Festival season has kicked off in Nunavut and Iqalummiut were excited to take part in all sorts of public events for Toonik Tyme April 8 to 17.

One resident was just excited to have the chance to take part in public events once again following the end of the public health emergency in Nunavut.

“I’m seeing people act socially like this (for the first time) in two years,” said Iqaluit resident Steve Snowball.

Stephen Branston, who recently moved to Iqaluit, was taking part in the Inuit games on Immiqtarvimminiq Lake along the Road to Nowhere.

“This is a really fun game for me because I actually got to take part in a similar sort when I was living in a First Nations community down in Ontario,” he said.

Elders at the Elders Qammaq hold up gifts given to them by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation during bingo, one of several events at the Qammaq over the week. Photo courtesy of Robynn Pavia/Toonik Tyme

There were also a number of Elders events taking place at the Elders Qammaq near the Elders Home which recently reopened.

Throughout the week bingo, tea party and fashion events were held at the Qammaq, bringing the celebrations closer to Nunavut Elders.

The main focal point of Toonik Tyme however were the dog sled and ski-doo races taking place further out on the sea ice.

Left to right, Alex Kilabuk, Daniel Nuyalia, Josh Kilabuk and Rock Kakuktinniq sprint toward their snowmobiles at the the start of the race to Kimmirut. Photo courtesy of Robynn Pavia/Toonik Tyme

Two sisters, Maisy and Meeka MacDonald took part in the kids dog sled race.

“(It was fun) because even if you lose last place you still get a prize,” said Maisy, whose favourite dogs were Nuna and Echo – “they were the only girl dogs.” Meeka’s dogs were Carl and Kodiak.

Meeka, left, and Maisy MacDonald took part in the Kids Dog Race, with Meeka garnering the third place spot. Trevor Wright/NNSL photo

There were also 50 participants in the two kilometer ski-loppett, the winner of the loppett Tommy Tremblay won an Arctic Char as the top prize.

Natsiq Kango, the winner of the tea-making and palaugaq contest, holds a prize bag given to her by Canadian North, who sponsored the event. Photo courtesy of Robynn Pavia/Toonik Tyme

Race results are as follows:

Full Dog Team Race winners:

First Place: Paul and Alashua Crowley

Second Place: Torsten Diesel

Third Place: Sarah McNair-Landry and Comeron McDonald

Four Dog Race winners:

First Place: Leetia Esgeesiak

Second Place: Amber Aglukark

Third Place: Andrew Card

Kids Dog Race winners:

First Place: Martha Nooshoota

Second Place: Deedo Piugattuk

Third Place: Meeka MacDonald

Mike Nester, centre-left, the winner of the Toonik Tyme Kimmirut race shakes the hand of 123Go! president Pitseolak Alainga. Photo courtesy of Robynn Pavia/Toonik Tyme

Kimmirut Ski-doo Race winners:

First place: Mike Nester

Second Place: Alex Kilabuk

Third Place: Daniel Nuyalia

Fourth Place: Davidee Nowyook

Fifth Place: Joshua Kilabuk

Skijorring Race winners and their dogs:

First Place: Sarah McNair-Landry and Kodiak

Second Place: Paul Crowley and Gino

Third Place: Erik Boomer and Stubbie

Fourth Place Cameron McDonald and Kharu

Source: Toonik Tyme

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