Breakfast Program Visit in Arviat, Nunavut

3 mins read
Visite Agnico Eagle à Arviat, Nunavut

Arviat, nestled along the western shore of Hudson Bay, is the southernmost hamlet on mainland Nunavut. Accessible only by air, it is home to 2,864 people. The main language spoken is Inuktitut, an Inuit language. 


Recently, I had the privilege of travelling to Arviat. Upon arriving, I was immediately impressed by the vastness of the landscape. Despite visiting during a mild week in April, the ice hadn’t yet melted. All you could see looking outside the edges of town were vast expanses of flat white ice stretching to the horizon, punctuated only by cabins. Being in Arviat during caribou hunting season offered a glimpse into the local hunting culture, with signs of the hunt evident throughout town, from pelts hanging to dogs feasting on bones. I was lucky enough to try caribou while I was there. 

Arviat, Nunavut Arviat, Nunavut Arviat, Nunavut

The reason for my visit was to witness the transformative impact of the breakfast programs supported by Breakfast Club of Canada. A new partnership with Agnico Eagle has allowed us to better support schools in Arviat and to expand our reach to new schools in the Kivalliq and Kitikmeot regions of Nunavut. 


I was fortunate to visit all three schools in Arviat to meet the program coordinators and to address their needs in person, as well as learn more about the realities of programs in Nunavut. I also visited the Northern store, which has been collaborating with us on a free egg program for the three schools since 2019, through a partnership with Egg Farmers of Canada. 


At John Arnalukjuak High School, I had the opportunity to see their breakfast program in action. On the morning of my visit, students were greeted with friendly faces along with egg and cheese sandwiches, fruit cups and sliced apples. Breakfast is served from the canteen window, for students to take to the auditorium to eat before class. Teachers and staff sit with students while they eat breakfast, which provides them with an opportunity to mingle and get them excited for the day ahead. The school’s breakfast coordinator was able to expand their program when he applied for funding from Breakfast Club of Canada. They have been serving a hot breakfast every day since. 


Available to all students every school day, the programs at all three schools are all about sharing, taking care of each other and including everyone, which are values I learned are important in Arviat. One student shared that many of their peers don’t eat at home in the morning and that having breakfast at school helps them focus in class. All together, 607 students benefit from the breakfast programs every school day in the three schools of Arviat.   

Breakfast program - Arviat, Nunavut

It was great to see Inuit culture programming integrated into the breakfast programs at Qitiqliq Middle School and John Arnalukjuak High School. Both schools add caribou meat to their morning meal when available. The middle schoolers also get soup and bannock every morning, which I got to try, and it was delicious. 


At Levi Angmak Elementary School, the older students are involved in the program, washing their own dishes in their classroom sink. They take responsibility for cleaning up after themselves. 


My visit to Arviat’s schools shed light on the unique challenges faced by remote communities. Access to affordable food remains a pressing issue, with transportation costs driving up prices and impacting the availability of fresh produce. In times of poor weather, the stores can have challenges getting supplies, but schools can generally get what they need in terms of fresh food. 


With the support of our key partner, Agnico Eagle, we will continue to support the schools of Arviat and beyond. These breakfast programs stand as a testament to what can be achieved when we come together with a shared vision of empowering the next generation. 

Agnico Eagle in breakfast program, Breakfast program - Arviat, Nunavut

Alicia Diaz-Pappas 

Programs Coordinator, Breakfast Club of Canada 

BCC Employee in front of an Unukshuk