Tuesday, May 11, 2021


    Since I've been scanning slides I've been getting all kinds of reminders about the past. Some things go together when you look back. 

     As you know I was a teacher in Canada's Northlands. The whole situation was a little different. We were required to take an oath. We were classified as civil servants of the Canadian government. So no two months off in the summer. We got 3 weeks holiday and had to work at something for most of July and August. Some of those old boys really knew how to fix those teachers.

    In the summer of 1964 I worked in "Stores" This was a very large operation as they ordered , received and distributed all goods brought into the north. For the first two weeks I did filing My job was to go to small settlements , meet the incoming barges and check off the freight.

   So about the time they thought the barges might be arriving they sent me out. I went with an electrician so they could save money on our transportation. 

   So the plan went off the rails when the barges didn't arrive. I went back out with the electrician.

   However, all was not lost. In fact, with a wink or two the plan went well. 

   I was going to Ft. Franklin on Great Bear lake. Did I tell you there was great fishing there. You bet! We fished every night. Notice the 34 lb lake trout I caught.

   The RCMP were there and leaving by going down the Bear river . I was invited to go along. There were 14 miles of rapids . Fun!

   The barge did not come into Ft Norman either  and by this time it was time to go back home. 

    So I had a great holiday and got to travel and fish. 

    The practice of keeping teachers for the summer was soon ended. 

                   Leaving. Do you notice the fishing rods?

                  Priest's potato patch in Ft Norman

                             The 34 lb trout


                                          Ft Franklin

Saturday, May 8, 2021


      I regret to tell you that I had snow this morning for a couple of hours. Yes, snow. At times there were the huge wet snow flakes that if they hit you just went plop or sort of a splash. 

     Snow accumulated on the ground and rooves but melted quickly. 

     This always sends people back in the record s and they can usually find something worse.

    Here's how it looked this morning. 

    The first two  photos show the big wet sloppy snow flakes coming down this morning.

     The next photo goes back into Red's records of a May 1, 1985 record. This was a couple of days after the blizzard and my daughter decided to have some fun. 

Thursday, May 6, 2021


       I am Canadian but I have never seen Niagara Falls which is 3549 km away from me. I've been to Ontario where the falls are located. I've spent 10 days in Ottawa but never got to the falls. 

      However, I'm not sad about this situation. When I was scanning slides I found photos of Alexandra and Louise falls. These falls are on the Hay River in the northwest territories. They are only a few miles apart. Louise Falls is 15 m or 48 ft.  Alexandra falls drop 32 m or 105 feet. 

Louise Falls

Alexandra Falls

Alexandra Falls

     You've never heard of these falls? They are remote so very few people have heard of them and fewer people have seen them.

     I saw these falls in Aug of 1964. I caught a ride with a friend when I was going back to Inuvik. The highway had just been opened in 1963. The falls were just off the highway. It was 4:00 Am and we'd been driving for 24 hours, what a treat to stop and see the falls. It was fairly light at that time in the morning but my slide is in poor condition. 

   It's too bad that so few people see these falls. 

Sunday, May 2, 2021


     In my last post I mentioned that we got 90% or more of our freight by ship. That usually meant that two ships per year called. But sometimes we had 3 or 4 ships call in one summer. 

    One summer an icebreaker , the D'Iberville, showed up to sound the end of the  bay.

        Wakeham Bay was 24 miles deep. A mining company was working on a mining project 60 miles inland. Their proposal was to build a dock at the end of the bay and haul the ore out over the year and have ships pick the ore up and take it to refineries 

    I'm not sure that this project ever happened.

    But what did happen is that we were invited out to the ship to have dinner with the captain. Horror of horrors! I was on the same level as the captain.  It didn't matter that I was a village administrator and he was a ship captain we were supposedly equals. That has hard to get through a prairie boy's head where everybody was equal. I had never experienced status before. 

    They sent a helicopter to pick us up. As we flew out to the ship we saw five belugas swimming in the bay. 

