The House in Arctic Bay, Nunavut

Clare Kines turned fifty this year. Born in 1959, he was a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer for 24 years, and served in Manitoba, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and the North West Territories. In 1999 he transferred to Arctic Bay, Nunavut where he spent the last four years of his career.  Clare retired from the RCMP force six years ago, and then went to work full time building a bed and breakfast in this remote part of Canada.  His blog has grown right alongside his business.

Dan Rather at the house in the artic, kigavikThe House and Other Arctic Musings began as an online construction journal in May 2005. Back then it was simply a handy place to record memories and stories connected with the construction of Kiggavik.

The word ‘Kiggavik’ is the Inuktitut name for Gyrfalcon (a local species of bird), and Clare felt this was the most appropriate name for the business, possibly because the house, seen here, resembles a bird in flight.

Clare’s first wife Janice died of ovarian cancer in 1996; he writes, “her illness and death were by far the hardest things I’ve ever had to face in life. There isn’t a day that I don’t think about her.”

Clare met Leah after moving to Arctic Bay and he fell in love again. They have two children: Travis age seven and Hilary is three years old. Leah was born and raised in Arctic Bay and now Clare also says he, “…can’t see living anywhere else. Love is as good of a reason as any for living somewhere.”Clare Kines of Kiggavik B&B in Arctic Bay Nunavut

Clare adds , “I know that I am amongst the luckiest men in the world, because I’ve found great love not once, but twice in my life.” And readers can see these two do enjoy life together, and that’s a big part of the blog’s content and attraction.  The barren lands are secretly bountiful, and readers do get to explore that beautiful wilderness through Clare’s photography and travel stories.

Arctic Bay (also known as Ikpiarjuk), Nunavut is the northernmost community on Baffin Island, located in a land-locked bay and home to a small, predominantly Inuit population.

The Arts Scene in Arctic Bay

Wild Blueberries by Clare Kines, bloggerClare Kines blogs about the local arts and culture scene referencing Adrian Arnauyumayuq as the best carver in Arctic Bay right now, and showing us a carving by Jutanee Attagutaluk that was a gift from Leah.

“I’m one of the godfathers of Nunavut Blogging.”

Kines has been actively promoting blogging in Nunavut for many years and hosts the annual “Nunies” blogging awards. He has compiled a Nunavut blogroll featuring gems like Way Way Up which has been active since spring 2006. Nunavut Newbie is a female blogger in the area, and Townie Bastard and Northern Sights are two more great arctic blogs. There’s some blog talent up there; Clare’s Nunavut blogroll is everything Canada Blog Friends represents.

picking wild blueberries in Arctic Bay Nunavut Clare Kines was inspired to start his Typepad blog after reading and being affected by another portal called Bootstrap Analysis and its author, Nuthatch.

“That spring the Ivory-billed Woodpeckers potential re-discovery had just hit the news, and I came upon a well written post on bootstrap analysis. It was really my first exposure to blogging.” Clare writes, “At the time we were in the midst of building the house and pouring the concrete into insulated concrete forms to speed construction time and cut labour and material costs. We bought and installed insulated metal panels for the north side of the house and all around the base of the building. My project manager and I had said over and over that we really had to write some of these stories down.  So with the inspiration of Nuthatch and the stories from constructing a house in the high arctic I started. Nuthatch and I have ended up close friends, I think of her as my blogmom.”

Clare Kines of Kiggavik, Arctic Bay, Nunavut

Other than keeping some stories alive I don’t think I had any real goals at the beginning, truth be told I probably still don’t.  I’ve found that I enjoy blogging, the sense of community that has grown about me. When I’ve tried to leave blogging, because of commitments that required more attention I found that I really missed it.  The other thing that I’ve found is that I’ve grown to think of myself as a writer.  Although lately the blog has had more of a photo bent to it, it is first and foremost about writing. Something I’ve come to enjoy.

