I arrived in Yellowknife with a friend on February 20, 1980. It was -42 and I had $20 in my pocket, a backpack and just enough naiveté to believe I could make it here. I grew up in Toronto (but was born in Scotland) and had just finished a six-month job working in Banff after graduating from a Travel and Tourism program in Ontario. My friend and I had first thought of going to Taloyoak to work in a camp, but dropped that idea when we found out socializing was against the rules! On a whim, I called the Yellowknife Inn from a payphone in Edmonton, told the front desk manager our background and she asked how soon we could be there as she had just fired two people. When I called my parents from Yellowknife, collect, with the surprise, I think my Mom cried and then they wired me survival money.
I feel that some things are meant to be because the week I arrived, I met my future husband. He was on the house phone in the lobby of the Yellowknife Inn. He smiled at me, my heart flipped and we’ve been together ever since. I was welcomed into his family and into the community and knew I’d never live in a big city like Toronto again. I’ve never looked back.
Life has been good to me here. My husband and I have raised two wonderful daughters who have had incredible opportunities and life experiences through education and sport. I am the managing partner of Top of the World Travel (in a career field I love). The friends I’ve made are dear to my heart and the life lessons I’ve been taught are incredible.
I love so many things about life in the North. I love the first breath of fresh northern air when the aircraft door opens after returning from a trip south. I never take for granted the beauty of a Yellowknife sunrise or sunset. And I am grateful to live in a place where the aurora borealis is not a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but a rest-of-my-life experience.
I’m passionate about my family and my wonderful grandchildren, but after them, it’s our North – and its people – that still holds me under its spell.