Iqaluit was the last stop of my Canada tour. The moment Peter
Roszak and I landed there, I was able to visit all the provinces and
territories of Canada.
Air Canada does not have a flight to Iqaluit.
We took First Air from Ottawa to Iqaluit which was a 3 hour flight.
Since it was above the arctic line, it was
still freezing cold though it was spring already in Toronto. The
population of Iqaluit at that time was about 6,000 divided among First
Nations people, immigrants from Quebec, Newfoundland and Ontario.
On air, there was virtually nothing to see
except for snow. No trees, lakes nor any small community. Upon
approach, we just saw Iqaluit as a small community in the middle of nowhere.
Quite fascinating because if you wandered out of the city and got lost, you
would have been a popsicle.
We did not see anything in Iqaluit. As
a matter of fact, we had the whole city as a picture background. We
stepped on the frozen waters of
Frobisher Bay then
we visited the only shopping complex in the city - North Mall. We knew
that items were expensive in Iqaluit but our jaws dropped with the prices of
basic goods in the shopping outlet. In Toronto, pound of Royal Gala
apples was between 99 cents to CD$1.99 versus CD$6.89/lb, grilled rotisserie
between CD$6.99 to CD$7.99 versus CD$16.99 and 12 pack soda in Toronto was
about CD$4.27 versus CD$13.99 in Iqaluit.
Cost of living was very expensive but the
lowest average pay in the city was between CD$18-CD$20/hour. Also,
residents of Iqaluit get some form of subsidy in the government to cover the
high cost of living.