Gordon Robertson Education Centre (GREC) opened in 1971 as a junior and senior high school and vocational school. In addition to local students from Iqaluit, its enrolment included students from other communities who were housed in Ukkivik Hall, which opened along with GREC and closed in 1996. In the early 1990s, the school was renamed Inuksuk High School.
Alexander Halley Low was born March 29,1892 in Kensington, London, England, the son of Alexander Graham Low and Annie Halley. He received a Master of Arts degree from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and studied geology at the Royal School of Mines, London. He served in World War I, mostly in Ireland.
Around 1914, Alexander went on an oil prospecting trip in the Northwest Territories with Dr. T. O. Bosworth. Following the War, he returned to the Northwest Territories as an oil prospector in the Great Slave Slake region for the Imperial Oil Company. While there, he was approached by Bishop James R. Lucas to teach at the St. Peter's Mission (Residential) School in Hay River ca. 1918-19. In the early 1920s he continued oil exploration in the Fort Norman (now Tulita) area of the Northwest Territories with Mackenzie River Oil Ltd.
Alexander also did some oil prospecting in Peru and was a member of the Royal Geographical Society. He married Dorothy Lindesay Gregory in 1933 and had two children, Jean Mary Lindesay Low and Alexander John Stewart Low. Alexander Halley Low died July 2, 1974 in Ferring, Sussex, England.
Claire Barnabe was born on November 13, 1940 in Eastview (now Vanier), Ontario. She attended Our Lady of the Presentation in Overbrook for elementary school and Eastview High School in Vanier for secondary school. Claire was a member of the religious order of Holy Cross for four years. She attended Ottawa Teachers' College and obtained a permanent Ontario Teachers' Certificate. She taught at an elementary school in Alexandria, Ontario, Iona Academy in St. Raphael’s West, Ontario, for the Catholic School Board in Montreal, and for the Separate School Board in Ottawa before moving north.
In 1965, she accepted a teaching position at Fort Franklin (now Deline), where she worked until 1967. During her time in Deline, she was also Secretary of the Community Club. In 1968, after spending a year in the south and touring Europe, Claire returned to the north to work as a teacher in Fort Providence. She was also President of the Community Club there and Chairman of the NWT Centennial Planning Committee for Fort Providence.
In 1969, she left her teaching position in Fort Providence and moved to Norman Wells where she worked at the Mackenzie Mountain Lodge. She moved back to Fort Providence later that year to work for Alex Arychuk, also in the hotel business. In the 1970 Territorial election, she ran as a candidate for the Lower Mackenzie riding. Following her defeat in the election, she applied to work as a Settlement Manager.
In May 1971, she accepted the position of settlement manager in Port Burwell on Killinek Island, where she remained until May 1973. After a very brief time as Settlement Manager at Large for the Baffin Region, she became the Settlement Manager at Repulse Bay (now Naujaat, Nunavut). Also in 1973, she was appointed to be a member of the NWT Historical Advisory Board. In 1974, Claire returned to Norman Wells as Settlement Manager there. She ran in the 1975 Territorial election and the 1976 by-election for the riding of Mackenzie Great Bear, but was defeated both times.
She took leave from the GNWT in 1976 to work on a Master’s degree in Public Administration at Carleton University, Ottawa. In 1978, she joined Bud Drury’s office as a policy analyst. She ran again in the 1979 Territorial election for the riding of Yellowknife Centre and was again defeated. Claire remained in the north for many more years, before retiring to the south.
John Turquand (Turq) McCollum was born May 12, 1923, in Toronto, Ontario. In 1953, he married Joan (nee Watson), and they had four children: Peter, Jenny, Kathy, and Maggie.
From 1954-1963, the McCollums lived in Fort Smith, where John was an Anglican minister of the Diocese of the Arctic. In 1963, the family moved to Beaverlodge, Alberta, where they lived until 1970. In 1970, the McCollums returned to the north and lived in Hay River. In 1975, John McCollum became Archdeacon of the Diocese of the Arctic. The McCollums continued to live in Hay River until their retirement to Calgary, Alberta, in 1988.
