The Arctic Almanacker reflects on life in the North West Territories





Richard Marlow is an Aussie currently volunteering for a year as an education monitor in the North West Territories of Canada, high above the Arctic Circle. He’s also an Almanacker!


I can’t believe that it’s the 20th of Feb (21st in Australia) as I write this email.


For the last two days it has been above -30 degrees for the first time since the first week in December and the snow is still coming down. (That’s -30 degrees)


Just wanted to say ‘thank you’ for all your support and friendship on the journey so far. Please keep emailing me – it keeps me connected and it’s like going to the mail box and getting a fresh letter.


The days are going a bit faster now – they are growing longer every day. Before I know it, the sun won’t be setting at all in May – a surreal experience to look forward before the end of my time here.


The learning curve, both personally and professionally, has been huge for me being in this remote community:


so many things I did not expect nor foresee in terms of the education system;

the indigenous issues of self-determination and government;

social issues for people, young and old within a remote context;

the problems of sustainability in terms of energy and food  supply;

how to live in a really cold climate;

the problems of distance and how to connect with others.


I have lived through an election that was interesting, to say the least, and now I’m seeing what happens when the first nations and the Canadian Government (as well as the provincial ones) are clashing over sovereignty in terms of building a pipeline across “Crown” land. There are rail blockades of Canada’s main rail line between Toronto and Montreal which are beginning to cause economic chaos.


For me, I have basically been in a different country that happens to be in Canada – most Canadians never get to come this far north. It is, literally, a different world. My faith journey has been challenged, I love my family more than ever and I will never take for granted fresh food and a freshly made cup of coffee.


Again, thank you for your support and I look forward to hearing what is happening in your world.





For more of Richard’s Almanac pieces, click here.


You can follow Richard’s blog at 



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About Richard Marlow

a humble middle-years teacher in a “middle of the road” private school in Brisbane having being a pastor, a youth worker, a school chaplain, a bank johnnie – 3 different banks, worked in Jails, driven a cab and been in bands amongst other things.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    I can’t imagine how cold -30c must be! Bit cold for a kick of the footy, or is it? I enjoy reading your posts Richard, keep them coming.

  2. Crazy cold!!

    I complained at yesterday’s 12 degree Melbourne morning, mainly because it is (only just) still Summer.

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