Sachs Harbour celebrates Canada Day and Western Arctic Oceans Day

This is the third year that the community has hosted the annual event

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Canada Day festivities in Sachs Harbour were made extra special this year, as the community also hosted the Western Arctic Oceans Day celebrations on July 1 as well.

This was the third time that the event has been held in Sachs Harbour, which is hosted annually by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 

All six communities within the Inuvialuit Settlement Region have been taking turns hosting the event since 2004, which tends to take place in July or August, after celebrations for World Oceans Day on June 8 conclude.

Sachs Harbour chose Canada Day. They wanted to make their Canada Day festivities that they’d already be having a little bit more robust by having us join in on the fun,” said Corrine Bullock, the event’s coordinator and integrated management planner for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Western Arctic Oceans Day volunteers prepare for the town’s parade.
Western Arctic Oceans Day volunteers prepare for the town’s parade.

More than 20 community members came down to the beach where all-day festivities took place. A parade kicked off this year’s celebrations, followed by a community feast which included country foods, chinese food, hamburgers, hotdogs and more.

We just put that Western Arctic spin on it. Oceans Day happens all over the globe on June 8. It’s still part of the same global effort. We pick the days we celebrate because of the ice, and June 8 is a lot colder here,” said Bullock. “It’s not fun being outside when its cold. By pushing it back a month or even into August, you’re opening it up for a more fun occasion for everybody.”

Corrine Bullock, left, and Sachs Harbour community member Jean Harry cut the joint celebration cake. Aaron Hemens/NNSL photo
Corrine Bullock, left, and Sachs Harbour community member Jean Harry cut the joint celebration cake. Aaron Hemens/NNSL photo

From the afternoon until late into the evening, residents from all walks of life engaged in a variety of activities such as face painting, three legged races, pillow sack races, egg tossing, tea boiling, dizzy sticks and more.

Prizes were also handed out, which included bicycles, ATVs, and various toys for the youth.

Community members engage in a three-legged race. Aaron Hemens/NNSL photo
Community members engage in a three-legged race. Aaron Hemens/NNSL photo

It couldn’t have gone better. In the beginning, when we were first prepping, everyone was speculating on the weather, because it’s been snowing here and it’s been cold,” said Bullock. “I always try to stay optimistic when planning. I planned for a sunny day and it didn’t disappoint.”

She added that she hopes community members walked away from the event with a stronger sense of community and a greater appreciation for our oceans.

It’s a major part of coastal communities,” she said. “Everybody is connected to the ocean somehow, and it’s a great way to stop and celebrate.”

The goal of both Western Arctic and World Oceans Day celebrations, she continued, is to just take a moment to recognize our oceans.

Volunteers and residents hold up the Canada Day/Western Arctic Oceans Day. Aaron Hemens/NNSL photo
Volunteers and residents hold up the Canada Day/Western Arctic Oceans Day. Aaron Hemens/NNSL photo

Things are thrown at us daily, so just having a specific date to pause, acknowledge and recognize it – it puts things back into perspective,” she said. “Our day-to-day daily grind – you forget about it. We all could do a lot more to protect it, keep it pristine, and reduce our plastic use.”

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Aaron Hemens has been working as the editor of the Inuvik Drum since January 2019. He's responsible for reporting on everything Inuvik, from covering community gatherings and sporting events, to writing the weekly columns. He's a dedicated photographer who loves getting to know the town through the community members that he meets. He's originally from Ottawa, Ont., where he graduated from Carleton University's journalism program in 2018. He can be contacted at 867-777-4545 or at inuvikdrum@nnsl.com. You can check out his photos on his Instagram account: @aaron.hemens.