Editorial: Looking back at 2018 in Inuvik

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This year was one for the books — for Canada and the world in general but also for our tiny (but bustling) town in the Western Arctic.

From Inuvik’s first pride parade to the town’s 60th anniversary celebrations, the revival of a cancer support group and the hospital’s landmark baby-friendly designation, this year has been a good one in many ways.

One of the highlights of the year for me was having the privilege of covering Inuvik’s very first pride parade, organized by students from East Three Secondary School.

Not only was this Inuvik’s first pride parade, it was one of the first in the territory and the Circumpolar Region.

This community demonstration of acceptance and love undoubtedly brought people of all ages together and began to break down some barriers.

There were other moments this year that will surely go down in history, too: like the legalization of marijuana, the election of Inuvik’s second-ever female mayor and the creation of a new Arctic region. A new (and popular) music school was also established in Inuvik, and the beginnings of a wind energy project are ongoing.

Covering the development of the Western Arctic School of Music was another one of my favourite parts of the year.

Seeing the school grow from just an idea in a Facebook post to actually attending the school’s first recital last month has been a real treat.

Not only does the school provide excellent extra-curricular opportunities for Inuvik youth and adults alike, it has also create jobs and fostered the growth of the town’s music culture greatly.

Then we had the downright bizarre. The summer of 2018 was one of the coldest on record, and also saw an infestation of creepy caterpillars and an unprecedented number of tourists flocking to the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway.

Inuvik saw an impressive 34 per cent increase in tourist traffic this year — approximately 6,700 tourists total — thanks to the completion of the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway. While reactions from local tour operators regarding the increase were mixed, there is no doubt in my mind that 2018 will be the year we remember as Inuvik’s tourism revival.

For this and many reasons, 2018 will be a year Inuvik looks back on with pride and for historical reflection. Here’s to a 2019 full of growth, prosperity and new opportunities for Inuvik and everyone in it!

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Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. He came from Prince Edward County, Ont., and obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. Working in Yellowknife, he covers education-based stories and general news but has also taken other beats in the past, including city hall and entertainment. He is a champion of the printed word and the importance of newspapers. As a board member of the United Way NWT and Rotary True North, he believes in the importance of civic engagement and community building. He spends his spare time with his boxer Sharona. Simon can be reached at (867) 766-8295 and editorial@nnsl.com.

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