Iqaluit impresses tourists
Elderhostel makes yearly appearance

Maria Canton
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Jun 19/00) - When 91-year-old Dr. Samuel Golden calmly described Iqaluit's recent windy weather as "bracing", you just knew only compliments about the capital would follow.

Visiting from Detroit, Michigan as one of 30 people on a week-long Elderhostel trip, Golden said he is truly impressed with the start of the new territory.

"My first impression of this whole world up here is the beginning of a surge of enterprise," he said, with a glint in his eyes.

"This is a place for the young, not the old like me."

Golden, who has an interest in Inuit art, says Iqaluit's landscape, daylight hours and weather are certainly the most spectacular he has seen during his years of travel -- a sentiment expressed by his fellow Elderhostel travellers.

An Alberta couple wanting to make the most of their trip took in the landscape through the front window of their recreational vehicle on their way to Baffin Island.

Frank and Irene Prins drove a motorhome from their home in Lacombe, Alta., to Thompson, Man. After a day of camping, they boarded a train to Churchill and a plane to Iqaluit.

"When they formed this new territory we thought we had to have a look, so here we are," said Frank Prins, who says they have also travelled to the Yukon and the Western Arctic.

"I'm a little surprised at all of the solid rock, but it's mighty interesting."

Elderhostel is an international organization that caters to travellers 55 years or older who maintain an interest in learning while on vacation.

For the last 12 years, Elderhostel tour groups have been arriving in Iqaluit through an agreement with Arctic College.

This year's site co-ordinator, Bert Rose, says the trip has been booked solid every year since Elderhostel ventured into the Eastern Arctic.

"We only offer 30 seats and they have always been completely filled," said Rose, who noted that this year's trip also has a lengthy waiting list.

"The vast majority of them have not been north before and they're enjoying themselves.

"Except for the usual hiccups, everything has gone very well."

The visit wrapped up last weekend when a few people went on to other Nunavut communities and the rest went south.