Chronicles of a Trini in the frigid North

Schools have been in session for a month, but the laid-back air of the holidays seems to linger and the calendar of events shows no sign of easing up. The Fall Harvest Fair, Arts Week, Literacy Week, and the Yellowknife International Film Festival are only some of the happenings for September. As is always the case, I couldn’t possibly attend them all.

One of the quirkier events was PARKing day, an annual event where the city donates parking spots, which artists and other citizens convert into temporary public parks.  While running errands around town, I passed by some of the converted spots. I wouldn’t call them parks, but they were definitely aimed at public enjoyment, and some of them provided public amusement. I didn’t walk with my camera but I managed to snap some pictures with my phone, which doesn’t produce the best ones.  (They used to be even worse, because for about 18 months after I got the phone, I didn’t realize the plastic was still covering the lens.)

On the main street, there was a canoe parked outside one of the art galleries.

PARKing day Yellowknife canoe

Rowing up the street

Just outside the pub, somebody decided to park a couch and a couple of stools on the sidewalk, plant a television in the street, and invite passers-by to stop and watch a movie. This was by far the wackiest use of a parking spot that I witnessed.

PARKing day Yellowknife - Movies on the street

Movies in the street

Opposite the drugstore, some gaily-painted guitars and other string instruments begged to be played.


PARKing Day Yellowknife - Guitars

PARKing Day Guitars

Literacy Week was much more staid by comparison. The Northwest Territories Literacy Council hosted a lunch-hour Read on the Street,  an opportunity for people to get out of the office and sit outdoors and read. When I passed by, someone was filming while some ladies sat around reading and chatting. There was a brisk wind, so they had to be avid readers. Missing in action were the men who read.

Literacy week Read On The Street

Literacy week Read On The Street

The yellow trike bookmobile attracted the attention of several pedestrians. Some stopped to rifle through the books, others merely threw quizzical looks and continued on their way.

NWT Literacy Council Bookmobile

NWT Literacy Council yellow trike bookmobile

Speaking of yellow, that’s the colour that the trees are splashing out these days and some of them are already bare. A ride around town reveals a collection of picture postcard scenes.

Yellowknife view from museum

City view across Frame Lake

Arts Week offered an intriguing installation called “Stolons”, by Northwest Territories artist Courtney Chetwynd.  She gathered stories from northern residents and translated them into pieces of art. The stories were typed on transparent sheets, which she strung up inside a tent. She secured to them a length of red string. The strings from the various stories all ran outside the tent and became intertwined, to signify the common human connection.  Like a shoot from a plant, the pices of art sprang up at the other end of the string.

Courtney Chetwynd - Stolons exhibit, Yellowknife

Courtney Chetwynd – inside tent with stories hanging

The installation was meant to be an exploration of identity and memory, and the materials she used in the art were items that she collected from various places she had visited, including coral, stones, and animal sinew.

Stolons - materials used in art

Materials used in Stolons art

She was working on it all week and I stopped by midweek. It has always fascinated me how artists conceive their art, especially how they translate words into drawings or paintings. These are only two of the intrepretive pieces that she had created up to the time that I was there:

Stolons Interactive Art

Stolons art


Stolons Interactive Art 2

Stolons Art 2


I didn’t return to see the finished work, but I didn’t feel deprived. After all, there is art everywhere in this town, both indoors and out, made by humans and provided by nature.

Garden tile in Fall

Garden tile among fallen leaves

Copyright © Kathryn Birchwood and FrozenTrini 2014. The use and/or duplication of this material without the express and written permission of this blog’s author and/or owner are unauthorised and strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kathryn Birchwood and FrozenTrini, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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