High Arctic Haulers

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The Sedna Desgagnes, and her fleet-mate, Taïga Desgagnés are followed during High Arctic Haulers.

High Arctic Haulers is a television series that follows the annual sealift that supplies the isolated communities in Canada's Arctic Archipelago.[1][2] The first episode of the seven episode first season was broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on January 5, 2020.

The series was produced by Great Pacific Media.[3][4][5]

In its review of the first episode Jim Bell of Nunatsiaq News called the episode's introductory minutes "cringeworthy", but praised how the rest of the episode, predicting Northerners would "fall in love" with its "rare inside look at one of the eastern Arctic’s most life-essential services".[6] His review noted the producers had applied a formula that worked well for other successful shows, like Ice Pilots NWT or Ice Road Truckers, or Great Pacific's own Heavy Rescue: 401 and Highway Through Hell - "Rugged teams of blue-collar heroes, mostly male, struggl[ing] against bad weather, bad luck and other hardships."

Almost none of Canada's Northern communities have any port facilities, a fact the series portrays dramatically as it shows the extra difficulties the ships face unloading cargo: (1) unloading and launching a tugboat and barge, they carry as deck cargo; (2) using the tug and barge to carry front end loaders to the community's beach, where they will then unload pallets of cargo from subsequent barge loads.[6]

Series creator Kelvin Redvers told Nunavut News that the show was a "documentary series", not a reality-TV show, distinguishing his series from Reality-TV because "It truly is documentary. We’re simply following the story, following the lives, and we’re not embellishing or we’re not putting our own perspectives on what’s happening to try to change the narrative.”[7] Redvers is from Hay River, NWT, sometimes called "The Hub of the North", where cargo from the south arrives, by rail, and is then loaded on barges for shipment down the Mackenzie River system, and then to sites in the Beaufort Sea and western Arctic. He described first pitching the show in 2014. Redvers said he had long been frustrated by film-makers from the South, whose films got key details all wrong. He said he was proud of portions of the show that profiled young people of First Nations background, playing a leadership role.

One of the items being shipped that episode one followed was school-teacher Vicki Tanuyak's shiny new red pickup truck.[8] Tanuyak described how there were no garages, or dealerships, in her hometown of Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut. She had saved for a replacement while her previous vehicle was failing on her, and purchased a new vehicle at a dealership, on a rare visit to the south. Her vehicle had to be shipped to Montreal by May to be delivered in July. Viewers saw how Tanuyak was able to monitor her truck's location online, while awaiting delivery.


  1. The sealift is a critical part of survival in remote Arctic communities, CBC News, 2019-11-20. Retrieved on 2020-01-07. “The Sedna is one of several cargo ships that race against time to reach isolated Arctic communities who rely on them for everything from diapers to construction machinery.”
  2. Greg David. Preview: Cut-off Canadian communities rely on High Arctic Haulers, TV-eh, 2010-01-03. Retrieved on 2020-01-07. “Filmed in Nunavut, High Arctic Haulers kicks off in the ice-choked Ungava Bay, where the Sedna Desgagnés is trapped. Surrounded by icebergs and growlers, Captain Michel Duplain and his first mate, Simon Charest, attempt to shake free of the ice.”
  3. Greg David. CBC announces new and returning programming slate for 2018-19 season, Tv-eh, 2018-05-24. “HIGH ARCTIC HAULERS (working title) (8×60, 2019 – Great Pacific Media, a Thunderbird Company), a look at Canada’s resilient, vibrant northern communities and the determined men and women who help provide their lifeline to the outside world.”
  4. Nicola Spender (2018-05-25). high-artic-haulers-eight-part-series-looks-at life-on-the-road - may-25-2018. The Valley Voice. “With no dock for the ships to tie up to, the precious cargo is pushed ashore by tug and barge – racing the falling light and tides.”
  5. High Arctic Haulers - CBC & Radio-Canada Media Solutions. CBC News.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Jim Bell. Review: Northerners will love CBC’s High Arctic Haulers, Nunatsiaq News, 2020-01-08. Retrieved on 2020-01-09. “Nunavut’s lands, seas and communities also function as stars of the show, revealed in stunning digital video, some of it shot from overhead drones. Future episodes will feature communities like Naujaat, Gjoa Haven, Kugluktuk, Pangnirtung and Hall Beach.”
  7. Paul Bickford. Nunavut sealift documentary series begins Sunday, Nunavut News, 2020-01-05. Retrieved on 2020-01-09. “'A lot of the stories that I directed for High Arctic Haulers, stories I researched and got on the show, are about Indigenous young people doing exciting things,' he said, noting one of his favourite stories is about a 13-year-old Inuit boy who’s revitalizing dog sledding in the community of Naujaat (formerly Repulse Bay).”
  8. Kristy Woudstra. The road to a new vehicle when you live in the Far North, CBC News, 2020-01-03. Retrieved on 2020-01-09. “To receive her vehicle in July, Tanuyak had to have it purchased and delivered to a port just south of Montreal by May to ensure it would be loaded onto one of the first ships.”