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British magazine puts spotlight on Yellowknife
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The article titled Pipe Dreams in the magazine Monocle focuses largely on natural resources and the "frontier lifestyle" of Yellowknifers.
Online the magazine, based in London, England, describes itself as "a global briefing covering international affairs, business, culture and design.
"Writers and photographers are dispatched to over 50 countries every issue to deliver stories on forgotten states, alluring political figures, emerging brands, fresh forces in popular culture and inspiring design solutions."
The article, penned by Ann Marie Gardner, states "There is a great sense of possibility.
"Every truck has a red canoe tied to its roof ... By early September, the three-week 'autumn season' is over and Japanese tourists who come to see the Northern Lights take pictures of the firewood piled high on porches."
The article includes interviews with residents and officials, including Mayor Gord Van Tighem.
Van Tighem said Gardner was only here for a day, which may explain some of the inaccuracies in the piece.
"How much are you going to pick up in a short visit?" said Van Tighem.
He said the article was largely favourable but "people might come here and find it's a little bit different."
"From a local perspective it could've been more accurate," he said.
One of the glaring errors is the statement that most Yellowknifers were chopping up wood in order to heat their homes in winter.
"Stacked wood is not just for decoration, it is the main source of heat for most residents," reads the article.
The statement was laughed at by Dalyn Chan, office manager with Petro-Canada. Petro-Canada is one of four companies in town that sells heating fuel in Yellowknife.
"The majority burn oil," said Chan. "I would say 75 per cent. That's just off the top of my head."
The article also brushes over the issue of the lack of housing and fails to mention anything about the significant and ongoing issues of homelessness, crime rates and drug and alcohol abuse.
However, it does bring attention to positive points such as the growing diversity of the city's population. Gardner makes mention of the large variety of ethnic groups including Filipinos, Chinese, Vietnamese, Ukrainians, Armenians and Somalians.
Drew Williams, public affairs manager for the GNWT Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment, was also quoted in the piece. Williams has not yet read the article but said attention from publications in Europe is not unusual.
"We field a lot of calls from people around the world who are writing stories or following up on a trip," he said.
Williams cited the History Channel program Ice Road Truckers and the strong diamond industry as examples of why interest in northern Canada is growing.
"It's so hard to convey all of what the North has to offer especially by phone with someone who has preconceived notions of the North," he said.
"We want people to read the magazines and come visit us."