If you ever get a chance to start your own northern settlement (on Earth or elsewhere), here is a step-by-step guide to getting started:
1. Pick a place on a body of water (lake or river will do – must be capable of supporting barge-shipping methods).
2. Make sure there is enough flat area to put in a runway, since your only other access may be by air (The runway doesn’t have to be paved, that can come later.)
3. Order a hundred or so ATCO trailers, for delivery over the next 3 years.
4. Order paint and/or metal siding to make the ATCO trailers look less like ATCO trailers.
5. Pick a place name. It should start with “Fort” as in “Fort Something.” The “Something” should be named after someone (pick yourself!), an admirable trait (like “Resolution”), or an adventurous-sounding-word (“Providence”). Alternately, you can name your place “Something” River.
6. Pick an Inuit word that your place can be changed to when the government decides to rename your town in 50 years or so, just to confuse everyone. It should have at least 4 syllables and mostly vowels. The meaning of the word does not have to have anything to do with your town.
7. Establish a wildlife sanctuary near your community, to draw tourists and researchers. This could be for anything from buffalo to birds, marshes or mountains. Don’t worry if you plan to rape and pillage the Earth; there will still be plenty of room for that!
8. Discover diamonds, gold or oil (in that order) in your town. If you can’t discover any of the above, start rumours that you have them and that should have the same effect of drawing people to live there.
9. Make sure all the lakes and rivers (even small ones) in the immediate area of your town have clever names. Good choices are “Kelly,” “Blue/green/blackwater,” “Fish,” or “Big.” This will help people find their way around as they look for recreational things to do.
10. Convince Canada Post that you need a post office outlet. Once you have that, you are officially a town and can attract other things like banks, stores, restaurants, bars, and video rental places. You will also have to have an RCMP station.
As your community grows, you can look forward to the industries floating, barges diversifying, population thriving and wildlife booming. Don’t forget to chronicle the early days and keep lots of old stuff so that you can start a historical centre later on! Happy colonizing!