North

Inuvik hopes sun rises on tourism in 2017

Inuvik’s Sunrise Festival kicks off this weekend and the town’s economic development and tourism manager says the event’s 30th year is going to be one to remember.

Sunrise Festival, last season for Tuk ice road expected to draw visitors north this year

Fireworks light up the sky at the Sunrise Festival in Inuvik last year. This year's festival kicks off Friday. (David Thurton/CBC)

Inuvik's Sunrise Festival kicks off this weekend and the town's economic development and tourism manager says the event's 30th year is going to be one to remember.

"In the past few years it's grown and grown and grown," said Vicky Gregoire-Tremblay.

"It's a great event for the community to get together, celebrate winter… be involved in the community and just have fun in a very active way."

About 2,000 people are expected to join in on festivities, which include watching the first sunrise of the year on Saturday, an ice carving competition and a bonfire and fireworks.

One special guest will be CBC's Rick Mercer, who will be in town to film an episode for his show.

"It's a great opportunity to have the Rick Mercer Report come to the Town of Inuvik," said Gregoire-Tremblay.

"Not only in showcasing the town and our festival, but also in terms of just having other people from the country see what Inuvik really is from someone they respect and they like."

Gregoire-Tremblay said they are expecting more visitors to make their way to Inuvik this winter not just for the festival, but also to experience the ice road to Tuktoyaktuk.

"This will be the last season when people will actually be able to drive on the ice road to Tuktoyaktuk — driving on the Arctic Ocean, which is something that's quite unique."

The all-season road between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk is expected to open this coming fall. ​
Site preparations are underway for Inuvik's Sunrise Festival. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC)

Local businesses are also anticipating more tourists in 2017.

"We are hoping we are going to have a lot more traffic," said Pam McDonald, a partner in the local restaurant Alestine's with her husband Brian.

"It's considerably slowed down in the last year."

However, she's hopeful that people will make their way up to Inuvik in 2017.

"Now that the ice road is open and it's now the 150th year of Canada. So I'm really hoping that it's going to populate a lot more people in town, and more revenue for us."

The three-day Sunrise Festival begins Friday evening.

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