The gazebo on Boot Lake Trail was destroyed in a fire around 4 a.m. June 29.
The gazebo was located on the southern portion of the trail, close to the Inuvik Cemetery, and overlooked Boot Lake. It was one of the only areas along the trail to sit and enjoy the view, and was frequented by locals and tourists for picnics and photo opportunities.
Grant Hood, senior administrative officer for the Town of Inuvik, said by the time firefighters arrived on the scene, the gazebo was fully engulfed in flames.
He noted that the gazebo was difficult to access because of its location on the walking trail.
Hood said that the investigation is ongoing but limited because there are no cameras along the trail.
The remnants of the gazebo were cleaned up July 3 so that the lookout point could still be accessed by trail users.
“It’s unfortunate that things like this happen,” said Hood. “It’s not the first time that we’ve had people make these choices – on purpose or accidentally – but we’ve had a couple of incidents like this that we’ve had to take care of on Boot Lake Trail.”
He said the gazebo was not covered under the Town of Inuvik’s insurance policy and that there are no plans to replace the structure at present because the town has several large projects on the go that are consuming a lot of resources.
According to RCMP media relations representative Marie-York Cordon, Inuvik RCMP attended the call for service around 4:35 a.m. on Friday.
RCMP spent approximately one hour and 10 minutes attending to the scene.
No injuries were reported and Inuvik RCMP are continuing to investigate the incident.
Volunteer members of the Canadian Armed Forces constructed the gazebo during Operation Nanook 2012, according to Captain Soomin Kim, public affairs officer for the Canadian Armed Forces.
Operation Nanook is an annual military exercise of the Canadian Armed Forces that has taken place in the Arctic since 2007. Its objective is to improve the way Canada’s military operates in the North, and to assert Canada’s sovereignty over its Arctic regions.
“It is sad news as the gazebo was a symbol of the collaboration that occurs between the Canadian Armed Forces and northern partners during operations in remote communities in the North,” said Kim.