John McCollum died June 14, 2020, in Calgary, Alberta. He was buried with his wife Joan in Hay River.
Samuel Hearne Secondary School (SHSS) began operating in 1966 and was officially opened two years later by Minister Jean Chretien. Prior to 1966, Inuvik students from all grades attended Sir Alexander Mackenzie School, which continued operating as an elementary school after SHSS opened. The school was originally administered by the federal government; it was transferred to the Government of the Northwest Territories in 1969, and then to the Beaufort-Delta Divisional Education Council, which was established in 1989 to administer regional schools.
The original high school building included two science rooms, a library, industrial arts and home economics facilities and a gym. A 10 classroom addition was completed in 1972, and several trade shops were added in the early 1980s to meet the needs of a vocational certificate program, including an auto shop in 1982, carpentry shop in 1983, and general mechanics shop in 1984.
In addition to residents of the town of Inuvik, the student body at SHSS also included residential school students brought from communities across the Beaufort Delta region and the Arctic to stay at the two major Federal hostels, Stringer Hall (which closed in 1975) and Grollier Hall (which closed in 1996). After the closure of the hostels, students from some small communities continued to attend SHSS for the upper high school grades while boarding in private homes in the town.
SHSS closed in 2012 when it was replaced by the new East Three Secondary School, and the building was demolished in June 2013.
Galena Heights Elementary School opened in 1977, originally housing pupils from kindergarten to grade two. Galena Heights Elementary School was expanded in 1980 to host students up to grade five after a fire destroyed the other school in the town; the rebuilt Matonabbee School opened in 1981 for the senior grades. Both schools closed in June 1988 with the closure of the mine and community of Pine Point.
The Sachs Harbour School was constructed in the summer of 1968, first opening in fall 1968 to students in grades 1-6 and originally operated by the federal government. Prior to the school being built, children were sent to Shingle Point, Aklavik, then Inuvik for schooling, and after its construction, older students continued to go to Inuvik for later grades. This school was transferred to the GNWT when it assumed responsibility for education in 1969, and was replaced by Inualthuyuk School which opened in 1973.
The provision of western education in Fort Providence began at the Providence Mission School in 1867, sometimes known as “Our Lady of Fort Providence Residential School” but more consistently known as the “Sacred Heart Mission School” or “Sacred Heart Residential School” (“École du Sacré-Coeur” in French). The school was operated by the Grey Nuns and initially was meant to provide a boarding and day school for Hudson Bay Company employee children. It soon focussed on orphaned and needy children and is known as the first residential school in Canada’s north, although other sites of shorter duration possibly predate Sacred Heart.
Sacred Heart Residential School took in both day pupils and residential boarders. It was chronically under supported, and the Grey Nuns threatened to close or possibly did close it in 1881/82, and reopened with Federal Government funding later in the 1880s. The original log structure was expanded in 1912, and a new three story school built in 1930. An extension was added to this in 1948.
Students came from communities throughout the north, and even as far south as Fort McMurray and Fond-du-Lac. In later years children came from primarily the Deh Cho region; home communities included Fort Providence, Fort Simpson, Fort Liard, Wrigley, Norman Wells, Tulita, Ptarmigan Point, Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Trout Rock and Hay River, and sometimes others. It is unclear when the residential school closed, as historical sources give dates ranging from 1953 to 1960, but the Federal Elizabeth Ward Elementary School opened in 1958 and Sacred Heart Residence likely closed in 1959.
The provision of western education in Inuvik began immediately during the community’s construction, with a temporary Federal school in 1956. Several of the attending children came from Aklavik, from where community government officials were strongly encouraging families to relocate. In 1959 a large new regional school opened, officially named Sir Alexander Mackenzie School (SAMS) in 1961. This school housed all grades until Samuel Hearne Secondary School was built in 1966. By that time SAMS had 38 classrooms and capacity for 890 students from grades 1 to 12.
In 1969 all educational facilities in Inuvik were transferred to the Government of the Northwest Territories, who assumed responsibilities for education from the federal government. The Beaufort-Delta Divisional Education Council was established in 1989 to administer regional schools.
