From Norway to New Zealand: Woman maps spots Yellowknifers rang in 2020
People with connections to Yellowknife in over 160 communities across the globe on New Year's
People with connections to Yellowknife rang in the new decade all over the world on Wednesday, and one woman is helping to connect them online.
Shari Wynne moderates YK Memories, a public Facebook group where people can share stories and photos and reconnect with people from Yellowknife.
On New Year's Eve, Wynne asked group members to share where they would be celebrating the start of 2020 — and the response she got was incredible.
"I was just fascinated by how far spread out people were but that they were still wanting to connect with their hometown," she said.
Wynne began plotting the locations on an interactive world map. It now has location markers in over 160 communities spanning the globe from Norway to Australia, to Belize and Nunavut.
Wynne said her New Year's post was inspired by the CBC North radio call-in shows she listened to when she was in Yellowknife. She lived in the territorial capital for 28 years before moving to Calgary in 2009.
"It would just be an hour of people calling in to say hello to people in other communities back before the internet," recalled Wynne.
Once the water from the Mackenzie River gets in your blood, you never get rid of it.- Shari Wynne
Today, the call-in show still takes place on CBC's Northwind every Friday and all day on Christmas and New Year's Eve.
Wynne no longer calls Yellowknife home, but she still feels a strong connection to the North.
"I just have so many great memories of my childhood there and the people that I met growing up and it's never left me," she said.
"They say once the water from the Mackenzie River gets in your blood, you never get rid of it."
Origin of YK Memories
The YK Memories group was originally started a decade ago by Rebecca Hendry. She was doing research on Yellowknife in the 1970s for her novel, One Good Thing, which was published in 2018.
While Hendry said she expected the group to just include a few people her parents had known when they lived in Yellowknife, it quickly grew. The group now has over 6,700 members.
"I just feel like it's sort of taken on a life of its own," she said.
While Hendry only lived in Yellowknife for a few years as a child, she too still feels strong connections to the city.
"I felt very strongly connected with it and I felt like I belonged there and I still feel that way," she said. "I just absolutely love it."
Wynne now helps to run the Facebook group. She said one of her favourite things about it is seeing old friends and classmates reconnect.
"It's just fantastic to see people who lost touch decades ago reconnect."
Offline, Wynne said she regularly gets together with childhood friends from Yellowknife and often meets other people who have lived or travelled to the North.
"You find Yellowknifers everywhere," she said, laughing. "When you talk with people from the North, there's just a different light in their eyes when they talk about it."
The YK Memories Facebook group is celebrating its 10-year anniversary on Jan. 5.