Day 702: Nunavut

One of the virtues of imaginary tours is they can be taken any time of year. So it was that Laetitia, who had conducted a tour of Yellowknife in midwinter the day before, chose to go to today’s destination in Nunavut in midsummer.

When Nunavut became an entity separate from the Northwest Territories in 1999, Iqaluit became its territorial capital. With a population of 6,700, it is the smallest capital in Canada. Founded during World War 2 as an airbase, the town was called Frobisher Bay, sharing the name of the inlet on which it is situated. In 1987, its traditional Inuit name became the official designation.

Laetitia and her group spent the day on an excursion boat that made a landing at a prehistoric dwelling site and involved other shore excursions for wildlife viewing, including a polar bear that missed being on the ice when it went out and was spending the summer on meager rations, waiting for the ice to come back. Other sightings included summering snow buntings and a pod of orcas. During the group’s walkabout back in town Laetitia noticed how many huskies there were, most of them tethered outside without shelter.

“There are probably as many huskies in town as there are people,” said the bartender at the drinking establishment where Laetitia went for a pre-dinner libation. “Dog sledding is very popular here,” he continued. “Some mushers have more than 20 dogs.” Among the stories floating around the bar was one about a man whose young husky was more of a pet than a working dog. The dog had a voracious appetite and liked to steal meat off the grill. The owner tried to mimic his dog’s habit of practically inhaling the stolen meat before it could be taken away. This odd case of “monkey see; monkey do” made a lame story, but Laetitia decided to use it for a limerick anyway.

When a fellow who grilled in Iqaluit
A large steak with dark porter to follow it
Like his dog did aspire
To eat it entire
He found that he just could not swallow it.