Yellowknifer Eric McNair-Landry lives in an unusual home.
It was designed by architect Gino Pin and locally, it's known as the "eraser house."
In the 1970s, Pin convinced the city to sell him a lot on a cliff, upon which he built a multi-story house. The steps to the first floor are at a sharp angle and the stairwell has a switchback.
So when McNair-Landry considered the prospect of getting his grandfather's upright piano — a family heirloom — to the third floor, he carefully weighed the options.
"One would be to lose all my friends trying to get them to take it up the stairwell here," he said.
"A crane wouldn't work, and even with boom extenders, it wouldn't have been possible to lift the piano."
The 'only way up'
That's when he had to make an unconventional choice.
He and his family rented a helicopter which cost them around $2,000, the rough price per hour of renting the aircraft.
On Thursday, a pilot from Great Slave Helicopters delivered the heirloom.
"This was kind of the only way up," he said.
The pilot was right on target, landing his cargo metres from the house.
Workers in hard hats guided the helicopter onto a small landing platform — the family's back deck. The piano was packaged up in a wooden crate, which McNair-Landry's friends disassembled before lifting the piano onto the top floor.
Watch the piano get airlifted to the family's cliff-side home in Yellowknife:
McNair-Landry and his family watched from the rocks behind their house as the downwash shook the trees. His young child looked upon the scene in awe.
He says the family is still waiting for the final bill, but the landing went off without a hitch.
Not its first move
The piano is well travelled. It was moved from New Hampshire, U.S.A., to New Brunswick to Yellowknife.
Asked why he went to such great lengths to move it, McNair-Landry said, "this has got a lot of family history and it's hard to replace that."
His grandfather would have purchased it from Steinway and Sons in Boston, he says.
McNair-Landry says he hopes the piano will stay where it is and that they won't have to move it ever again.