Abbreviation aggravation
Nunavut seizes NT abbreviation, leaving west to ponder short form


by Richard Gleeson and Glen Korstrom
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 20/98) - Canada Post is doing its part to reinforce the popular Northern belief that the south cares little and knows less about what goes on up here.

One of the minor firsts, one that will likely be drowned out next year by the hoopla of division, is that Nunavut and the Western Arctic will likely become the only territories or provinces to share a provincial mailing abbreviation.

At least, that seems to be what Canada Post has in mind.

"The only way to abbreviate Nunavut Territory is NT, so we're not looking to change it, there's no need," explained Keith Millar in post office sales and retailing.

"We've always had people in Nunavut who make sure the post offices are working well and we'll continue with that, of course."

Always is a long time, Keith.

The Western Arctic will keep the NT abbreviation too, said Martin, "unless it changes its name and then we would have to revisit that."

But let's back up a bit here. Two entirely different places, with different names, at least as distinct as any other two provinces in Canada, have to settle for the same postal abbreviation?


But because the West has yet to decide what to call itself and Nunavut has, Nunavut intercepts, pre-empts and just plain beats the west to the punch for the NT tag.

Surely we can find another, and why wait for Canada Post to think it up. Let's be pro-active.

Maybe coming to a consensus on an abbreviation would make arriving at a name a little easier.

The obvious alternative would be NWT, but why be obvious, right?

Not as obvious as you might think. Tina Cowan of Norman Wells suggested it, but as an abbreviation for the New Western Territory.

"That's what some people are calling it up here," said Cowan.

One man, waiting for an ice report in Tsiigetchic suggested NW -- "We're in the Northwest, aren't we," he explained, though he did not wish to give his name.

Over in Rae-Edzo, Henry Zoe thought up an even better variation -- WA, for Western Arctic, but added.

"That's just off the top of my head," added Zoe, executive director of the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council.

Don't sweat it, Henry, Canada Post has had six years and hasn't come up with anything yet.

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