In addition to residents of the town of Inuvik, the student body at SAMS for much of its history also included residential school students brought from communities across the Beaufort Delta region and the Arctic to stay at the two major Federal hostels, Stringer Hall (which closed in 1975) and Grollier Hall (which closed in 1996).
SAMS continued to operate as an elementary school until 2012, when it was replaced by the new East Three Elementary School. The SAMS building was demolished in May 2014.
The Norman Wells Federal Day School opened in 1960, and was transferred to the territorial government when it assumed responsibility for education in 1969. The school was originally a one room school located on the river bank, and classes were relocated several times, operating out of portable classrooms through most of the 1970s. It was replaced by the Mackenzie Mountain School, which opened in 1983.
The Fort Norman Federal Day School, also known as the Colin Campbell School, was constructed in 1949 or 1950 in the community now known as Tulita. It initially had two classrooms, with a third added in 1968/69. In 1969 the facility was taken over by the territorial government. Although the school ‘s enrolment consisted of children whose families lived in the community, for a brief period in 1971 there was a small hostel associated with it, to provide a temporary residence for children whose parents were out on the land. The school was replaced by the Chief Albert Wright School, which opened in 1980.
The provision of western education in Nahanni Butte began when evangelist missionaries Mr and Mrs Philip Howard began instructing children in early 1957, without the approval of the Federal government. Summer (tent) school was provided in 1957 and 1958.
A one-room school building was completed around 1959, but the opening of an official Federal Day School was delayed until 1961 due to staffing and housing issues. This school was transferred to the GNWT when it assumed responsibility for education in 1969 and was eventually given the name Charles Yohin School. The school building has been replaced twice, in 1978 and 1985, with both new buildings being constructed by the people of the community.
Gordon Beattie Pritchard was born in Galt, Ontario on March 17, 1909. In 1935, he graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Architecture and then served with the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. He joined the Building Construction Division of the Department of Public Works in Ottawa in 1948. He was appointed the first chief of the federal Northern Construction Division, Department of Public Works, in 1956. In this capacity, he toured widely throughout the north supervising the construction of federal projects. One of his major responsibilities was to oversee the construction of Inuvik, which was completed in 1961. He wrote a number of articles on building projects he had been involved with, particularly those in Inuvik. He died in Ottawa on November 1, 1964.
The Department of Administration was established in October of 1971 with the amalgamation of the Department of Treasury (excepting the functions concerning estimates and forecasts) with the general administrative functions of the Department of the Territorial Secretary and the administrative functions of the Department of Personnel. The Department of Administration provided support services to other government departments, managed the Consolidated Revenue Fund, collected all Territorial revenues and performed related treasury activities.
For most of its existence the Department consisted of four divisions:
- The Systems and Computer Services division provided data processing services and development of computer systems.
- The Supply Services division, initially known as Materiel Management, handled purchasing, warehousing and inventory, transportation including sealift and aircraft charters, and management of the supply of petroleum products.
- The Personnel Services division, initially known as Personnel Administration, carried on the functions which were transferred from the Department of Personnel, including staffing, pay and benefits, staff training, and administration of staff housing.
- The Finance and Office Services division was formed in 1972 by merging the Administrative Services division, which originated in the Department of the Territorial Secretary, with the Financial Operations division, which came from the Department of Treasury. This division provided accounting and other financial services, records management, and communications services.
A reorganization of the government in 1975 resulted in the responsibilities of the Department of Administration being divided between several other departments, primarily the Department of Personnel and the Department of Finance.
Timothy (Tim) Garrish was born on January 4, 1950, in Oliver, British Columbia (BC). His parents were Arthur Ross Garrish (1915-1996) and Elizabeth Nancy Garrish (nee Grimsditch, 1921-1984). Garrish grew up on an orchard in Oliver, on land that his father had first purchased in 1934. As a child, he spent time doing farm work on the orchard. From age 16 onwards, he worked in fruit packinghouses and sawmills. Garrish graduated from Southern Okanagan Secondary School in Oliver in 1968, then attended the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Simon Fraser University (SFU). During his summer breaks while in university, Garrish held jobs in mining exploration in northern BC.
