The lifestyle here in Hay River is unique. Nature is right outside your back door. You can do everything from hunting and fishing in the summer to snowmobiling or quading and ice fishing in winter. My neighbour even has a dog team. He came from Nova Scotia and loves the quiet of dogsledding. All you can hear are the dogs breathing and the feel of the wind on your face. It’s a completely different experience to let the dogs take care of you out there.
We have people from all over Canada and the world here in Hay River — from all walks of life, all cultures and all levels of education. I think Hay River epitomizes what Canada is supposed to be. The guy who drives the water truck is from Jamaica. You wouldn’t think you’d see such a melting pot of people in the North, but it’s here. The tolerance is huge.
One thing I treasure about living here is that people care for one another. When anything bad happens we’re like muskoxen on the tundra. We circle around and protect each other and we all pull together to help. I love it that people look you in the eye and say hello as they pass by. In the South people keep to themselves and it can take 5 years to meet your neighbour.
The volunteer opportunities are phenomenal here. Women especially can do anything. In my time I’ve been involved in volleyball, curling, broomball, and hockey. There is acceptance no matter what level you play at. We help each other out and you won’t find any broken bones in our leagues!
I think to live here happily you need to love the outdoors or your job. I have a girlfriend who came here and she had the 5-year plan to use the North as a springboard for her career. Over that initial 5-year period her priorities changed and she realized how much she loved her life here and decided to stay.
In this place your friends become your family. It’s the place for me.