In the Arctic, which is home to Indigenous peoples of many cultures and languages, you can witness some of the most beautiful, natural scenery—impressive glaciers that stretch out for miles, towering mountains with snow-capped peaks, the Northern Lights. And the changing seasons bring a special kind of merriment.
The sun peeks out, lakes begin to thaw, and the hours of daylight seem endless. In several places in the Arctic Circle, the sun doesn’t set at all from April to August. For over 100 days, their days and nights are drenched in sunlight.
Under the glow of the midnight sun, people living in the Yukon, a territory in northwestern Canada, celebrate the round-the-clock sunshine with bike rides, floatplane tours and the Midnight Sun Golf Tournament.
In Inuvik, they gather together for the annual Midnight Sun Fun Run and in Yellowknife they congregate to watch different kinds of aircrafts participate in the Midnight Sun Fly In.
The midnight sun also makes community gardening fruitful, with greenhouses all over the Northwest Territories growing everything from leafy greens and tomatoes to rhubarb and apples.
“Everything grows at least twice as fast as it says on the back of the seed packet when the midnight sun is out,” says Adi who assists with managing day-to-day operations at the Inuvik Community Greenhouse. “We sell fruits and vegetables at our Open House and Farmers Market every Saturday and donate surplus food to food banks.”
During the summer, greenhouses like the Inuvik Community Greenhouse and the Peel River Garden Society in Aklavik bring community members together to plant and harvest hundreds of pounds of fresh produce that go towards feeding their communities and combating food insecurity in the Northwest Territories.
As the end of summer draws near, the sun starts to set just a few hours after it rises and those who call the Arctic home begin to prepare for fishing season, pond hockey, mushing races, and cold, dark days and cloudless nights.
The sun sets in December during winter solstice and stays below the horizon for up to two months, leaving residents in an extended period of darkness—the polar night. In some Arctic communities, daylight lasts for less than five hours in the winter. Because of this, the return of the midnight sun is cause for jubilation every year.
Learn more about the fascinating, changing Arctic through its many voices.
Our current feature exhibition, Arctic Voices presented by RBC, explores the northernmost biome, a region warming faster than any place on Earth. On until September 2021.