Memories of the Midnight Sun: My 6 Days in Yellowknife

Local artists studioPhoto: Brandy Saturley

The Homes of Latham Island

Evening landed us at the WildCat Cafe, an Old Town log cabin turning out food since 1937. An evening walk took us to Latham Island through a neighbourhood of architecturally diverse homes with stunning vistas. (Check out this gorgeous gallery of Canadian architecture photography.) Many homes here—whether million-dollar or shack—display a nice rack of horns or a skull, and lots of Canadian flags. We ended the night with one more hike up and across rock to Pilot’s Monument, which affords a 360-degree view of the town.

We set out the next day to circle Yellowknife by car, filling in the blank spots in my visit. The outskirts of the city are dotted with communities that blend expensive, contemporary properties with modular homes and funky workshop shacks. Everyone here seems to be a tinkerer, a creator, a craftsman or an artist. A seemingly inconspicuous shed can hide a meticulous and treasured workspace.

Don’t miss these captivating roadside attractions across Canada.

Artist Jen WaldenPhoto: Brandy Saturley

Old Town Treasures

You can easily find a Timmy’s or a $6 iced cappuccino here, which was well worth the bucks during the continuing sweltering heat. We took our custom coffees to the Lakeview Cemetery, with gravesites as meticulously crafted as the creations in the makers’ sheds we’d seen earlier in the day. Some sites were encircled with white picket fences, and some had trees growing in the centre. Miners, children, Natives, hockey fans and even Elvis fanatics are present here, reflecting the lives I have seen in the area. Our day ended with a feast fit for a mineworker at the famous Bullocks Bistro in Old Town, a legendary shack brimming with diners’ graffiti and things left stapled to the walls and ceiling. It’s a sassy and humorous place serving up fish, bison and even caribou ribs. A thunderstorm and a rainbow marked our way home as we wrapped another full day on the edge. (Here’s more breathtaking rainbow photography.)

On the Monday, I spent half a day visiting with two distinctive and well-known Arctic artists. Jen Walden is a painter, as well as a filmmaker, a hockey coach and founder of the Borderless Arts Movement in Yellowknife. Her distinctive, dimensional and textured style explores Canadian and northern life through people, wildlife and topography. I then went looking for Fran Hurcomb, a veteran Canadian photographer and photojournalist with more than 30 years of experience capturing Canada’s North. Fran recently published a book about Yellowknife’s Old Town, where she lives, depicting the area’s vivid history and individuals from the past three decades.

Here are 12 more awesome attractions you didn’t know were in Canada.

Beer in the midnight sunPhoto: Brandy Saturley

Bidding Adieu to Yellowknife

We then hit a molten-hot tarmac at Buffalo Airways and got a personal tour from Mikey McBryan, who’s featured in the docu-series Ice Pilots. My evening included a visit with a husky from a sled dog team, seeing “YKEA” (the local dump is known as Yellowknife’s IKEA; nothing gets thrown away here), scavenging and a late-night climb with a bottle of vino, some blueberries and stories as a red sun crested the horizon, not to set, but only to rest and rise again.

Before flying out, I had a chance to visit the talented folks over at the Aboriginal-owned Erasmus Apparel, which creates Aboriginal-inspired designs screen-printed on clothing, the perfect souvenir for this trip.

And then that was it for my six days on the edge of the Arctic Circle, where helping your neighbour really is the first order of business, and the only way to survive in this land of extreme weather and extreme living. This experience inspired many a painting when I returned home to my studio on Vancouver Island. These people have heart and grit and talent beyond whatever expectations I had going in. I love you, Yellowknife—see you for the freeze!

Check out 13 more reasons it’s great living in Canada.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *