Dozens of Churchill, Man., residents cheered as a shipment of goods — including Christmas toys — arrived in town via 25-hour ice road journey.
A series of specialized treaded vehicles pulling sleighs called “cat trains” hauled the coveted deliveries along a 300-kilometre-long ice road starting Tuesday. They arrived at about 3 p.m. CT Friday after slugging along cautiously at about 10 kilometres an hour.
As a tiny chain of dots emerged on the tundra horizon, lifelong Churchill resident Katie de Meulles said people began honking their car horns in anticipation.
“It was so epic! I’ve never seen so many people hugging in my whole life, complete strangers,” said de Meulles. She, along with about 70 others holding signs and noisemakers, waited in freezing conditions that felt like –40 C with wind chill in order to greet the group.
“Then they unveiled this sled and produced bags of toys and the kids just flocked to them. It was so surreal, the sun’s just going down and it’s just beautiful.”
The community has been without its lone rail line since spring when rains and snow melt washed out large sections of it. Almost everything they’ve needed since has had to be flown in at a steep cost for locals in the remote community.
Crews with cargo and freight company Polar Industries, together with members of Fox Lake Cree Nation, spent long hours in recent weeks working on the ice road to the northern Manitoba community, which is about 1,000 kilometres north of Winnipeg, on the shore of Hudson Bay.
The group experienced a series of delays related to ice road conditions, along with troubles navigating sections of the tundra trails as they forged ahead….