10 viral vids (and 3 honourable mentions) that sum up the North in 2018

From miracle huskies to bowhead whale hunts, amazing moments on video tell the story of CBC North’s year in 2018.

From miracle huskies to bowhead whale hunts, amazing moments tell the story of CBC North’s year

Jason Gendron captured this timelapse footage of aurora exploding over wildfires on Windy Arm in Tagish Lake, Yukon. (Submitted by Jason Gendron)

In the North, we tend to think "going viral" means reaching everybody on the local rant-and-rave.

But every now and again, a glimpse of northern life catches the fancy of folks in far-flung corners of the globe.

This year, that happened more than once — from an all-Canadian commute on icy northern roads to a fox who took a leap of faith in pursuit of tasty morsels.

Here are the videos that defined the North in 2018:

#10: Aurora and wildfire light up Yukon's night sky

Submitted by Jason Gendron​

It's hard to imagine a more impressive aurora video than this one, recorded when wildfires were burning on Windy Arm in Tagish Lake, Yukon, about 85 kilometres south of Whitehorse.

"ZOUNDS," commented Jack Colby on Facebook. "Fire on the land and 'fire' in the sky."

"I wish I could have seen the aurora when we were there," lamented Diana Burns. "The fire, not so much."

#9: Skating to work in Dawson City

Submitted by Bobby Ronka​

Sometimes in the North, you have to be creative just to make it through your morning commute.

When ice paralyzed Dawson City, Yukon, this hard-working fellow ditched his wheels and laced up his skates.

#8: Hockey afternoon in Kuujjuaq

Submitted by Maxence Chavanne​

It was still barely autumn when we received this video from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, where some kids took advantage of the chillier temperatures to get behind a puck — perhaps a little too soon.

The freshness of the ice spurred a vigorous online debate about safe ice practices and brought back some people's memories of a time before health and safety.

"Can almost smell that air!!" wrote Jo Roy. "Love the sound of blades and sticks on ice!!"

"Imagine how far a slap shot would go," mused Daniel Palmebjork.

#7: The beautiful beadwork of 'My Grandmother's Garden'

The idea to bead an entire caribou hide came to Flora Weistche in a dream — and seeing the product nearly finished was clearly a dream for our followers.

"My Grandmother's Garden" is a beaded artwork made over three years and hundreds of hours from a hide harvested in 1979.

Weistche, raised in the Cree community of Waskaganish, Que., dedicated the artwork to the women of the Cree Nation and Indigenous women across Canada.

#6: Walrus hunt on Cumberland Sound

Submitted by Jay Nakashuk​

Jay Nakashuk and his friends got lucky when they trapped a walrus in Cumberland Sound, about 145 kilometres south of Pangnirtung, Nunavut.

Predictably, the video of a traditional spear hunt inspired friendly curiosity and anger from animal rights advocates.

More than one commenter jumped to the hunters' defence.

"The level of ignorance and misunderstanding here is astounding," commented Shawn Thompson on our post. "You think these people have a grocery store they just drive to?"

#5: Flames erupt at Iqaluit Northmart store

It was one of our biggest stories of the year: Iqaluit's largest grocery store nearly consumed in a devastating fire.

CBC's reporters were quickly on the scene to capture video of the blaze as it burned through the store's warehouse and the effects of the fire in the days that followed.

Within 10 days, the store reopened to a long line of customers — but with concerns about air quality, the story is far from over.

#4: Fort McPherson, N.W.T., chases the ace

Submitted by Tetlit Gwich'in Council

When the people of Fort McPherson chase the ace, they take it to the next level.

Local RCMP got involved in the creation of this viral video from the Tetlit Gwich'in Council, where an ace of spades, fearing for its life with so many trying to hunt it down, finds protection with the local constabulary.

By the time of the draw, the pot was in the tens of thousands of dollars.

#3: 'In Canada even the bison are polite'

Submitted by Elizabeth Sanspariel​

It's not uncommon to see a bison or two by the side of the road in the N.W.T.

But when Elizabeth Sanspariel was driving back to Behchoko, she hit the motherlode — a herd of dozens, stretched out along the all-weather road.

Bison aren't exactly known for their accommodating personalities, but this herd moved calmly off the road as the vehicle passed. Phew!

"In Canada even the bison are polite!" said Denise Conway.

#2: Nanook the Husky makes miracle rescue

It was a story made to go viral — a deaf college student from Tennessee, hiking in the wilds of Alaska, is badly injured. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a husky appears and guides her to safety.

It turned out Nanook was a regular presence in the mountains, roaming far from home and often picking up stragglers along the way.

#1: Hunting fox takes a leap of faith

Submitted by Terri Simba

Our number one video was a lucky snap by Terri Simba, and a lucky catch for the subject of the video — a hungry fox hunting by the roadside in Kakisa, N.W.T.

This video blew our others out of the water, with almost 7 million views and thousands of shares from coast to coast to coast and beyond.

Honorable Mentions

Iqaluit harvests first bowhead whale in seven years

It was a huge day for the people of Iqaluit when a bowhead whale came into Frobisher Bay. Our reporter caught a timelapse of the whale's meat being harvested.

The meat would go on to feed dozens of residents, including some lucky CBC employees!

Stuart Towarak breaks the AWG record in the one-foot high kick

If you've never seen the one-foot high kick, this video will blow your mind.

Stuart Towarak from Unalakleet, Alaska, broke a 30-year Arctic Winter Games record in the traditional Inuit sport, kicking a target 2.9 metres off the ground.

ICI Territoires du Nord-Ouest says 'bonjour'

This year marked a major milestone for CBC/Radio-Canada — the beginning of ICI Territoires du Nord-Ouest, CBC's French language site for the N.W.T. (also known affectionately as our reporter, Mario De Ciccio).

Over the course of 2018, De Ciccio would march with cadets, document a wedding and sail in a boat powered only by the sun.

But it all began with a humble video.