More than 200 Canadians make up the all-male population of the world's most northerly settlement, the "Alert" weather station and research installations in Canada's Northwest Territories.
More than 200 Canadians make up the all-male population of the world's most northerly settlement, the "Alert" weather station and research installations in Canada's Northwest Territories. The site is so far north that even Eskimos refuse to live there, and Moscow is closer than Montreal.
Most of the men there are servicemen on six-month tours of duty, and nearly all despise the place. Although the weather is relatively pleasant at this time of year, winter brings 24-hour darkness, 100 mile-per-hour winds, and temperatures nearly 100 degrees below zero fahrenheit.
The first explorers arrived at this outpost in 1875, but there was no permanent settlement until the 1950's when Canada and the United States established a joint weather station. "Alert" is still a weather station, but most of the activities are of a military nature. The forces won't say what it is they are doing there, except general terms of research into Arctic communications.
SYNOPSIS: Near the top of the world, in Canada's Northwest territories, this time of year means twenty-four hours of daylight and relatively spring-like weather. Although the temperature still rarely rises above the freezing mark, the eternal sunlight is enough to bring out the flowers.
Although this site is too far north for Eskimos to settle, and little wildlife abounds, two-hundred Canadians do live and work here. The "Alert" weather station and research centre is the most northerly outpost in the world. The all-male population consists primarily of servicemen on six-month tours of duty. Most of them count the days until they get a new posting, as this is very nearly the ultimate in isolation.
There was no permanent settlement here until the 1950's, when Canada and the United States established a joint weather station. One of the early supply flights crashed, and the graves of the crew members now overlook the Arctic Ocean.
"Alert" is still a weather station observers keep a daily record of conditions in the upper atmosphere. But most of the activity is military now. The men here live and work in a small complex of buildings that make up the "Alert" installation. Although the men have good facilities, boredom is still a problem at this, the loneliest posting in the Canadian forces. There is not a woman for four-hundred miles.
Much of the work here is of a military nature, but officials are reluctant to talk about the operations. Except to say that they are conducting research into arctic communications, all of the military work is classified. Although it is summer at "Alert", it is not warm enough for much outdoor recreation. The men make the best of what they consider to be bad conditions.