Relay comes home
Arctic adventure finishes in Iqaluit
Iqaluit ( May 15/00) - After a 7,000 km trip that crossed the top of North America, the Trans Canada Trail Relay that left Tuktoyaktuk in February is scheduled end today in the Nunavut capital.
Relay participants are carrying a vessel containing Arctic Ocean water drawn to kick off a national relay that will culminate with the official opening of the Trans Canada Trail.
Team members are leader Julian Tomlinson of Inuvik, guide Paul Iquallaq of Gjoa Haven and members Peter Hardy, Dominic Stubbs and Rob McPhee.
The water from Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans will be poured into fountain in Hull, Que. in September, to officially open the trail.
The expedition was coordinated by Aurora College. Reports on the trip can be found on the Internet (www.frozentoes.com).
Ceremonies were planned for this morning at the Parish Hall where the vessel containing the Arctic water will be presented to Nunavut premier Paul Okalik. Mayor Jimmy Kilabuk will also be there.
Early last week the relay reached Pangnirtung. Late last Sunday evening Sheila Veevee went about 20 kilometres outside town to meet the expedition. Veevee was chosen to carry the vessel into town.
"One of the Rangers gave it to me out there and I took it back to town," Veevee said.
She said it was nice to be part of a national event. Veevee said a large crowd was on hand when they reached town, even though it wxas nearly midnight. During the ceremonies she read a note handed to her and then gave the vessel to an elder in the community, Jamesie Mike.
Steven Kooneeliusie drove the snowmobile bringing Veevee back to town.
He said that after Mike had the vessel, he walked among the people so they could get a good look at it.
Though the hour was late, celebrations continued after the official ceremonies.
"There were lots of people at the tea party," Kooneeliusie said.
Games were held after that.
Veevee said she, along with relay representatives, visited Attagoyuk school Monday morning, and that the students were quite interested.
"They hardly had a question, like, they were just listening."
Around 1 p.m. last Tuesday, Leetia Alivaktuk bore the relay vessel for about 20 kilometres outside of Pangnirtung, after which relay members continued their trek towards Iqaluit.
However, before the relay officials left Pangnirtung, Kooneeliusie gave each member a photo he had taken of the community.
"They were very happy," he said. "All the people welcomed them from Pangnirtung."