Iqaluit

Written by Dustin Manley

During the winter most people prefer to abscond to a sun-kissed paradise, spending their days lounging in swimsuits on golden shores while enjoying the warm tropical breeze. 

Well, as my friends and colleagues will tell you, I’m not most people. Take me to the Land of the Midnight Sun where the alabaster tundra expands passed the horizon, the howling of the qimmiit and -50C wind chills your soul, and the brilliant emerald of the aurora borealis flutters like ribbon in the clear sky. 

I will bring my swimsuit though. In fact, I brought 50.

Five years ago I cobbled together a dream of visiting and photographing each capital city in Canada. By that point, this small-town Ontario boy had only seen Quebec and British Columbia. I certainly saved the best for last when I took a brief working vacation to Iqaluit at the end of February. 

It’s an overly simplistic comparison, but I find the territorial capitals to microcosms of Ottawa. They are culturally and ethnically diverse government cities, surprisingly francophone, and a bit chilly. However, as an island capital with only one flight departing and arriving from Ottawa each day and only 26km of roadway serving the community’s 7,740 residents, Iqaluit is significantly different than its territorial sisters of Whitehorse and Yellowknife. 

With this in mind, I reached out to the Piviniit Society, a volunteer-run organization committed to fostering sustainability in Iqaluit and Nunavut. I had an extra 50lbs of checked luggage available so I asked if there was anything I could bring up to for the community.  The answer was surprising. 

“Could you bring up about 50 men’s, women’s, and children’s swimsuits?”

On January 26, Iqaluit’s $40 million Aquatic Centre opened to the public. The state-of-the-art facility comes equipped with a 25-meter lap pool, a waterslide, hot tub and saunas, and a full fitness centre. However, there was a tiny little setback as Iqaluit’s stores do not carry swimsuits.

I was more than happy to assist, so I ventured down to my local Value Village for possibly the most awkward shopping experience of my life. I went to the men’s, women’s, and children’s sections—which were naturally at opposite ends of the store—and began filling my shopping cart with every stitch of swimwear I could get my hands on. I received more than a few strange looks while gingerly placing items like a women’s polka dot top and striped navy bottom in my overflowing cart. 

Upon my departure to Iqaluit I packed them all into my hockey bag, somehow avoiding any awkward questioning from the VIA Rail staff or CSIAB, and delivered them to the Piviniit Society.  

“Could you bring up about 50 men’s, women’s, and children’s swimsuits?”

“Could you bring up about 50 men’s, women’s, and children’s swimsuits?”

Knowing that more families will have access to Iqaluit’s Aquatic Centre facilities makes my final capital city visit much more meaningful and memorable. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, but consider reaching out to local community organizations when planning your next business or vacation trip—the people will appreciate it and you will establish roots in the community.

I did bring my own swimming trunks too, and while it wasn’t in Frobisher Bay, I can say I have gone swimming in the Arctic. 

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.

Charlottetown, PEI

Written by Dustin Manley

In August of 2014, I made the trip to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, for the 150th anniversary of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference. This conference gave birth to the notion of Canada as its own sovereign nation; an idea reified three years later in 1867.

The city was thriving that summer as people came from across the country to celebrate the 1864 conference. The city was a microcosm of the nationwide celebrations held from coast to coast on July 1, 2017. While walking in a Charlottetown park during the festivities I came across what I thought was a border collie. Being an avid dog person I promptly walked up and started petting his fine black coat. Imagine my surprise upon discovering it wasn't a pretty pooch! While PEI is widely known as the Cradle of Confederation and for its potatoes, it was also home to a booming silver fox industry from 1900 - 1980. These silver foxes--misleadingly named as they are commonly black with a white tipped tail--continue to call PEI home and wander freely throughout the city of Charlottetown.

After giving the fox a few more scritches behind the ear, I continued on way to enjoy fresh lobster and mussels at Confederation Landing by the oceanside.

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.

The Gaspé Peninsula

Written by Dustin Manley

The Gaspé Peninsula is one of the most beautiful regions in Quebec and all of Canada. The area is a popular tourist destination known for a number of attractions including Percé Rock, one of the world's largest natural arches in water.

One April evening I decided to see the Percé Rock for myself so early the next morning I caught the 5:40am train to Quebec City and rented a car for the remainder of the journey. I had a hotel booked in Campbellton, NB for that night and planned to arrive in Gaspé for the following evening. Unfortunately, I forgot everything closes early in the Maritimes and I found myself with 75km left of fuel with all the available hotels and gas stations 100km away in all directions. I was left with no option but to spend the night in the car, parked in the pharmacy parking lot of the tiny French community of Kedgwick, NB.

