Visit to the Arctic To Announce The New Northern Communications policy

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Jacques Van Pelt's house

see note on Jacques Van Pelt

at bottom of page


John Gilbert at the hot springs

near Whitehorse


Group photo with Minister

Gérard Pelletier

Jean-Jacques Chagnon

Quebec Regional Director


Excerpts from John Gilbert's Journal

Saturday, 22 March 1975

Flight Yellowknife to Fort Smith – ate birthday cake enroute.


At Fort Smith we were met by Paul Kaeser, the mayor. He gave Mr. Pelletier a rough time for having the DOC headquarters in Yellowknife rather than Fort Smith. Spent an hour or so at the new Fort Smith museum. Reception and dinner at the Anglican Church Hall. Stories of “no-see-ums” or sand flies. After dinner we went to the home of Frank Vanderzande. Spent a pleasant evening with the Vanderzandes, John Shoefield and Len and Yvonne Hooper. – all DOC Fort Smith. Got to bed at 0130.

Sunday, 23 March 1975

Joe Lundrigan picked up Dan Rainboth and myself and gave us a tour of Fort Smith. Then to Len Hooper’s house for an excellent brunch. Ham and eggs. Apparently they get very few ministers visiting Fort Smith since the capital of the NWT moved to Yellowknife.

We left by plane at noon. Kaeser came to see us off at the airport. Took 1 ½ hours to Winnipeg where we dropped off Max Melnyk. Everyone in fine spirits.


Our Group (see first photo above)

L-R: Patrick MacDonald, Max Melnyk, Lucille Matteau, Gordon Fairweather, Mayor Kaeser, Gerard Pelletier, Mme Pelletier, Dan Rainboth (Photo by John Gilbert)

I took the photos and only have two of myself in that trip. One at the hot springs near Whitehorse. northwest (see last photo above).


J J Chagnon, RD Quebec, was with us for the first part of the trip (East and North). (see second photo above)


Note on Jacques Van Pelt (see third photo above):


Jacques van Pelt is a colourful character in Fort Smith.  Jacques who will be 84 years old in 2017 has lived in the NWT for over 55 years, and in that time, he's had several careers -- teacher, local government organizer and eco-touring guide and outfitter.


In Fort Smith -- where he has lived since 1961 in an octagon house in the side of Axehandle Hill -- he is famed for his work to preserve the pelicans of the Slave River, resulting in the affectionate nickname Jacques van Pelican.


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