12 Things that Set Canadian Arctic City Iqaluit Apart (Part 3 of 3)

I'm continuing my story about the top 12 things that I believe set Iqaluit apart from other provincial and territorial capitals in Cana...

I'm continuing my story about the top 12 things that I believe set Iqaluit apart from other provincial and territorial capitals in Canada. This is Part 3 of 3. You can find the previous two parts here: Part 1 and Part 2

10. Economy is Skyrocketing.  
Comparing to the rest of Canada, Nunavut's economy is growing exponentially. While Canada's GDP rose about 2% in 2018, Nunavut showed a steep increase of 10%.
According to Statistics Canada, two industries contributed the most to the growth: construction and mining (mostly iron and gold).
In 2017, Iqaluit got its new airport terminal which looks pretty amazing. The project won the National Award for an Engineering Project in 2018.
The old terminal called Yellow Submarine was a huge headache for the Iqaluit's ever-growing passenger air traffic. The problem of long wait lines and very little space for people and their luggage no longer exists thanks to the new terminal. Almost everyone I spoke with was very surprised to learn that daily fights between Ottawa and Iqaluit are actually served by full-size Boeing 737 jet planes. 
As you can expect, planes mostly bring people, and very little cargo since the cost of transportation can get quite high. For instance, a regular round-trip ticket to Iqaluit from Ottawa is $1,700, so you can only imagine what the shipping cost would be. 
That's why Iqaluit is actively building its first deep-water port with all-tide access. Why all-tide access is so important? Because the tides in Iqaluit are the second highest in Canada after the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick: the sea rises and falls 8 to 12 m (26 to 39 ft) twice a day.
Mid-size to large fishing vessels will no longer require to go to Newfoundland or Greenland for offloading and processing fish. It could all be done in Iqaluit. 
A company that is building port blasts rock at least a few times per week to clear space for the port itself and a road to it. We weren't aware of blasting, so we freaked out a bit when we heard a sudden roar in the middle of our hike to Apex.
Blasting is followed by clearing and crashing rocks with the use of heavy-duty machines.
There has been a huge demand in the workforce which will likely continue, so employers are willing to pay a small fortune to attract people. A person told me that someone came to Iqaluit looking for a janitor job, but was accepted as a history teacher at a local school with a 6-digit salary. 
I guess that's the answer for those wondering why the heck people come to Nunavut from all over Canada.
As a result of the ever-growing population, rental prices are among the highest in Canada. You should expect to pay over $2,500 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.

11. Smoking, Alcoholism and Garbage Problem.  
I was not sure if I should even talk about that, but the number of people smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol was so high, and there is so much garbage everywhere including the beautiful tundra, I couldn't resist calling an elephant in the room.
Iqaluit is facing a huge social and health crisis caused by smoking and alcohol consumption. The city is one of the few places where you can legally buy alcohol since it's prohibited in most of the Nunavut communities. 
One day before the Canada Day long weekend, dozens of people lined up at the only liquor store in Iqaluit. In 2018, it sold 1.9 million beers and 190,000 bottles of wine. The Government of Nunavut considers it a huge success to reduce the harm of alcohol consumption because apparently before the store was opened in 2017, people would import more alcohol from outside the territory than they buy in Iqaluit now.
In any case, that night before Canada Day and the following two days were really violent for Iqaluit considering its population of only 8,000: two house fires, one active shooter standoff with a person killed, and many drunk exclamations in the streets just outside our hotel.
Quite accidentally, we witnessed the active shooter standoff. Three RCMP trucks with six armed policemen and two armed soldiers (there could have been more) closed access to block 300, a troubled neighbourhood, and evacuated some residents. That was very scary, I swear. The only picture I dared to take is the one below.
People, mostly Inuit, smoke cigarettes like crazy. I've never seen so many people smoking, even in the Republic of Georgia. For obvious reasons, I didn't take pictures of drunk or smoking people, but you can take my word that there were plenty of them any time of the day. A place where drunk people liked to hang around was the only Tim Hortons in Iqaluit. I found a hoodie on one of our tour guides quite eloquently speaking about the problem: Healthy. Strong. Smoke-Free. It's written in English, French and Inuktitut (both syllabic and Latin letters).
Garbage is another big problem, and I think it has a real chance to become an ecological disaster in future. Maybe it's a lack of trees and shrubs that reveals all the garbage, but I can assure you it was quite unusual to see so much garbage in the streets in Canada.
Garbage has made its way to the tundra including the picturesque Apex Trail and stunning Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park. Seems like locals like to picnic with a view, but don't bother taking their trash with them.
Although the city dump sits where most people would never go (near a future deep-water port), strong winds take garbage far outside the dump's boundaries.
I don't know what the municipality does with its garbage, but I doubt there is any recycling program in place.

12. Cultural Life.  
Let's switch gears and talk about how people in Iqaluit have fun besides fishing, hunting and trapping.
Alianait Arts Festival is the largest art festival in Nunavut. According to its website, it sets the spotlight on Inuit and other circumpolar artists while bringing together exciting world-class musicians, circus acrobats, dancers, storytellers, actors, filmmakers and visual artists from across the globe. 
This year, the artists came from as far as South Africa. We attended the part called Nunavut Got Talent which I found pretty amusing. It looked more like a school concert with timid kids trying their best in front of their blushing parents.
These two boys played some pretty repetitive rock motives which, apparently, they had just written a day prior to their stage performance. 
Smaller kids are having fun by making some simple craftwork.
Iqaluit also hosts the Toonik Tyme Festival for 53 years now which celebrates a return of a spring. That would be cool to see.
But the biggest cultural event ever happened in Nunavut was the movie Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner. I'll quote Wikipedia because I don't know much about it: "The film was the first feature film ever to be written, directed and acted entirely in the Inuktitut language. The film premiered at the 54th Cannes Film Festival in May 2001, and was released in Canada on 12 April 2002. A major critical success, Atanarjuat won the Caméra d'Or (Golden Camera) at Cannes, and six Genie Awards, including Best Motion Picture. Atanarjuat was also a commercial success, becoming Canada's top-grossing release of 2002, outperforming the mainstream comedy Men with Brooms. It grossed more than US$5 million worldwide. In 2015, a poll of filmmakers and critics in the Toronto International Film Festival named it the greatest Canadian film of all time." Don't know about you, but I've added this movie to my watchlist.

12 Things that Set Canadian Arctic City Iqaluit Apart (Part 2)

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