Despite that setback, I made it to Percé and Gaspé the next afternoon. The Percé Rock was truly a sight to behold, a massive rock formation surrounded by cerulean waters and ivory ice floes. The city of Gaspé was vibrant and welcoming and home to one of the best steak frites I've had in my life. Unfortunately, my trip was short-lived and the next morning I drove along the northern tip shores of the peninsula to catch my train back to Toronto from Quebec City.

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.

Parliament Hill, ON

Written by Dustin Manley

The Centennial Flame has lit the steps to Centre Block for nearly 50 years. Commemorating Canada’s 100th anniversary as a Confederation, the monument embodies the blazing spirit of its citizens.

The Flame burns in the center of a fountain whose ledge is branded with the shields of Canada’s Provinces and Territories. Only Iqaluit, the most recent Territory to join in 1999, is absent. I took this photograph of the Centennial Flame in the early hours of the morning after returning to Ottawa from Nunavut, the last of the provinces and territories I had to visit.

I cannot think of a more appropriate epilogue to conclude my journey across Canada.

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.

CN Tower, ON

The CN Tower is, whether you like to admit it or not, one of the most iconic features of Canada. Completed in 1976, the 553.3-meter structure was recognized as both the world’s tallest free-standing structure and the world’s tallest tower, a record it held until 2010.

The Tower’s observation deck offers a stunning 360-degree view of Toronto where, on clear days, you are able to see St. Catharines and the New York Shoreline across Lake Ontario. If you have some money and grit to spare, you may also take part in the edge walk outside the top of the tower.

For us Torontonians—and even tourists—the CN Tower mostly serves as a literal beacon for direction: if you head towards it, you’re going southbound towards the waterfront. It makes it much easier to navigate Canada’s largest city!

 

The CN Tower is, whether you like to admit it or not, one of the most iconic features of Canada. Completed in 1976, the 553.3-meter structure was recognized as both the world’s tallest free-standing structure and the world’s tallest tower, a record it held until 2010.

The Tower’s observation deck offers a stunning 360-degree view of Toronto where, on clear days, you are able to see St. Catharines and the New York Shoreline across Lake Ontario. If you have some money and grit to spare, you may also take part in the edge walk outside the top of the tower.

For us Torontonians—and even tourists—the CN Tower mostly serves as a literal beacon for direction: if you head towards it, you’re going southbound towards the waterfront. It makes it much easier to navigate Canada’s largest city!

Vancouver, BC

Written by Dustin Manley

Consistently ranking among the top five cities in the world in terms of livability and quality of life, Vancouver is the dream destination for millions of Canadians and people across the world. The weather is temperate, snowfall is minimal, and the ocean or a park is always a stone’s throw away.

A social and cultural hotspot, Vancouver is also one of the largest film production centers in North America, earning the moniker “Hollywood North”. While walking down Granville street you’re almost guaranteed to see a film crew shooting shows or movies like Riverdale, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Deadpool 2.

Port Metro Vancouver, pictured above, is also the third largest port in America and the 27th in the world. While taking the SeaBus from downtown to North Vancouver you get a great view of the tankers and seaplanes pulling into port.

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.

Montreal, QC

Written by Dustin Manley

While Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday Montreal is preparing for its 375th! One of the oldest cities in Canada, and the commercial capital until the 1970s, Montreal is one of Canada’s most vibrant and beautiful cities, earning recognition as a UNESCO City of Design.

The city is named for Mont Royal, a small mountain directly to the west of downtown which overlooks the entire city. There are a number of ways to ascend the mountain, but I always prefer walking along Rue Peel, passed McGill University, and ascending the stairs to the park.

The view of downtown Montreal from the Mount Royal Chalet plaza is unparalleled. If you’re ever in Montreal, after stocking up on bagels from St-Viateur and Fairmount, make time to ascend Mont Royal.

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.

Edmonton, AB

Written by Dustin Manley

Edmonton is Canada’s northernmost provincial capital and the most populous city in North America, located 3 hours north of Calgary and 15 hours south of Yellowknife.

Edmonton is a significant cultural, governmental, and educational community in Canada. Known as “Canada’s Festival City”, Edmonton hosts several events throughout the summer such as the Edmonton International Fringe Festival which is second in the world only to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Edmonton is also home to some of Canada’s leading research and educational institutions including the University of Alberta, MacEwan University, Athabasca University, and the University of Lethbridge.

