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No trees, no problem: building a playhouse in the High Arctic

Special surprise built for young Cambridge Bay resident

Children have many happy dreams – boys and girls love playing in treehouses and forts, unfortunately there are not trees in the North to build such things. However, one lucky little individual, Mary Lou Haniliak of Cambridge Bay, had her dream come true this past weekend.

Mary Lou enjoys her time outdoors and had been asking her parents increasingly over the past few years to build her a dollhouse or treehouse at their cabin.

Over time – and with the added prodding from another relative who spent time with Mary Lou at the cabin – her father Wiz Mohammed bought sufficient materials to build a playhouse. Due to the later-than-expected arrival of the materials combined with poor weather the project was delayed further.

While visiting a colleague, Valter Botehlo-Resndes, owner of Aliak Consulting Ltd., Wiz noticed a cabin that was currently under construction. "So I said to him in jest, perhaps when you are not busy you can build a treehouse/dollhouse for my little one.

"Not thinking anything of it, the next day when I saw him he already had a construction plan asking if it was good. Both my wife and I said, 'yes, of course'!"

Wiz and his wife made a few trips bringing construction materials to Botehlo-Resende's

Mary Lou Haniliak beams with happiness outside her newly-constructed playhouse in Cambridge Bay. photo courtesy of Wiz Mohammed

shop. "Next thing we saw, Mary Lou's treehouse was under construction."

On the day of delivery her parents made plans for her to be at the youth centre with a friend until after dark, giving the adults sufficient time for the structure to be transported and set on the platform that was built for it.

When Mary Lou was picked up she was given a flashlight, to her confusion, but it all made sense once she reached the back yard and shone the light on the finished project.

"She looked back at the both of us with one of the biggest smiles and asked if that was for her," Wiz said.

Mary Lou spent the evening playing with her cousin, moving toys, foamies, blankets and more into the "Barbietreehouse" as she now calls it, the fun carrying on over the weekend as friends flocked to the new playhouse.