It’s not easy recognizing the spring in the northern part of Canada since there are no flowers or green trees to announce it, but still, to those living there, the signs of a new season coming are pretty clear. The Canadian Arctic experiences spring somewhat differently than the south, but those living in communities such as Arviat, Nunavut, know when the new season arrives.
Arviat Community member Ruth Kaviok knows that the spring has come:
“The land around us is still full of ice and snow. But it feels like spring here because the geese have started to come back, the snow is melting in town, and the sun is out more.”
Kaviok is an amateur botanist, which is a rare occupation in the North. The flowers in the north won’t be blooming for a few more months, but when they do, over 800 species of vascular plants will sprout.
“My favourite flower is bog rosemary, a little pink flower that grows in clusters near the ground. The flowers up here are used for cultural purposes. We use them for medicine, for food. Anything we can use to maintain our traditional way of life — whereas a lot of flowers in the south are planted and are often there to be pretty.”
Besides flowers, animals are the heralds of spring too, as they are coming to the region with warmer temperatures.
“It’s our favourite time of the year because it starts to warm up and we can be outdoors and it’s our chance to go hunting and to go fishing. Hunting is really a perfect time for all of us during the spring. The warmer days bring migration routes that come here like the caribou herds. And people share their catches within the community which makes it such a wonderful time of the year.”