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The Insider's Guide to the North - July

The Insider's Guide to the North - July

Summer is a time for gathering, a time for festivals, in the North
By Up Here
Jan 25
From the January 2016 Issue

1) Ice boulders

When you’re in Iqaluit in July, head to the coast at low tide and explore the sea ice that’s been stranded on shore. Climb up on the giant white-blue chunks and suntan; lap up the deliciously pure dripping melt water; play hide-and-go-seek even. Just make sure you get out of there before the tide rushes back in.

2) The great eider down harvest

A handful of down in Sanikiluaq. Photo from the film People of a Feather, courtesy of the Arctic Eider Society

For birders, late summer on the Belcher Islands in the southern part of Hudson Bay might be paradise. By July, the archipelago’s only human settlement, Sanikiluaq (pop. 900), is inundated with thousands of eider ducks breeding and laying eggs in nests made of the female duck’s breast feathers. The plumage is regarded as one of the warmest materials on the planet—even better than goose down. On calm sunny days, resident Lucassie Ippak and family will boat out to parts of the islands to collect the down, which they can sell to the newly re-opened eider down factory in town, or keep for themselves to make parkas and snow pants, which the Inuit have been doing for ages.  

 “There’s certain spots. Everyone has their own spots,” says Ippak. “We just have to look for the ducks that are nesting and start collecting. [We spend] mostly all day. We usually collect them in garbage bags. On a very good day we’ll get seven or eight garbage bags full. As much as the boat can carry.” — DC

3) Folk on the Rocks, July 15-17

Dancing in the sand at Folk on the Rocks. Photo by Hannah Eden/Up Here

Enjoy cold beer, endless sunshine, and swimming in sandy Long Lake along with some of the best musical acts the North and the rest of Canada have to offer. Camp out nearby or stay at a hotel in Yellowknife and catch the shuttle bus to the grounds, 10 minutes outside of town.

4) The Dawson City Music Festival, July 22-24

Photo by Hannah Eden/Klondike Sun

Fly, drive the Dempster Highway or float down the Yukon River to this cozy, eclectic gathering in the Klondike. Spread across six venues in Dawson City, this festival has a bit of every type of music under the (midnight) sun. Visitors can camp at a number of different sites around town, or shack up in the city. 

5) Moosehide Gathering, July 28-31

Photo by Hannah Eden/Klondike Sun

With a free boat ride from Dawson City, and free camping on site, visitors can take in Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in culture at Moosehide Village, five kilometres downriver of Dawson City. This inclusive event invites all to take part in dancing, drumming, storytelling and feasting, while learning to honour this Yukon First Nation’s land and ancestry. 

6) The Yukon Culinary Festival, late July

Photo by Hannah Eden/Klondike Sun

Whitehorse and Dawson City host this celebration of Yukon cuisine at the end of the month. From home-grown to locally sourced ingredients, sample, sip and tour your way—with the help of some of the finest sourdough chefs—through the tastiest grub the Yukon has to offer.