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'A lot to be thankful for,' Rankin Inlet canteen operator says as first anniversary in business approaches

Almost a year in and things couldn't be going much better for small-business owner Chadd Burrill of Rankin Inlet who is, in fact, living the dream,

Burrill began living one of his dreams the day the hamlet approved his proposal to operate the state-of-the-art Slapshot Canteen at the new arena in Rankin Inlet in December of 2019.

Chadd Burrill stands by the original food menu at his Slapshot Canteen in the new Rankin Inlet arena earlier this year.
Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

He has a three-year contract with the Hamlet of Rankin Inlet to run the canteen, with a possible option for a fourth year.

Burrill, 33, who works in the airports division with the Government of Nunavut in Rankin, has been involved with the food industry since he started washing dishes at the Captain's Galley in the Siniktarvik Hotel when he was just 12 years of age.

Two years later, while working at a family member's restaurant in Rankin, he was standing on a bucket and cooking hamburgers.

The bucket was the only way he could reach the burgers at the back of the grill, laughed Burrill, who said he always had a spark inside for working in the food industry.

He said, over the years, it became a sort of hobby and then grew into much more.

“I've always enjoyed feeding people when they're hungry and giving them good, honest food for their money,” said Burrill.

“I'm self-taught in how I think food should be prepared and people seem to like my approach.

“I never dared to dream in a million years that I'd ever have an opportunity like this but it all happened in a kind of a spur-of-the-moment way and here I am.”

These days, the Slapshot Canteen is seen by many as offering some of the best bargain-priced meals in Rankin. Even Covid-19 had little effect on his operation, which he ran as take-out only during the height of the pandemic.

Burrill said he really didn't think he'd be selected when he submitted his proposal to run the arena canteen to the hamlet.

He said he was happy, surprised and shocked when told his proposal was accepted.

“The support I've received from the community and my suppliers in town has been unbelievable.

“Everybody just stepped-up to give me a helping hand when I needed it without a second's hesitation.

“I know people say it all the time, but it truly is a dream come true for me to be given the opportunity to run the Slapshot Canteen.

“I'm blessed and truly grateful. I don't have the words to describe how blessed I feel inside for all the community support I've received while doing this.”

Burrill said he couldn't be happier with the crew he has running the Slapshot Canteen.

He said it's like everything came together to complete the perfect puzzle during this time in his life.

“Things like this just don't happen for me too often in my life,” said Burrill with a chuckle.

“It's been a real roller-coaster ride of emotions, but I couldn't be happier for how it's all come together so perfectly for me to operate the Slapshot Canteen.

“I have a lot to be thankful for these days.”