Cabin Radio’s year in pictures: 2020 edition

A plane flies behind a tipi at Aurora Village in November 2020. With no foreign tourists, the NWT's industry faced an uncertain year and shed hundreds of jobs. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio

There may not be many reasons to remember 2020 fondly, but we promise our photographic review of the year isn’t all Covid-19.

Remember Ron MacLean at Hockey Day in Canada? While that may feel like it happened in 1990, it actually took place less than a year ago and it’s in here, alongside a host of other memories.

For each image, you can explore the related story in our photo captions, which contain links to our journalism on each subject.

Thanks to our staff and everyone who submitted images to Cabin Radio this year.



Arctic Response conducts a mission to retrieve crew members from the MV Lafferty ferry
Arctic Response conducts a mission to retrieve crew members from the MV Lafferty ferry, which became stuck in the ice at the end of the season outside Fort Simpson. Photo: Submitted
Sunrise over Yellowknife's Gold Range building in December 2020
Sunrise over Yellowknife’s Gold Range building in December. The Range, a city icon, remained closed for more than half a year after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Meaghan Brackenbury/Cabin Radio
Canoeists on the NWT's Tibbitt Lake in August 2020
Canoeists on the NWT’s Tibbitt Lake in August. Not every business struggled in 2020: retailers of outdoor equipment could barely keep stock on the shelves as demand for excitement at home shot upward. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
Not many people had a 2020 to remember for the right reasons. Lexi the dog did: the former Hay River shelter pup is now a movie star. Here she is on the set of Millionaire Matchmaker. Photo: Woodley family
Elders, leaders and staff of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation gathered at the Giant Mine site to renew their request for an apology and compensation from the federal government regarding the toxic former mine’s impact. Emily Blake/Cabin Radio
Yellowknife at -40C on a Wednesday morning in December 2020
Yellowknife spent days parked at -40C in mid-December. Photo: Shaun Moose Morris
A photo from the GNWT of progress on the Tłı̨chǫ All Season Road in August 2020. The road took significant steps toward completion this year. It’ll open up a new world of travel for Whatì residents, but the prospect of more visitors to the community raises concerns, too.
A red ribbon is tied to a tree in Somba K’e Park at a Tree of Honour ceremony remembering missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. There were concerns this year about delays to a federal action plan on the issue, while the NWT began devising a plan of its own. Meaghan Brackenbury/Cabin Radio
The Northern Lights over Yellowknife are seen from the Giant Mine boat dock on September 28, 2020
The Northern Lights over Yellowknife are seen from the Giant Mine boat dock on September 28, 2020. This is actually one of the quietest years for the sun – you can expect aurora to gradually get stronger over the next half a decade. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
Gwich’in firefighters travelled to California to help the state tackle wildfires of unprecedented strength. Dion Alexander, superintendent of the Fort Yukon fire crew, is seen in this submitted photo.
Health minister Julie Green addresses reporters at the legislature on September 8, 2020
Julie Green entered cabinet after the removal of Katrina Nokleby by a vote of 16 to one. Green became the territory’s health minister, taking on the role mid-pandemic. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
New barges arrive via transport ship
New double-hulled barges are seen arriving via transport ship in this GNWT photo. They’ll be critical to the NWT’s annual summer resupply missions.
Leela Gilday performs on the Frame Lake Trail in August 2020
Leela Gilday performs on the Frame Lake Trail in August 2020. It was a weird year for the performing arts, much of it spent without any live audiences (there’s still no live music in NWT bars, for example). Meaghan Brackenbury/Cabin Radio
The pandemic shut down municipal facilities across the NWT for months. Someone decided Yellowknife’s diving board needed this ‘Closed’ sign at the end of it. Just in case you didn’t spot the absence of water. Andrew Goodwin/Cabin Radio
Cabin Radio station dog Penny demonstrates her chalking skills on Yellowknife's School Draw Avenue. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
Cabin Radio station dog Penny, a diminutive Fort Smith rescue dog dubbed a “pocket retriever” by staff, agreed with this chalk message found on Yellowknife’s School Draw Avenue. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
Harry Rymer submitted this photo of lightning striking a building he identified as Hay River's old fish plant
Harry Rymer submitted this photo of lightning striking a building he identified as Hay River’s old fish plant. The early August storm injured some people at South Slave campsites.
Much of the NWT dealt with a year of staggeringly high water levels. Here’s just one example: a Back Bay boardwalk underwater. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
