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Practical information about living in the Northwest Territories.

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Gordon's Story - Fort Smith

My wife and I came here to Fort Smith for the adventure. We are originally from London and have been here for 10 years. My wife, Ann, is an Anglican minister and saw an ad for a posting here. I previously worked for Air Canada and Virgin Atlantic in the UK and as soon as I landed, the owner of the airline I was flying on, Northwestern Air Lease, offered me a job. I’m now the General Manager.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d be working in a commuter airline like this one. In England I was one of many thousands in the pecking order. Here, I report directly to the owners, staff reports to me, and I get to wear a lot of hats each day. We’ve grown from a staff of 30 to 63 and from 4 to 13 planes. I love my job and I love that I get to work so closely with the people that work in this company.
I am also the assistant pastor at the Anglican Church. I was ordained 3 years ago by the Bishop of the Arctic, a great privilege. In addition to her work as minister, Ann also has a Masters degree in psychology, so she helps out at the wellness centre with addictions and other issues. There isn’t a lot of free time to do much else, but we do love to get out on the trails with our Husky dog.
We also love to travel and each year we usually get away for a month in the sun. Last winter we went away to Africa for 5 weeks (my wife’s home country). The dark days can be wearing, so getting away is great.  Otherwise we keep ourselves busy with winter activities. The church is very active in the winter months. We do dinners, dinner theatre, music evenings. The Anglican Church here is very well known for eating and having fun. There’s always something going on.

The North hasn’t really been affected by the recession, but we are seeing a lot of pilots coming up here and staying longer than before because there is no work in the South. Here there’s work everywhere. No one coming to Fort Smith, even without qualifications, will go without work. The pay of course, goes with it – I recently read that the pay in Fort Smith, when you take everything into consideration, was the highest in Canada. If it weren’t for the cold in winter, thousands of people would be flocking to live here, but thank goodness for cold, because it would get awfully crowded. For us, it’s the perfect place to live.