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.

Hartland Covered Bridge, NB

Written by Dustin Manley

Completed in 1901, the Hartland Bridge continues to hold the title of the world’s longest covered bridge. The 391 meter long bridge crosses the Saint John River to join the two small communities of Somerville and Hartland, New Brunswick. The bridge is a popular tourist destination and one I always cross on my way to my parents’ in PEI.

Google Canada celebrated the Hartland Bridge’s 111th anniversary on July 4, 2012, by featuring it as a Google Doodle.

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.

Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park, NU

Written by Dustin Manley

The most beautiful show of the northern lights I saw was performed in Iqaluit. I witnessed them once before in Whitehorse, but it now seems like an opening act for the main event. They were so stunning that a friend and I spent four hours in -54C chasing and photographing them.

Photographing, let alone functioning, in -54C is difficult. Despite dressing in several layers I got a bit frostbitten earlier in the day. Cameras also suffer from extreme cold, so I used gaffer tape to secure a hand warmer next to the battery compartment. It is also imperative to seal your camera gear in an airtight bag before bringing it inside from the extreme cold, or else you risk condensation destroying it.

At Sylvia Grinnell, I had the chance to photograph the qimmiit—North America’s oldest and rarest purebred indigenous domestic canines—against a backdrop of the aurora borealis. Once all my camera batteries were depleted, I laid on the ground and watched the end of the show. The wind was sweeping through the aurora as if it were snow, sending the emerald ribbons pinwheeling across the sky.

What a performance.

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.

Ottawa, ON

Written by Dustin Manley

The Byward Market and main thoroughfares of Ottawa were awash in a sea of red and white shirts for Canada’s 148th Anniversary of Confederation. Several events and activities were taking place throughout the day across Ottawa and Gatineau at Parliament Hill, Major Hill’s Park, Jacques Cartier Park and the National Arts Centre.

I was front and center at Parliament Hill for the speeches from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Governor General David Johnston, and several other dignitaries. Following was a flypast by Canada’s Snowbirds (one flown by my classmate from Royal Roads!) and CF-18s and several musical performances from Canadian artists. Later in the day I was walking on a surprisingly empty street by the Supreme Court of Canada and had the opportunity to meet the Governor General and his wife in person!

Amazingly, Canada’s 150th celebration of Confederation in Ottawa was even more exciting!

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.

 

Whitehorse, YT

Written by Dustin Manley

Every Canadian should have the opportunity to see the northern lights at least once in their lives. Seeing the emerald aurora dance across the horizon with flecks of wisteria caught in the wind is a life-changing experience. There are myriad factors that determine whether an aurora will appear; simply being north does not guarantee you will see them. I learned this lesson the hard way, having previously traveled to Yellowknife only to be met with a snowstorm and no lights.

On my first night in Whitehorse conditions seemed favourable, but they turn on a dime and didn’t appear. The next night I drove out to Fish Lake, 20km west of Whitehorse, to wait once again for them to appear. Slowly, these microscopic green particles began appearing on the horizon. At first, I thought they were clouds, but they became more verdant and luminant. Soon they were waving across the skyline, beginning at one side of the horizon and ending in the other. They illuminated the pitch-black nightfall and reflected in the lake.

I ask most everyone I meet up north if they ever get used to seeing the northern lights. They never do.

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.

 

Apex Cemetery, NU

Written by Dustin Manley

Iqaluit’s new cemetery in the community of Apex is a uniquely beautiful, tranquil site. Overlooking the Frobisher Bay, a pair of bowhead whale rib bones acts serves as a gateway to the fields of white crosses adorned with green wreaths and crimson flowers.

Lees and Associates Landscape Architects, the firm responsible for developing the new cemetery, were recently recognized with a 2017 award of excellence from the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects for their work. Cemeteries are somber places and despite its recognition, this one is no different. While visiting it, a local friend from the area said: “it is heartbreaking when a cemetery is filled with more people who took their own lives than those who died of natural causes.”

During Canada’s 150th year of Confederation, it is important to recognize the indigenous people as the earlier founders and their continuing and integral impact on Canada’s identity.

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.

The Red Canoe, NU

Written by Dustin Manley

Abandoned on the beach of Frobisher Bay, just outside the old Hudson’s Bay trading post established in 1943, lays a red canoe. In 1914 the Hudson’s Bay Company opened their first trading post on Baffin Island, 65km southeast of Iqaluit, and begins expansion during the 1920s. Due to the fur crash of the 1930s, Hudson’s Bay moves their trading post to Apex to better serve the Inuit community and benefit from the now operational American airstrip.

