Return of the ducks
On seeing good old Yk for the first time ... again

by Alison Blackduck
Northern News Services

NNSL (May 14/97) - "Duck" is a Yellowknife term for the flocks of students who flee south before the first snow and head back North for the last snowfalls of the spring.

First-time duck Krista Clark, 20, now sips cappuccino at Javaroma. She returned to Yellowknife last week after a two-year absence.

Clad in an orange summer dress and perfumed with the essence of choice for many a university student -- Body Shop sandalwood -- Clark is waiting expectantly for a 4 p.m. appointment at an engineering and architectural firm.

"They said they weren't sure if they needed anybody," says the University of Waterloo architecture student. "If they don't have anything then I'll go to Inuvik and waitress, I guess."

After graduating from St. Patrick high school in 1994, Clark lived in Fort Smith for a year and "just hung out."

Since 1994, she hasn't spent much time in Yellowknife and feels an odd mix of surprise and nostalgia at how the town has and hasn't changed.

"This wasn't here," Clark says gesturing to her surroundings and her now half-empty coffee mug, "It feels like I never left but there are little changes ... I feel sort of displaced."

Motioning her head towards the YK Centre, Clark says, "That's the ugliest colour of cladding I've ever seen."

Over at Henry's Photo in the Panda Mall, Yellowknife architecture is also a topic of brief discussion.

Jamie Donovan, 25, is once again working at the job he's had for the past three years.

Donovan returned May 1 after a year studying math and chemistry at Capilano College in Vancouver.

"One thing I've realized is Yellowknife architecture sucks."

Referring to the YK Centre's new color, he says, "I don't know what it's supposed to look like. Gold?"

Donovan is happy to be back working, though, because "it's nice to have money coming in instead of going, going, going," and "it's nice to see the sun after seven months of rain."

The ducks may have their thoughts on being back but their parents will probably have the last laugh.

When asked how she felt about the recent return of her two sons, Matt, 21, and Rob, 22, Josephine Simms said, "Oh God! Give me another week and I'll tell you."