     I still remember looking at the ship from  distance and how small it looked. when we got closer I saw the circles on deck where we were to land. the circles looked smaller than ever. 

     We had a fine dinner with the very formal old captain and then they took us back home by helicopter. 

      Approaching the settlement by helicopter. It really was a very small place.

     And don't worry I did not let my dinner with the captain go to my head. I still look as people as people rather than what title they are given. 

Thursday, April 29, 2021


      I was scanning some slides today that reminded me of transportation or lack of it in the north. 

      As you know I spent two years in a very isolated northern settlement called Wakeham Bay  which is now known as Kangiqsujuaq. The population was approximately 200 people 

      At the time I was there from 1967 to 69 transportation was almost nil. The nearest road was more than 500 miles away. There was no airstrip and there was no dock for ships to unload.

      All freight was  brought in by ship. The Hudson Bay Co would charter a ship to bring in all their trading supplies. The ship would anchor in the bay about a mile off shore. Freight was loaded into small powered barges . These little barges could move up to the beach. Then all freight was taken off by hand. Most trading posts were built on the beach so their warehouse was not far from the beach where the freight was dropped, 

All people in the settlement pitched in to unload the supplies. You can see two women carrying a 100 lb bag of flour.

    Now this system was not as simple as it looks.

    The commerce was all trade. These trading posts used very little cash. It was all trade. 

     I think there was roughly $200.00 in cash in the community. It was used to play poker. 

    So If a hunter or trapper wanted to go out he would go to the store to get supplies . He may want gun shells, flour, baking powder, lard and tea. He would be given the supplies on credit. When he came back he would trade his skins and pay off his debt.

    The people knew what they were doing when the volunteered to unload the ship. They knew that this labor might make it easier at times to get credit.



Tuesday, April 27, 2021



       I used this photo in my last post. I haven't forgotten that I used it. 

      Today I have another reason for showing this photo.

       This photo illustrates one of the negative aspects of society What does this photo tell us?

       So take a look at what this photo may say. Let's hear some opinions . Maybe we could get an argument going here!

Saturday, April 24, 2021


      This photo is just before the airplane came in to take us south.  Our baggage was on the G - 5 . 

    This was July 22 and I'm wearing a light winter jacket. I'm also wearing rubber boots. Most of the ground was soggy and wet. You couldn't wear ordinary shoes. 

      We had been at Wakeham Bay for two very busy years. I was teacher, principal and Local administrator. The principal position was a joke as there was only one other teacher. The teaching load was challenging as these kids had only been in school for five years . The Local administrator position paid the handsome salary of $1000.00 per year. Sometimes I worked on administration as much as teaching. 

     I had to account to the government for every dime I spent. I could write checks for $2000.00 per month for soapstone carvings. I gave out social assistance . Did I  say  correspondence? Lots of it.

     We did not have a post office. A bag or bags of mail would come in on the odd

airplane if somebody remembered to put it on. I would have to go through correspondence. 

    The Inuit didn't send out letters or receive letters. But some of them did some work at the mine and as a result had to pay income tax. They would get T4 slips. They knew that the would get money from T4 slips and would come up to me. I would fill out their income tax forms. 

   So here I am just a few hours before leaving, still working. I was distributing the family allowance checks. Family allowance is a system where mothers are paid so much for each child. It was one of my jobs to give them their checks. 

   I also had to sort out some mysteries. For most of the two years I would get a letter asking about the whereabouts of a certain child. At first I had no idea who the parents might be. The Govt. was paying family allowance for this kid. Finally I was talking to a family one day about this issue and they talked amongst themselves. I could understand what they were saying. It was their child. Apparently the child's birth was registered but the child died shortly after.  This had happened on an island off the coast. 

     So because I enjoyed all this work it was a sad time to leave.

    It was July 22 and teachers could have been gone for three weeks. I enjoyed the work and wanted to help the people as much as I could.