Cabin Radio sent 1,500 rubber ducks over the Cameron Falls for charity this summer, with the help of Canadian Tire. (Don’t worry, we got them all back.) You can watch the grand final, featuring the 10 remaining ducks, here. Andrew Goodwin/Cabin Radio
A burning car outside the Yellowknife Liquor Store parking lot. We reported on seven vehicle fires this year, which the fire marshal says is actually fairly normal. Photo: Submitted
Rochdi's name goes up on the uptown Independent grocery store on July 8. Michele Taylor/Cabin Radio
New owner Rochdi Mortada’s name appears on the side of Yellowknife’s uptown Independent grocery store in July. Michele Taylor/Cabin Radio
The AWP Industrial Park is seen from the air in June 2020
The AWP Industrial Park is seen from the air in June 2020. The park has evolved from a wood pellet mill to a sweeping vision of nine industries and a rail connection to the rest of Canada, all on the doorstep of Enterprise. Brad Mapes/Cobra Corporation
The Mackenzie Mountains in June, west of Norman Wells. NWT tour operators pivoted to offer staycations with no visitors allowed from elsewhere – and Cabin Radio took advantage. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
Territorial government FireBoss aircraft sit idle at Norman Wells’ airport. For the third year in a row, there were barely any wildfires of note. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
Fire crews on Yellowknife's 50A Avenue on June 14, 2020. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
The destruction of this Yellowknife home in a June fire saw residents raise tens of thousands of dollars to help its unfortunate owners. The family later wrote an open letter thanking Yellowknifers for their kindness. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
Bristol Freighter
Bristol Freighter CF-TFX sits mounted above the highway on the edge of Yellowknife in May. The city embarked on a project to repaint the aircraft this summer. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
A Hay River birthday parade
Covid-19 demanded ingenuity from NWT communities. Birthday vehicle parades, like this one in Hay River, became a feature of northern life for half a year. Photo: Submitted
Robin Mercer-Sproule
Robin Mercer-Sproule is pictured in April. Robin, who passed away in the summer, spent time with Cabin Radio in her final months and was remembered in a touching vehicle procession after her passing. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
Houseboats on Yellowknife Bay
Houseboats on Yellowknife Bay. The Yellowknives Dene First Nation began taking action this year to remove some houseboats within its territory (importantly, not any of the ones pictured here). Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
A public health officer in a mask talks to a driver at a checkstop in Yellowknife in April 2020
A public health officer in a mask talks to a driver at an April checkstop in Yellowknife. Public health officers, aka the Coco Popo, have since become a feature of daily life – in particular, helping to regulate the way people isolate and how they enter the territory during the pandemic. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
A bottle of hand sanitizer sits inside Yellowknife's downtown liquor store on April 16, 2020
A bottle of hand sanitizer sits inside Yellowknife’s downtown liquor store in April. Retailers across the territory had to adapt quickly as the territory all but shut down in the pandemic’s opening weeks. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
Adze Christensen, nine, watches instructor Phoenix Smith during a Zoom dance class
Adze Christensen, nine, watches Bella Dance Academy instructor Phoenix Smith during a Zoom dance class. The whole world learned how to use Zoom and its like this year, using video conferencing to cling to normality. Photo: Jocelyn Christensen
The York family – Veronica, left, Hannah, dog Cleo, and Stuart – pose in the window of their family home for Pat Kane's social-distancing photo project
York family members pose in the window of their Yellowknife home as part of a series of socially distanced portraits by photographer Pat Kane.
Pepper the cat, front, wears a spent face mask from an earlier surgery
Pepper the cat, front, models a spent face mask from an earlier surgery. The NWT SPCA donated hundreds of masks and other items of protective gear to Stanton Territorial Hospital. Photo: NWT SPCA
Cabin Radio’s Scott Letkeman at Hay River’s Polar Pond Hockey, one of the last large-scale events to take place before March’s Covid-19 shutdown. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
The NWT’s Logan Andrew competes in the international bracket at Australia’s Mulletfest in February. Photo: Rebekah Louise
Snowking's Winter Festival 2020
Snowking opens his castle on the last day of February. For the second year in a row, his was an ill-fated festival. Having been sunk by warm weather in 2019, the castle was closed by Covid-19 in 2020. James O’Connor/Cabin Radio
Ron MacLean is live during a Hockey Day in Canada broadcast from downtown Yellowknife. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
This feels like a lifetime ago, we know. Ron MacLean broadcasts live from Yellowknife during Hockey Day in Canada in February. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
The year began with upheaval at Aurora College, whose president was fired by the territorial government – which initially denied doing so. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio