When West meets North
When she stepped out of the plane at Iqaluit all she could see was white and blue.
"There was no jetway, everything just seemed to be set on the tundra," West Vancouver Mayor Pamela Goldsmith-Jones said of the airport that welcomes visitors to Nunavut's capital.
Beside being greeted by -30 C temperatures, Goldsmith-Jones was met by premiers and mayors of the three northern territories to talk Olympics and business.
West Vancouver and Nunavut have signed a memorandum of understanding for the Games. The territory is spending $150,000 in the district on Olympic-related events.
During the Winter Games the north is coming to West Van. Singers, musicians, athletes and artists from Canada's great white communities will spill into West Vancouver Community Centre.
At the community centre, Dene and Inuit athletes will demonstrate northern games, such as the Alaskan high kick, knuckle hopping and the blanket toss, to the public and school children from around the Lower Mainland, West Vancouver 2010 managing director Charlene Warrington said.
The district will host a speaking series on Nunavut topics, including Arctic ecology and heritage rivers and parks. The 2010 Explorer Camps, running throughout the Olympics, will also incorporate the northern showcases.
"We are hoping that a lot of people will be introduced to northern art," Warrington said.
Paintings by one of Canada's most prominent artists, Ted Harrison, will be on display at the Ferry Building Gallery.
In addition to the opportunity to better understand our neighbours and country, the partnerships could create business networks, Goldsmith-Jones said.
The West Vancouver postal code is the Yukon's biggest market in terms of tourism, she said.
On Feb. 17, West Van, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories are hosting a mining and exploration gala — Mine-altering Event . Premiers from the territories and business leaders are attending the gathering.
"We have a lot of people involved in the mining sector," Goldsmith-Jones said of the district's population.
Goldsmith-Jones has already made a northern tie. Having met Iqaluit's Mayor Elisapee Sheutiapik, Goldsmith-Jones joked even though the municipalities' geography and culture may be different politics are the same no matter where you live. Iqaluit's council voted to give Sheutiapik enough money to attend the West Van events during the Olympics, but not enough to pay for accommodation, Goldsmith-Jones said.
"She is probably going to stay at my place during the Games," she said, before laughing and adding she looks forward to it.