Iqaluit summer festivals team up with Adventure Canada for week-long tour
Tour participants will take in two festivals, several workshops
If you’re looking for a tangible sign of tourism development in Nunavut, you don’t have to look any further than Iqaluit’s Alianait arts festival and the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association arts festival in Iqaluit.
The two organizations are teaming up with Ontario-based Adventure Canada, which specializes in Arctic cruises, to offer a week-long arts, music and cultural tour to Iqaluit from June 28 to July 5.
Adventure Canada plans to fly a group up from Ottawa, with Iqaluit resident Aaju Peter as its cultural guide.
In Iqaluit, visitors will attend Alianait’s shows, June 29 to July 2, themed around “Arctic Connections,” and the NACA arts festival, which takes place July 2 to 9.
And those on the tour will also participate in private Alianait-organized workshops — on Greenlandic mask dance and Inuit drumming and dancers — and, with NACA artists, they’ll attend sessions on beadwork, wood-working, carving and print-making.
They’ll also visit sites around Iqaluit, such as the Sylvia Grinnell territorial park and the Nunavut legislature, and sample local foods.
The trip is a “two for one” experience, said Rowena House of NACA, who said, by working together, the collaboration between the two festivals and tour company will benefit the arts, tourism and the local economy.
“We’re excited about working with Alianait and Adventure Canada to being more tourists here,” said House.
Last summer NAC began to see the possibility of organizing such a tour when about 20 visitors from the Canadian Conference of the Arts and officials from Canada Council came to Iqaluit for the Nunavut Arts Festival.
Many decided to prolong their stays to see more of Nunavut.
“And they all spent a lot of money,” House said.
House and Alianait executive director Heather Daley are attending the Nunavut Tourism conference, which started March 20 in Iqaluit, to share their experiences organizing and promoting events in Nunavut.
Among the challenges of bringing tourists and local residents together in Iqaluit: the timing of the two festivals, a period of the year when many in Nunavut wish to be on the land, and money, because the price-tag of $4,200, plus airfare, means that some who may want to visit Iqaluit won’t be able to due to the cost.