Chapter 3B: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

There’s something about the territories that fills me with wonder and joy; I can’t pinpoint what it is exactly. Maybe it’s the tight knit community, the local artists, the northern lights or the chilling temperatures below -30 °C (I suppose I could do without the cold temperatures). Our time in Yellowknife was truly spectacular, although we started off with some challenges.

Snow Castle on Great Slave Lake

Watching the owner of Old Town Glassworks make a glass out of a used glass bottle

Off-loading our exhibit and presentation equipment into the school was probably the most complicated procedure we have ever undertaken. There were many factors that were working against us including: 1) -35 °C weather which froze the wheels on our dollies and our bodies, 2) snow cover from the end of the ramp to the door which meant our wheels were useless and 3) small door frame which meant some of our taller pieces could not fit through and required some dismantling. We ended up moving parts of our gear into various parts of the gym, so everything was out of the usual order. Despite those obstacles, we finally made it inside and actually set up quite quickly.

Here’s Lucija brushing off the snow from the ramp in chilling -35 degree C weather (Image by Lauren S.)

Taking a well deserved break and warming up after a challenging load-in

The pain we endured from our load-in was immediately soothed by the warmth of our hosts at Ecole St. Patrick. Don (the vice-principal) made sure we had everything we needed during set-up and Thana (the main science teacher contact) had her students bring school groups to and from the presentation/exhibit to make transitions run as smooth as possible.

We received great feedback from both teachers and students during our stay in Yellowknife. They really loved how interactive the exhibit was and the fact that we were there to facilitate it and have a dialogue with students. It was an experience that was unique and memorable. The amount of impact we’re making with this tour is difficult to measure. There are always engaged students with questions as well as with stories to share, but there are many others who do not seem engaged. I’m still trying to figure out how I can have more in-depth conversations with students, regardless if it’s science related or not.

Students crowding around our demo table to touch the plasma ball

A keen student trying to understand a physics equation

One of the many students who came back to chat with us

Coming back to the north meant that we would see The Northern Lights again which was exciting. We actually saw them the first night we arrived in town, so we knew that they could only be better outside the city. On our last night, we all decided to go dogsledding and see the northern lights and boy, was it ever memorable. Thank you Yellowknife!

Probably one of my only good pictures without a tripod

Dog sledding under the aurora borealis (Superb image by Lauren S.)

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