The view from Iqaluit: mostly white

February 5, 2010

iqaluitjpgWhen we told Reuters editors¬†we’d be adding plenty of color to the stories we’re putting together from a G7 finance meeting in the Canadian Arctic this weekend, there was a split second of bemused silence on the line. “I suppose that color is mostly white,” said one wag. And that just about sums up Iqaluit, which is clearly the remotest and most inaccessible place where the Group of Seven finance ministers and central bankers have ever met.

Iqaluit, for the geographically challenged, is a town of some 6,000 people about three hours flight from either Ottawa or Montreal. (Greenland might be closer but you would have to get to Greenland first.)¬† At this time of year, the snow is everywhere — gray-white on the roads, blue-white in the shadows and a sort of yellow-white when the watery sun hits it full on. The temperature is a balmy -15C today (0F), although there’s a wind that bites right through you, and it’s chilly enough that you really don’t want to take your gloves off for more than one picture before your fingers start to freeze.

“It’s cold,” was all Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa told reporters when he arrived at his hotel, wearing a thick winter coat and a fur-lined hat. “I’m sure everyone will be feeling very alert and sharp because of this beautiful and cold weather,” IMF official John Lipsky added.

Today’s picture, from Thomson Reuters technical guru Joe Lukach, is a very far-off shot of the adventure of the day — a dogsledding party led by Canada’s Finance Minister Jim Flaherty for some of his guests. We took this one from the press center. We’ll post some close-up shots when we get them.

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