Toonik Tyme festival kicks off today in Iqaluit

1 / 2
Toonik Tyme festival kicks off today in Iqaluit

Iqaluit's 52nd annual spring festival, Toonik Tyme, kicks off Thursday afternoon with a family sliding party at Pearson hill.

The opening ceremonies, Thursday evening, feature the Jerry Cans and will announce the festival's honorary Toonik, who is responsible for presiding over the events.

The 2017 festival runs from April 13 to April 22.

This year's line-up includes ice carving, a ski loppet, a craft fair, and a cardboard-boat race held at the Aquatic Centre.

Iqaluit-Kimmirut race is ready, set...

Things are looking good for the popular Kimmirut snowmobile race, according to Travis Cooper, the festival's project coordinator.

"It's coming back once again," he confirmed. Last year's race was cancelled due to trail conditions on the Kimmirut side.

Cooper expects around 15 people to take part in the event on Saturday morning, and while racers make their trek — to Kimmirut and back — onlookers can stick around to watch five- to nine-year-olds race a track with their mini-Ski-Doos.

The Kimmirut race has a first prize of $18,000, second prize of $7,000, and a third prize of a Canadian North plane ticket and a 45-gallon fuel drum.

Part of the prize money was raised through a raffle of a fully-loaded qamutik, according to Gabriel Choquette, who is hosting this year's race.

"It's a very intense course, it's not easy on the driver, it's not easy on the sled," he said. "You have to be very skilled, have endurance and be healthy. A lot of it is mental too. You've just got to believe in yourself."

Racers can reach speeds up to 160 kilometres an hour, according to Choquette, reducing what is usually a day trip to around three hours.

For a full festival line-up see the Toonik Tyme schedule.