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This is where miscellaneous stories from or about Churchill will be included, until a more appropriate category can be determined.
For those who fear the prospect of global warming, the 400 kilometre dogsled race from Arviat in Nunavut to Churchill is a warning. When the mushers set out on Saturday morning [March 24], they faced “the rare prospect of above-zero temperatures and the even rarer prospect of rain.” Still, the 14 mushers were determined in spite of their nervousness about the weather. There was a $25,000 purse for the winner. It was anticipated that the race would take longer than the 54 hours it took in 2006, when temperatures were colder, and the mushers would have to be rerouted to avoid flooding along sections of the coastal route. For information on the participants, see the Hudson Bay Quest website.
UPDATE: The above-zero temperatures and rain didn't prevent the top mushers in the 2007 race from coming in well under the 2006 first place finish of 52 hrs 22 minutes by Andrew Panagoniak. The 2007 winner of the race was Quincy Miller of Potato Lake, Saskatchewan, who had a time of 37 hrs 57 minutes. In second place was David Oolooyak, of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, who arrived at Churchill in 38 hrs. 54 minutes. Third place went to Daryl Baker of Arviat, Nunavut, who completed the race in 43 hrs. 48 minutes.
Saturday did present difficulties because of the warm weather. However, by Sunday morning, the above average temperatures of the previous day had dropped to minus 15 and the freezing rain had changed into snow, drifting at first, then blowing hard with high winds. As a result, it was difficult to maintain telephone contact with the various check points. George Sinclair, David Oolooyak, and Harry Towtongie had to quit the race at Nunala, and Dave Daley withdrew at North River. The rest made it to Churchill, the top two late Sunday evening, five more on Monday, and three on Tuesday. Considering the initial pessimism, the mushers had done very well indeed.
On Friday, July 27, Olympian Cindy Klassen, former hockey player Sheldon Kennedy and Manitoba Culture and Heritage Minister Eric Robinson went to Churchill, which had proclaimed Friday Cindy Klassen Day. From the pictures that appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press, it appeared that everyone had a good time. And why not? Everyone knows that there is nothing like northern hospitality! Thanks, Cindy, Sheldon, and Eric for taking time out from your busy lives to give the children of Churchill and their families some wonderful memories.
According to journalist Kevin Rollason, Churchill resident Joanne Stover was chosen to be an Olympic torch bearer because she was “an everyday champion of positive change” in her community. Stover, a Kindergarten and music teacher at Duke of Marlborough School, has lived in Churchill since 1987, when she and her husband, a now-retired teacher, arrived there with their family from south-western Ontario. It has been a lengthy stay and promises to continue as their three adult sons still live and work there. “It is very thrilling and very humbling,” she said concerning the choice, “I feel I’m representing the school community, both the students and the staff.”
A Friday night social and Saturday night fireworks display were to set the stage for the arrival by air of the Olympic torch on Sunday, November 8. The torch would be “driven the eight kilometres from the airport into town” for the community torch run. Stover was to be the last runner, after which she would “lead the student choir and fiddle band during the community entertainment portion of the celebration.” For Churchill Mayor Mike Spence, this was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for his community, and everyone was making the most of it.
Discussion: The next stop for the Olympic Torch was Alert, Nunavut, after which it would not return to Manitoba until January 5, for celebrations in “Winnipeg, Brandon, Peguis First Nation and Gimli.” Why do you think Churchill was chosen to be the first place in Manitoba visited by the Olympic torch? What is it about Churchill that captured the imagination of the planners of this event? Why would knowing the reasons help in the promotion of future events in Churchill?
Last updated : December 15, 2009