Clare Kines blogger at Kiggavik in Arctic Bay NunavutI find myself doing things, a hike for instance, and writing a post in my head while I’m doing it. It does make a good outlet for the photography.

At Last is a post about the arrival of Clare’s new born daughter

Photocopy Boy is a post reflecting on the death of a friend

Ghosts of Christmas Past more the memory of a Christmas in Ecuador

Flat roof is a little more recent.

Kines stirred up a fuss in Oct 2007 when he wrote about feral cats near bird sanctuaries and the failure of TNR programs (Trap Neuter Release) to control what he calls an ‘invasive species’.   It was in conjunction with posts that other bloggers had written calling for birders to boycott Cape May NJ because of their support for a TNR program.  It certainly aroused the most passion in the comments.

Clare’s post on the high cost of northern airfare also attracted comments and trackbacks.

A blog at the edge of the world,

A few people have found us through the blog, including clients from Scotland, France and Spain. The vast majority of our customers are government and business people traveling here. Most of them have found us through our reputation.

I rarely blog about clients, except in the most general terms. At times when I have I’ve always checked with them first. Probably our biggest celebrity to stay here was Dan Rather. Who is a very nice, very interesting man.  We talked mostly about wanting to go to space.  But most of our clients, are interesting people.  Part of the joy of this job is that there are so many interesting people that stay here, and many fascinating stories to hear. Check out this Toronto bed and breakfast left floating on the lake shore.

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  1. Teena in Toronto on September 7, 2009 at 2:03 am

    I’m off to check it out!

  2. Clare on September 7, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks for the profile. Looks great.

  3. Rob on September 7, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    I’m glad you like it Clare. The House might just be one of the best profiles on here now; you’re most definitely Canadian.

  4. Margy on September 19, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    Today I discovered two very interesting blogs, first was Clare’s blog “The House” and then I followed it here to “Canada Blog Friends.” Clare, your blog really lets me get a feel for life in the Arctic. I’ll be doing lots of reading to get caught up. Rob, your blog highlighting Canadian blogs is a treasure. I’m sure it will lead me to other Canadian bloggers to follow on a regular basis. – Margy

  5. Dominic on November 6, 2009 at 1:02 am

    This website is awesome i think canadian history is the best.

  6. Elisabeth and George Gelb on October 27, 2010 at 1:17 am

    Clare…George and Elisabeth from Yellowknife…want to visit in near future. contact at
    Tel: 867-766-3666

  7. Janet Lenover on August 4, 2011 at 12:23 am

    I had the pleasure of working with Clare in Rose Valley, SK and got to know him and Janice very well as a result. I know that anything Clare does, he does WELL and with much research. He was known as the ‘Coyote’ in Rose Valley because of his RCMP investigative skills 🙂
    I trust that you and Leah and family are doing well Clare. I did some relief work in Repulse Bay 3 years ago…..absolutely loved it and know why you have settled in Kiggavik, Arctic Bay.
    Wishing you continued health and happiness in the Arctic!

  8. cape may breakfast on August 14, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    cape may breakfast…

    cape may breakfast What’s the weirdest drink you’ve ever had? I think my Lemonade has mint in it, with The House in Arctic Bay, Nunavut at Canada Blog Friends page and Bed and Breakfast Cape May NJ…

  9. steve on July 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    hi clare me and my family are from nova scotia i have a large family and i’m thinking about moving them up north would you recommended it?
    thank you..

  10. Robert Rode on April 28, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Hi Clare-I am very impressed with your website and Arctic Bay.During the 90/s I travelled for Arctic co-ops and made several trips to Arctic Bay.On one trip I purchased a carving from a Simon Quirmarik.It was a very large Narwhal.SInce then I have been attempting to find out more about Simon.To this end I contacted the Hamlet and the Administrater emailed me saying he would meet with community members to find out more and contact Simon’s sister-Sandra.He has not replied after one year and I am wondering if you would have any information in this regard or could you advise how I could obtain Simon’s history if available.Regards.