The Hudson’s Bay outpost in Apex has long been out of operation and appearing as abandoned as the canoe on its shore. No one I spoke to knew why the canoe was there; however, like the Hudson’s Bay outpost it continues on, bringing tourists from across the world

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.

Hatley Castle, BC

Written by Dustin Manley

If you’ve ever watched Arrow, Smallville, any of the X-Men movies, or Deadpool you will recognize Hatley Castle. It’s also where I completed my graduate studies. Built in 1906, the 40-room Edwardian mansion housed for BC’s Lieutenant Governor, James Dunsmuir, and his wife Laura until it was sold to the Government of Canada in 1939, where it was used for the Royal Roads Military College until 1995 when it became the public Royal Roads University.

Royal Roads University has the most beautiful campus in all of Canada, bar none. And I’m not just saying that because I’m an alumnus. The 565 oceanfront acres are home to majestic gardens and offer stunning views of the Olympic Mountains in Washington. The campus is also filled with peacocks. No one knows definitively why. One of the more popular theories is there were presented as a gift to the Dunsmuir's in the early 20th century and have been part of campus every since. While they may be beautiful, these birds are big, territorial, and not afraid of you.

If you’re ever in Vancouver Island make it a priority to visit Hatley Castle and Royal Roads. It’s a diamond on a stunning island.

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.

 

Bracebridge, ON

Written by Dustin Manley

My hometown of Bracebridge, "The Land of Eternal Christmas" began holding the annual “Fire and Ice Festival” in 2016, long after I had moved away. At the end of January, they close downtown and put up a snow tube hill on Manitoba Street. The whole town came out for the event, so the two-hour lineup for a chance to go down the hill was a bit much. Thankfully there were plenty of activities like ice sculpting, face-painting, and maple syrup eating to entertain me and my niece.

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.

Cabot Trail, NS

Written by Dustin Manley

The view overlooking the Cabot Trail from the top of French Mountain is ubiquitous with Cape Breton Island. During the 2013 May long weekend, a friend and I decided to explore the Cabot Trail, one of the most famous drives to take in Canada. We also decided to hike the 7.5km Skyline Trail to get the full Cape Breton experience. A couple of kilometers into the hike it began snowing and hailing. Within 20 minutes there was at least 5cm of snow covering the trail. We were almost back to the car when we were stopped by a full-grown moose standing in the middle of the path. It stared at us for what seemed like an eternity, but was closer to five minutes, before walking back into the woods.

I’ll never forget that trip, that view, or that moose.

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.

S.S. Klondike, YT

Written by Dustin Manley

The S.S. Klondikes were two sternwheelers which sailed along the Yukon River between Whitehorse and Dawson City to deliver freight during the early-mid 20th century. Now designated as a National Historic Site of Canada, the Klondike II serves as a tourist attraction in downtown Whitehorse alongside the Yukon River.

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.

Elliston, NL

Written by Dustin Manley

I drove 700km within a single day to catch a glimpse of the Atlantic puffin. I was not disappointed. From the bluffs of the Bonavista Peninsula, I witnessed hundreds of the tiny penguin-like birds congregating on a large rock outcropping 100 yards away in the Atlantic Ocean. I had never seen a puffin before so I was not sure what to expect. I even purchased a fresh loaf of bread from a gas station with the hopes of feeding them from my hand—that didn’t happen. I did bring my camera though and was able to catch dozens of photos of these stunning birds which were no larger than a seagull. The drive to Elliston from St. John's is not easy. There are more moose than people in Newfoundland, causing several fatalities per year on the highway. A St. John’s cabby warned me to drive in the middle of the road to at least give myself a chance if a moose decided to come running from either direction.

No moose but hundreds of puffins. A successful trip.

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.

St. John's, NL

Written by Dustin Manley

I took this photo of the Port of St. John’s from Signal Hill after taking in the first sunrise North America saw that morning. I didn’t see much of the sunrise—just a few glimpses of gold cutting through the foggy sky. In addition to being the capital of the last province to join the Canadian Confederation (March 31, 1949), St. John’s also holds the title of North America’s most easterly city. It’s also one of the friendliest. I spent a portion of my childhood growing up with Newfoundlanders, and they are among the most hospitable and fun-loving people in Canada—and that’s saying a lot. If you’re ever in St. John’s be sure to “kiss the cod” at the Duke of Duckworth and join in on one of their many soirees like the George Street Festival.

All photos by Dustin Manley. All rights reserved.