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Fort McPherson man gets you where you're going

Brodie Thomas
Northern News Services
Published Monday, June 9, 2008

TETLIT'ZHEH/FORT MCPHERSON - Getting from point a to point b is not always a simple or cheap task when you live in the North. About eight years ago, Ernest Firth saw the need for a transportation service between Fort McPherson and Inuvik and he decided to do something about it.

"A lot of people go into Inuvik to travel. They didn't have that many vehicles so we took it on," said Firth.

He is now the owner and operator of Dinji Cho Enterprises. His company employs three people (including himself) and provides a much needed service to residents of Fort McPherson.

In his 14-passenger van, Firth, or one of his drivers, shuttle people to and from Inuvik on an almost daily basis. As long as there are at least five passengers, they'll make the two-hour drive.

John Tsul is one of the drivers. He's been driving for nearly two years now but he still loves the job.

"I really enjoy being on the road. Every day is different. I really enjoy the people I meet and providing a service to the community," said Tsul.

Firth will also drive to Whitehorse or Dawson if a charter is required.

"If it's a sports team we try to give them a reasonable deal," said Firth.

Starting with the shuttle service, Firth has branched out into expediting and hospitality. He recently set up a bed and breakfast called Shaanutee's B&B.

"We have a real beautiful set up here. We supply accommodations for people from out of town. We have full service: kitchen, laundry, cable TV, telephone, Internet. You name it.

The kitchen is even open 24 hours a day, but you have to cook your own meals," said Firth jokingly.

His latest business venture is renting out vehicles for tourists. People from out of town often want to experience driving on the Dempster, so Firth decided to fill the need again.

"I really enjoy meeting the people, We get some really nice people," said Firth.