Canada puts remote Far North town in G7 spotlight

Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:41pm EST
 
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By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Delegates to next February's G7 finance minister meeting in the Canadian Far North should watch their spelling and remember they are not far from the Road to Nowhere.

The Group of Seven meeting, set for February 5-6, will take place in Iqaluit, the tiny capital of the giant Arctic territory of Nunavut, Canadian officials said on Wednesday.

It will mark the second time in six months the Canadian government has put the political spotlight on the community of about 7,000 people on Baffin Island along Frobisher Bay and a growing outpost on Canada's northern frontier.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper held a cabinet meeting in Iqaluit in August alongside a military exercise designed to reinforce Canada's claim on sovereignty to the Arctic -- a claim that the United States partially disputes.

The name Iqaluit means "place with many fish" in the native Inuktitut language. But some of those on the August tour discovered the hard way that English speakers often misspell the name as Iqualuit, with an extra "u" that changes the word's Inuktitut meaning to "people with unwiped bums."

Iqaluit road signs are written in both English and the geometric lettering of Inuktitut, and one street on the edge of town could draw attention from delegates wondering if the world's economy is headed into uncharted territory.

The Road to Nowhere, as it is officially known in English, leads off into treeless hills.

CLOSER TO GREENLAND   Continued...