Yk girl a winner
Drawing takes her to Ottawa

Dane Gibson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Mar 05/99) - When Michele Bourgois, 11, artistically depicted her family's cabin -- and the adventures they have there -- she didn't think it would win her a trip to Winterlude, 1999.

She entered her drawing into the national 1998 Winter Poster Contest, and was chosen to be an ambassador for the NWT in Ottawa.

"This is the first big thing I ever won so I was really surprised," Bourgois said.

She was one of 12 winners -- one from each province -- of a trip for four to Winterlude, 1999.

She recently returned from the trip with stories of fame and fun. Dinner at the Parliament Building, skating on the Rideau Canal, and explaining what it was like to live in Yellowknife kept her busy.

"We were always getting followed around by people with cameras, so it was a bit weird," she said.

"The Governor's General band was special because it's not every day you get to see something like that. All in all, it was a terrific time."

Each winner was asked to bring a question to ask the Speaker of the House, Gilbert Parent. While many asked general questions, Bourgois didn't waste her opportunity.

Her question, formulated by her Grade 6 Ecole St. Joseph's class, was a tough one. "Why can provinces borrow money from banks and not the territories?"

"I think the Speaker of the House was kind of surprised by the question," she said.

"He thought about it for awhile then said the territories couldn't borrow from banks because they borrow from the federal government." In the Museum of Civilization, she was surprised to see a recreation of Yellowknife's Wildcat Cafe on display.

"When I came to Ottawa I didn't expect to see the Wildcat Cafe, that's for sure," she said.

Her picture, entitled Tent Sweet Tent, is of a tent her family gets away to on weekends. There they enjoy fishing and the northern lights. She said the coldest night they spent in the tent was -31 C.

The drawing was displayed along the Rideau Canal with the other artists' drawings. Her dad, Dee Bourgois, said it was the experience of a lifetime.

"She had the opportunity to meet other kids from across Canada and to walk through many of the areas and buildings she learned about in school," he said.

"Even though she won through a draw, I think she was an excellent ambassador for the NWT. She was really proud to represent her territory."