Yesterday Was an Awesome Day in Iqaluit


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Saturday, July 25th was an awesome day in Iqaluit. It was one of those days when people in town think and say, "This is why I love Iqaluit." Here's what happened, from morning to night.

Community Clean-Up of the Causeway

As readers of the blog may know, Iqaluit has had issues with waste management. There are definitely ways for residents to live more sustainably in Iqaluit by doing things like recycling or composting. But a few Iqalummiut had a desire to do something a little more direct, and they took it to the people.

The Iqaluit causeway is a launch point for boats and snowmobiles; it's also at the end of the road that takes you to the dump, and is often littered with, well, litter. This is doubly crappy as it's the same route we use to get to popular fishing spots along the river.

And so, first thing in the morning yesterday, volunteers came out en masse, donned gloves, grabbed bags, and started to clean. The result? A sparkling clean causeway, thanks to a little elbow grease and community spirit. As organizer Jezabelle Moncton said on Facebook, "I think we all need a little reminder every once in a while of how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place... And to clean up so it stays beautiful."

Qayuqtuvik Society (Belated) Eid Dinner

The Qayuqtuvik Society provides up to 100 free meals per day to Iqalummiut in need. Locally valued, the charity's work recently caught the eye of a southern organization: Islamic Relief Canada, which is headquartered in Burlington, Ontario.

Islamic Relief Canada came across The Qayuqtuvik Society when they were researching places to donate funds during the month of Ramadan, when Muslims are encouraged to perform charitable acts. Impressed by both the need and the outreach efforts, Islamic Relief Canada donated $11,000 to Iqaluit's soup kitchen. Thus, over the course Ramadan, The Qayuqtuvik Society used the money from Islamic Relief Canada to pay for a month's worth of delicious, multi-course meals, like the one below.

And like Ramadan, the month culminated in a celebratory feast - kind of like a secular Eid al-Fitr, held a week late because of the fog, which delayed food shipments. This final meal was more of an event than the usual soup kitchen offering: it was hosted at the Parish Hall to accommodate as many people as possible, and featured musical performances from talented artists like Kathleen Merritt and a menu that included country-food-fusion cuisine like caribou curry.

Unfortunately, I am in Cape Dorset, which means I sadly missed this community event, but from what I've read and heard, it was a hit. This is great news for Islamic Relief Canada, even better for The Qayuqtuvik Society's patrons, and pretty great for me, as I am an avid supporter of anything that brings more curry to town.

(If an Iqaluit feast sponsored by a Muslim organization comes as a surprise to you, then you must not have heard that Iqaluit is getting Nunavut's first mosque. Set to open in December, the Islamic Society of Nunavut has already met its GoFundMe goal of $100,000.)

Mahaha Stand-Off Comedy Show

After yesterday's community cleaning and community eating, Iqalummiut had the chance to sit, relax, and enjoy the comedy stylings of some local talent. The wonderful people at Mahaha Comedy put on another sold-out show, only this one wasn't your standard-standup; it was a stand-off, pitting comedian against comiedienne for an all-out jocular joust.

Judging the showdown was a team of seasoned Nunavut comics, the folks behind Qanurli? and Qanukiaq. Here's what they decided:

Freshest Set: Aaron Watson (Prize: Arctic char)
Cheesiest Set: Bibi Bilodottir (Prize: extra-large jar of Co-op brand processed cheese spread)
Thug Life Award: Alex Groepper (Prize: slightly terrifying mask)
Longest Set: Michelle Zakrison (Prize: Flava Flav bobble head)
Silliest Set: Franco Buscemi (Prize: 30-second Silly-String spray down)
Most Perverted: Wade Thorhaug (Prize: Framed photo of the winner lying naked next to a fish; police officer dress-up set)
Best Set: Nicole Etitiq (Grande Prize: $250 cash and a the opportunity to appear in a future Qanurli? episode)

Local comedians delivering to a local audience means lots of opportunities to touch on shared experiences and knowledge, from weather to food prices to neighbourhood gossip. And I can't even begin to imagine what Wade's set was about (actually, I can, but I will spare you the hypotheses).

Again, I missed this not-to-be-missed show. An unfortunate occurrence anytime, but especially frustrating because according to the Iqaluit gossip channels, at least one comedian made a funny at my expense! You know you've made it when...

A Note on Awesome

If you're reading this post and thinking, "Meh," let me explain. What made yesterday an Awesome Day in Iqaluit is nothing extraordinary; in fact, it is the everyday nature of it that makes it so special. Community clean-up, community feast, community comedy: at the heart of it all, is a community, connected. When people ask me what it's like to live in Iqaluit, it is days like yesterday that I want to explain to them. And now I can, because I wrote this post.

Have you had an awesome day in Iqaluit? Join the conversation on Facebook and tell us about it!