To Yellowknife, with Love
My journey through the Canadian landscape has taken me to many large cities and rural communities over the past couple of years in preparation for touring exhibitions of my paintings inspired by Canada this year, coinciding with the Canada 150 celebrations. One year ago, on Canada Day 2016, I had the opportunity to celebrate in Canada’s North, on the edge of the Arctic Circle. I spent Canada Day week in Yellowknife on an epic journey in the land where the sun and the people never sleep.
I flew in over Great Slave Lake as the midnight sun chased us, throwing a gilded, glistening spotlight from rivers to lakes as we touched down. Global warming is having the most dramatic impact and causing visible shifts, say my hosts, who shared some pizza with me at a neighbourhood watering hole just a stroll down the gravel lane. That first night, I slept in an artist’s shack moved to Old Town in 1980 from nearby Jolliffe Island; it seemed fitting I would rest my head inside this tiny piece of Canadian history.
Walking into downtown Yellowknife the following morning, I found myself at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, named after the British prince himself. It is a thoughtful and impressive museum for its size, telling the story of the first peoples here, the Dene First Nations.