coast. As the original inhabitants of this glorious land, travel and tourism continues to play an important, self-determined economic driver for Canada’s North. We thank all the Inuit and First Nation communities, Elders, Guides and Staff for their kind welcome, knowledge, passion and collaboration.
For more information on National Aboriginal Day and events happening in your province, visit  National Aboriginal Day.

National Aboriginal Day in Nunavut

On June 21 travellers to Nunavut can attend celebrations of National Aboriginal Day throughout the region. Click here to find an event.
Author: Mandy Ams  

World Environment Day – June 5, 2015

June 4th, 2015 | By | Filed in IN THE NEWS

Raw research from the waters off Torngat Mountains National Park

Raw research from the waters off Torngat Mountains National Park

“To provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.” –Mission of the United Nations Environment Programme Friday June 5, 2015 is World Environment Day! World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated annually to raise global awareness on the importance of protecting our planet. Organized by the United Nations Environment Programme, World Environment Day is the United Nations’ channel for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Founded on June 5, 1972, the first World Environment Day was celebrated the following year in 1973 and since then, has been celebrated each year in a new city with a different theme. Since its inception, the UNEP is aware of the importance of saving our planet and work to inform the public on climate change, disasters and conflict, ecosystem management, chemicals and waste and environmental governance. In 2012, Sustainable Development Goals were introduced. SDGs represent universally applicable goals that balance three elements of sustainable development: the environmental, the social and the economic. Working cohesively to achieve the maximum effect, these elements are integrated in the belief that they represent the foundation of suitable development.

World Environment Day - how you can help

As we celebrate World Environment Day, think about the changes you can make in your lifestyle that will have a positive effect on the world around you. Use the hashtag #WED2015 to join in the conversation and let the social media world know what steps you’re taking to help make a difference and achieve positive change. For more information on World Environment Day and the United Nations Environment Programme’s plan for their 2015 celebration, visit the UN Environment Program. Author: Mandy Ams

Earth Day – An Arctic Perspective – #EarthDay

April 22nd, 2015 | By | Filed in Current Events, Global Warming

A pair of narwhal

A pair of narwhal

Happy Earth Day!

Wednesday April 22, 2015 marks the 45th Anniversary of Earth Day. It serves as the perfect reminder to educate yourself and do your part to help make a difference in the world we live in. The Arctic is home to incredible wildlife and Arctic Kingdom is passionate about giving you the opportunity to see animals in their natural habitat, which is the reason we appreciate Earth Day and value everything it stands for. Earth Day’s year- round mission is to broaden, diversify and activate the environmental movement worldwide. A major focus of many campaigns is saving the Arctic and preserving the region’s rich biodiversity.

Earth Day - Consequences of Apathy

As climate change becomes progressively more threatening to Arctic wildlife, drastic changes need to be made to help save the environment. As the Earth warms up and the ice begins to melt, sea levels rise which has an impact on our coasts. Many Arctic species rely on sea ice to survive and the shift in temperature is making ice vanish at an alarming rate. Within several decades, the Arctic Ocean ice cover is predicted to completely disappear during summer months, leaving many species without that necessity for survival. Polar bears, for example, rely on summer ice to hunt seals. Losing one of the Earth’s primary ecosystems leaves animals that rely on it with an uncertain future, which is the reason scientists predict that two-thirds of the polar bear population could be extinct by 2050. Earth Day is a reminder that we all need to be conscious of our lifestyle and how it has a ripple effect on the rest of the world. Climate change not only affects countless creatures, it affects us all. The celebration of Earth Day is necessary to remind people of the importance of saving our planet and raise awareness of its need for protection. Let Earth Day be a lesson: You can make a difference that has the potential to result in global change. For more information about Earth Day and how you can get involved and show your support, visit Author: Mandy Ams

Spring is in two days in the Northern Hemisphere

March 18th, 2015 | By | Filed in Current Events

Ringed Seal PupThose of us North of the Equator often forget that when Spring begins here, Fall or Autumn begins south of the equator. Our days are getting longer; those in the South are growing shorter. In the North elementary school children learn that the first day of Spring is the 21st of March. It is -but not always - 2015 is an exception. Spring arrives March 20 at :
  • 6:45 PM EDT
  • 5:45 PM CDT
  • 4:45 PM MDT
  • 3:45 PM PDT

Total Eclipse of the Sun - sung to the tune Total Eclipse of the Heart

In 2015 from the Faroe Islands to the North Pole, a rate total eclipse of the Sun will occur at the Vernal Equinox.  The next time that will happen is in 2034. (I apologize for the ear worm, by the way.) The Vernal Equinox is the technical term for the position of the Sun relative to Earth on the first day of Spring.

The New Moon Coincides with Spring this Year

Coinciding with the arrival of Spring 2015 is a New Moon. A new moon cannot be seen from Earth, because the moon's night side is facing the planet. New moons rise and set at the same time as the sun. By the way, because it is the Equinox, there should be about 12 hours of daylight on the 20th. The sun will rise at 7 AM and set at 7:06 PM in eastern North America.

Taste of and Arctic Spring

An Arctic Spring is a unique experience. Birds return from a winter spent in the South to breed. Whales migrate to summer feeding grounds. Polar bears migrate too. Ice and snow linger longer, so snowmobiling and cross-country seasons are extended. To learn more about a Taste of the Arctic Spring.

The Polar Sea – Episode 1

December 2nd, 2014 | By | Filed in Current Events

The Polar Sea

Episode One

Did you follow our Tweets during the premier episode of the Polar Sea last night? This 10-part series, produced with Canadian and German money, is occupying the TVO's 9pm slot for 10 nights, Monday through Friday, until December 12, 2014. The premise is that three Swedish friends will sail the Dax from Iceland through Canada's Northwest Passage, a mid-life quest documented every step of the way by an invisible camera crew. Spoiler alert: Problems were foreshadowed during last night's episode - and not just Global Warming. (According to the documentary, Greenland is a hot bed for climate change research.) During their sail from Reykjavik to Ilulissat they encountered an Arctic storm that tossed their ship and the adventurers about. When they limped into port, their comms were down and the engine was unreliable. The mouth of the Northwest Passage was still hundreds of miles away. The first rule of Arctic exploration is self-sufficiency, even today in a GPS world. The crew of the Dax had stocked the galley, undertook routine engine maintenance, but they were far from ready to face the unforgiving forces of the Arctic: Adventurers 0, Arctic 1. We've been working in the Arctic for 15 years, on the edge of ice floes and under the ocean surface. We've provided logistics for film crews and researchers. We know that an ice free Northwest Passage is not a trouble free Northwest Passage. The intrepid trio aboard the Dax did not. Even if they had asked our advice, I expect they would not have taken it. That's the thing about adventuring, it conquers caution.
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