All posts tagged: quebec

Oh Ottawa: Reflecting on a Canadian Life Left Behind

If Belle from Beauty and the Beast were 40 today, would she still be living happily ever after or would she have second thoughts about leaving her provincial life? Would she still identify with that life at all? Growing up in Ottawa, Canada, I suppose in some ways I was a modern-day Belle leading the proverbial provincial life*. The grass is green, and there’s lots of it – in the summer months at any rate. With the federal government headquartered in the nation’s capital, the job market is robust and typically weathers market downturns well. There’s access to good schools and, of course, universal healthcare. At home, we indulged in many popular American imports. Our family tuned in to ALF and laughed at Steve Urkel’s silly jokes, my dad received a hero’s homecoming when he signed up for a Jumbo Video membership (Canada’s answer to Blockbuster) and surprised us with a copy of the newly-released Batman movie, and in the 10th grade I became completely obsessed with The Phantom of the Opera when a touring …

Story Gone Cold: A Reporter Finds an Unexpected Angle in the Arctic

I bet you can’t find Salluit on a map. Look for Quebec – six times the size of France – then move your finger north. Way, way north to a spot just past the Arctic Circle, which lies at 60 degrees. You can only reach the Inuit town of Salluit by air. There are no roads. And you can only fly into it via Air Inuit, coming to and from places like Aupaluk and Inukiak. I visited in late-December in the mid-1980s. We took a jet north from Montreal to Kuujjuaq, a two-hour flight, before switching to one of the tiny DASH-8s, small aircraft specially designed and built for use on the Arctic’s short frigid runways. The kind of runways where all you’ve got to work with is a lot of snow and ice and little room to maneuver before skidding off into seawater, the temperature of which will kill you within minutes. I was a reporter then for the Montreal Gazette, sent north on an assignment typical of the paper’s tastes. The story was …