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Spectacular Northwest Territories: Seeing Stars and Lucky Stars

Seeing the Aurora Borealis up in Canada’s Great North has always been a dream of mine. (And Hubby’s … but his also includes winter camping, whitewater canoeing, and a whole bunch of other adventurous deeds.) So when I received an invitation from MJW Communications to a kick-off event for the Spectacular Northwest Territories Days at Ottawa’s Winterlude in February, I immediately accepted. Normally, I go to these travel-writing/blogging events on my own, but since it involved the Northwest Territories, Hubby was definitely going to be my date.

It was a week-day evening thing, so it was all a touch hectic and Hubby and I ended up having to meet there, taking separate cars. As I pulled into the parking lot of the Chateau Laurier — the fanciest of fancy-pants hotels in Ottawa, where the event was being held — I heard a loud sound on the top of my vehicle. And then I was stuck. Yep, I’d forgotten that I had the storage box on top of my car with our cross-country skis and now my vehicle was too tall to enter into the underground parking lot. But I was already half-way in.

A sophisticated-looking woman with long blonde hair and a gorgeous full-length red coat happened to be walking by at the same time as I was causing this ruckus. Rather than disassociate herself from the dorky chick who was now stuck with the entry bar on the top of her car, she came right over and helped push the entry bar up. I thanked her and then proceeded to drive with my poor Thule storage container scraping along the ceiling of the parking lot until I could get myself to the nearest exit.

I sat in the parked car for a few minutes, taking a couple of calming breaths. Once ready, I put some lipstick on and headed into the hotel. Standing there just outside of the registration area was the woman in the red coat. “Oh, thank goodness you made it. I thought I was going to have to come out and look for you!”

She had been waiting for me! Her name was Carolyn. We became new best friends and headed into the event. (She runs a  successful event management company, by the way, in case you ever need a good organizer on your side.) We entered into an area that felt like you were entering an igloo, and around the edges were exhibits. Naturally, Carolyn and I were particularly enamored by the diamonds. Jeannine Pilon, who became Canada’s first certified female diamond polisher in 2005, was there all the way from Yellowknife to share her process with visitors. I’m a big supporter of Government Certified Canadian Diamonds and Jeannine has played a key role in promoting conflict-free diamonds.

Not only did we see the sparkle of diamonds, but we also saw stars. Juno Award winner and singer song writer Leela Gilday performed at this event. And Adam Beach, who is the star of the television show Arctic Air was our host. He is ridiculously attractive. I did the fangirl thing and asked if I could get a photograph with him. Yes, I touched Adam Beach!

For Hubby and I, our favourite part of the whole evening was the demonstration of the traditional arctic games. A group of about six youths were there to share these games with us and we were really taken in with the history, athleticism, and fun of it all.

Before leaving, we were invited to fill out a paper ballot to be entered into a draw of trip for two to Spectacular Northwest Territories. I dug a pen out of my purse and Hubby and I each filled out a ballot.

Well, my ballot must have been kissed by lucky stars because …. YES! It was a winning ballot!! Northwest Territories Tourism contacted me to let me know that I was the winner of a trip to be scheduled this summer. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???? In my next post, I will tell you all about the trip! 


  1. I am still sooooo jealous! Happy for you, of course, but in a greeny sort of way. 😉

  2. THAT IS AWESOME (I am talking about touching Adam Beach of course 😉 ). I mean, it is awesome that you won that trip! YAY!

  3. Jasmine Vesque says:

    Congratulations!! That is awesome. I’m sure you will have a spectacular adventure. :)

  4. says:

    Congratuations! How much fun will that be. And I hope you got your car out of the parking garage ok.

  5. Sarah McCormack says:

    wowzers!!! amazing! I am so happy for you guys! i know you will really enjoy & appreciate every minute! funny i just saw a commercial re. the Yukon as was telling DH i’d love to go there sometime! so so awesome!

  6. That is wonderful. i can’t wait to read about it.

  7. Life of K says:

    What?? Congratulations! That’s incredible!

  8. I am sorry but I LOL’d when I read the part about your experience in the parking garage because this is exactly the kind of thing that would happen to me. Did I tell you about the time I drove into the wrong parking garage in T.O? And then couldn’t find the way out? And THEN it turned out it was a private garage for a big downtown condo and I needed a code to leave. I had to wait until someone else was leaving and drove on their tail so the garage wouldn’t go down on my car!

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