NWT Sunday briefing: Letters, weather and more

Last modified: November 14, 2021 at 10:51am

Welcome to our Sunday briefing, the home of letters you write to Cabin Radio, a weather outlook, and some notes on the week ahead.

A light mailbag this week. Don’t forget you can write to on any given issue (not that I’m complaining about occasional quiet weeks, believe me).

While I’m at it, thank you to Kimberley, who’s been doing a fine job of moderating The Deck, the Facebook group we helped set up where people can comment on the news now that we don’t have comments on news stories posted to our page. I think the system of keeping comments off the page but having a place for those conversations to happen is working relatively well so far. If you have feedback on that, let me know.


This week’s photo is from James O’Connor, showing the temporary shelter under construction where Yellowknife’s visitor centre once was. (Visitor centre or visitors’ centre? Discuss. I can never decide.)

Next, a welcome to Marty Solotki, who you may have heard filling in for Dez Loreen from 1pm till 3pm on weekdays recently. Marty is now airing from 10pm till midnight each weeknight, so we now have two Inuvik-based hosts on the air daily, which is fantastic.

By the way, if you read our news but don’t listen to the station – give us a go. Our full schedule has a wide range of shows, everything from classical music and jazz to shows that bring you the latest new music or celebrate classic rock. Here are a few I’d pick out for people who like our website:

Mornings at the Cabin: Our flagship morning show, live from 7am till 9am each weekday. Hosted by Jesse Wheeler and Scott Letkeman, with occasional appearances from me, other members of our team, and special guests. You get great big scoops of local NWT chat in between a wide variety of music and newscasts from either me or my colleague McKenna Hadley-Burke. If you like the idea of a morning show that plays a lot of music but still gives you regular news updates and takes on local issues with some humour, I think you’ll enjoy it. Can’t listen live? We podcast every show.

Lunchtime News: A lot of the interviews that eventually become our written journalism – and some that never make it to the website – appear in our Lunchtime News, a 15 to 20-minute newscast that begins at 12pm. Hosted either by me or McKenna. Again, it’s a podcast, too.


90s at 9: Lekter hosts an hour of pure 90s music every weekday from 9am. It is a ton of fun to listen to.

Home to the Cabin: Jay Bear is on the air from 3pm till 6pm each weekday. Bonus: listen to Out of the Bear Cave on Tuesdays at 6pm for an hour-long roundup of all the new music being released that week.

There are many more. Generally speaking, listen after 6pm for exposure to specialist shows that focus on specific genres. For example, Robin Wasicuna – who may of you will know as a chef in Yellowknife – will soon launch a show dedicated to cannabis culture, while Samantha Stuart hosts two hours of Cabin Country weekly (Tuesdays, 8pm) and we have stellar Sunday mornings (Cabin Classics from 9am till 10am, Cabin Jazz and Soul from 10am till noon, both curated by people who know their stuff inside out).

For the time being, we’re available to listen to online or via a free app – search your app store for Cabin Radio. And yes, I know the news section of that app is a bit finicky to navigate. Some day, when we have the money or skill, we’ll get that part upgraded.


Of course, you may remember we applied for an FM licence in August 2019. This week, the CRTC made its first public pronouncement on the matter since receiving that application. (If you’re wondering why you can’t find the phrase “Cabin Radio” on that page, we are formally 506992 N.W.T. Ltd – we were a numbered company before we decided on a name, way back when.)

Now is not really the time for me to comment on that in depth. I am, however, pleased to see the application begin to move and look forward to the remainder of the process. The path forward will become clearer by the end of January. Thank you for your patience, as ever.

We appreciate you reading and listening to our work. If you value it enough to contribute a small sum each month, we gratefully appreciate all donations made through Patreon. — Ollie

✉︎ Letters

When will the reopening come?

We reported the view of Chris Wood, general manager of Yellowknife’s movie theatre, that the business may struggle to remain open under its present pandemic-related restrictions.

From Alec Plainview:

I agree with Mr Wood’s assessment that we are back to square one with restrictions in town. As vaccination rates increase across the nation and in the territory, we are reopening at a rate that’s far too slow and independent businesses like the Capitol Theatre are suffering needlessly. Now that the vax pass is here, why is he still being forced to lose money as government subsidies wither? Perhaps there has been an oversight in the rules given to his establishment, but I would hate to see our only theatre shut down over this. People are leaving Yellowknife and slowly businesses are closing their doors, and it’s sad to see.

Take a stroll down the Black Knight or Woodyard or Canadian Tire – people are packed into these establishments and in the same personal distance they would be at in the theatre. Yet one is punished over the other. At some point we’ll just have to live with the virus, or the threat of it. Cities in the south, real bustling cities, are returning to normal. Are we going to wait until every single person, down to every infant, has been vaccinated across the NWT? Until we reach the impossible mark of 100-percent vaccination?

We can’t force every single person to get it and, if that’s their choice, they need to live with that choice. I’ve received my vaccine like thousands of others, so let’s actually start talking about reopening for good because people’s mental health is suffering under the constant looming threat of a lockdown.

Send your letters to We reserve the right to edit letters for length and clarity.

☼ Weather outlook

We’re now running a Yellowknife snow tracker on our homepage, showing the depth of snow each day compared to last year and the 30-year average. If you want to bookmark just the tracker itself, you can do that here. (You may have noticed we’re trying to roll out a little more work that relies on data. If there are data sets you think are worthy of reporting but we’ve overlooked them, let me know.)

Yellowknife: Sunday through to Tuesday looks dry with some sun. Temperatures around -10C during the day, which is about average for this time of year. Some snow later in the week.

Inuvik: Snow on Sunday, dry but cloudy on Monday, then intermittent snow for the rest of the week. Chillier from Thursday onward, when it won’t get above -20C.

Norman Wells: Similar to Inuvik, but fractionally colder (down to -25C at night later in the week) and with not much chance of any sun.

Hay River: Thursday is setting itself up to be a snowy day. Mostly dry before that, with daily highs of around -9C.

Fort Smith: Some snow around on Sunday and also on Thursday, though Thursday won’t be as snowy for Smith as it will be in Hay River. A bit warmer in Fort Smith, too, with Sunday up to -5C.

Fort Simpson: A sunny Sunday gives way to a cloudy week. Lots of snow from Wednesday onward, with temperatures dropping below -20C by Friday.

✐ Notes

If you want some live sport for your Sunday, Team NT’s Canadian mixed curling semi-final is at 9:30am on Curling Canada’s YouTube channel. The final, if the NWT gets that far, will also be live at 2pm. The NWT has never won the national mixed title.

On Tuesday, we’re recording a video interview with city manager Sheila Bassi-Kellett about the aquatic centre referendum. I have seen an extremely wide range of views on this. One of the things that seems to be a bit lost in the discussion is that even a “no” vote could still see the city spend more than $40 million to retrofit the old pool, so it’s not like voting no is the same as voting for not spending any money. You could well be voting for lots of money to still be spent, but on the old pool, not a new one. I have lots of questions. If you have any, send them over. The video will probably air on Wednesday.

And now that I’ve finished writing this, my Christmas decorations are going up. I love living in a part of the world where (even if it took its time this year) the snow and the landscape provide a natural backdrop that makes the holidays look great. It ain’t like this in small-town southwest England. If you end up doing your decorating as early as me, send over a photo and maybe we’ll use it to annoy some less-Christmassy people in next week’s briefing.