Melanie MacIntyre's Stories
The New Home
After arriving in Yellowknife 14 months ago, Dr. Melanie MacIntyre is feeling right at home. Though northern stereotypes of igloo housing and polar bear pets can waylay even the most adventurous, Melanie refused to fall under the typecast spell.
"My husband and I researched all over for salaried positions - which are very unique in Canada. Yellowknife was one of the only places that offered it. Afterwards we began researching Yellowknife online. We checked out YouTube and Facebook and made sure to look at lots of pictures and talk to lots of people about it. So right away we dispelled all those myths," Melanie explains.
Melanie grew up in Nova Scotia but always felt drawn to the north. Though she never imagined she would settle down in the north, Melanie and her husband have just moved into their first Yellowknife home.
The house is located in a scenic area of town called Latham Island. This plot of land is in "Old Town" the area where the city of Yellowknife was founded. The land that was once covered in plywood shacks is now a hub for posh housing, multi-coloured houseboats and charming bistros. The land retains its authentic roots with spindly pine trees and preserved log buildings. Melanie is only minutes away from Pilot's Monument (which looks out over the city), the Wildcat Cafe, Bullocks Bistro, parks, a baseball field, and boat rentals. In the summer she'll see float planes and kayakers from her window and in winter the lights of passing snowmobilers will light the ice.
"It's like being at a cottage but it's our house. We realized that you can find whatever suits your needs here. You can live in the center of downtown, in a residential area, in Old Town, or out at Prelude. Whatever you're looking for, Yellowknife can accommodate you."
Melanie has even managed to recruit her brother and sister-in-law, who travelled up to the NWT capital in January - just in time for coldest of the winter chill. "I told them that Yellowknife is a young, vibrant community and there's always lots going on. It's the perfect place for artistic people, active people, and outdoorsy people. They really like it so far."
Is Melanie nervous for winter? Not at all, "Our new home has a fireplace!" she explains.
Though the temperature can plunge as far as -50 degrees Celsius in January and February, Dr. Melanie MacIntyre loves winters in Yellowknife. "It's a much more tolerable cold than the Maritimes - you can dress for it here because it's a dry cold," Melanie says.
Just last winter she crossed three things off her Northern To-Do List.
Mission number one was dog sledding. Braving the February cold, Melanie sat cozy in the sled while her husband stood, directing the seven dogs before them. "We didn't really direct them," Melanie explains, "They just knew where to go." The two-hour dog sledding tour led them to a log cabin where they were warmed up with hot chocolate and cookies before the ride home.
Next, Melanie tackled ice fishing on Prosperous Lake - just a 25 minute drive from downtown Yellowknife. Bundled in a down-filled parka and snow pants, rabbit mittens and a wool hat, Melanie joined some experienced friends on the lake, mid-March. She helped drill a hole through the ice and sat, waiting for the fish to bite.
"We waited for about two hours but it didn't seem very long," Melanie explains, "There were lots of people out there and we built a fire, roasted smokies and chatted."
Also on her list was watching the Aurora Borealis. The NWT is renowned as one of the best spots in the world to watch the aurora borealis (also known as northern lights) and tourists from around the world travel to the territory to gaze up at them. Though the spectacular light show is visible from town, Melanie had a much better view when she ventured outside of town towards the Ingrahm trail and Prelude.
"They were beautiful, awesome, enchanting, incredible, mesmerizing," Melanie says. "The first time we saw them was in December when we came up on a recruitment visit. Now we can see them every night from our upper balcony. We already have a plan to use -40c sleeping bags and our loungers this winter to lay there and watch the lights."
Though the first snowflake hasn't touched the ground yet, Melanie is already making winter plans. In the milder months Melanie hopes to snowshoe, ski, skidoo and watch the Aurora Borealis. She recently bought a sewing machine so when the crisp chill of January creeps in she can relax by her fireplace and quilt or spend time cooking or visiting with friends.