At age 22, Garrish earned his Commercial Pilot’s License. His first job in aviation was flying for Superior Airways/Severn Enterprises Ltd in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, starting in May 1972. Garrish then moved to Fort Simpson in September 1973 to fly for Arctic Air Ltd. In 1974, Garrish returned to Langley, BC, to earn his Flight Instructor Rating, followed by a stint as a flight instructor on weekends while back at university between January 1975 and December 1976. Garrish graduated from SFU with a Bachelor of General Studies (Economics and Geography) in December 1976.
In 1977, Garrish began doing seasonal (summer) fire suppression work. He started in 1977 working for Wolverine Air Ltd (WAL) in Fort Simpson. Garrish then spent more than four decades doing fire suppression work in the summers, including working for Avalon Aviation (1978-1980) and Conair (1983-2022).
In 1978, Garrish flew for Wolverine Air Ltd (WAL) once again. Flying for WAL in the winters became a constant in his life. In 1988, Garrish became part owner of WAL with Les Dvorak, who had started the firm in 1972. Garrish and Dvorak were co-owners of Wolverine Air until 1993, when they sold the operation to Chris Yarrow. He lived in Fort Simpson until 1995, at which point he relocated first to Canmore, Alberta then back to his home base in Oliver, BC. Garrish’s duties at Wolverine Air included both Chief Pilot and Operations Manager at various times. He continued to work for WAL as a relief Operations Manager/Pilot in Fort Simpson during winters as required until 2010.
In 1981-1982 and 1987-1988, Garrish worked with Pacific Western Airlines (PWA) flying the L-100 Hercules and the Boeing 737. He was based in Edmonton and flew for PWA’s high Arctic operations.
In 1988, Garrish became the Managing Director of Airports North Ltd in Fort Simpson. Airports North Ltd became responsible for the management and operation of the Fort Simpson Island Airport in 1988 and operated it on a ‘user pay’ model. It was one of only a few airports in Canada to be financially self-sustaining, operating without any form of government assistance.
From 1994-2010, Garrish also worked as an aviation consultant with Hemlock Aviation Services.
Tim Garrish continued to fly fire suppression in the summers for Conair until 2022 when he retired after 39 years with them. In total Garrish did 51 years of accident-free commercial flying during his career, including 44 seasons doing aerial fire suppression (16 in Yellowknife). He lives in Oliver, BC, and is currently writing his memoirs of his flying adventures.
Sven Borje Johansson was born in Saffle Sweden on August 29,1924. He served in the neutral Swedish army in WWII. After the war he moved to Lappland in northern Sweden, spending 12 years working with Laplanders managing reindeer herds. During that time he married and had a daughter.
In 1962, he immigrated with his family to Canada and worked from 1963 to 1968 as the manager of the Reindeer Station, for the Canadian Reindeer Project. His wife and daughter returned to Sweden and they divorced. In December 1967 he remarried to Norma Buchanan. They built a cabin named Arctic Mountain House to serve as a big game hunting lodge, and Johansson earned a pilot's license. Between 1967 and 1972, he spent summers chartering out his boat "North Star" for work in the Beaufort area and winters trapping near Arctic Red River. He also worked for the Geological Survey of Canada to study the Polar Continental Shelf.
In 1973 the family sailed from Inuvik bound for Vancouver. A year later, delayed by weather they arrived. In 1982 Johansson outfitted the cutter Belvedere for John Bockstoce for northern expeditions. In 1988 after several attempts Sven captained the Belvedere as the first private yacht to complete the Northwest Passage from west to east.
Sven Johansson was also an accomplished choreographer and theatrical inventor. He incorporated the Discovery Dance Society in Victoria in 1989 and won several awards nationally and internationally. Sven Johansson was invested as a member of the Order of Canada in 1994 and the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002. He died in Victoria on October 17, 2019.
The Northwest Territories Options for Women group was formed in 1976. It was a group established to offer support and address issues pertaining to women such as single parenting, childcare and health care.