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Remembering an entrepreneur
Alain Carriere, after a life in the North, died in early December in Thailand

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Saturday, December 10, 2011

As a father, Alain Carriere would organize treasure hunts for the neighbourhood children and build snow forts. As a businessman, he started and ran a number of companies.

NNSL photo/graphic

Alain Carriere, seen here chopping bamboo in Thailand in 2009, passed away in the south Asian country where he was then living, in early December. - photo courtesy of Sarah Carriere

Perhaps that's how many in Nunavut will remember Alain, who died in Thailand in early December at age 55.

Sarah Carriere, his eldest child, said her father was an active man who loved cross-country skiing and fishing. She added the most important thing she learned from him is to be honest with oneself and others.

"I remember him as a man who had very deep family values and deep societal values," she said. "He loved to spend time with us. Growing up, he would help us build treehouses."

Alain was born in Montreal on July 28, 1956 and raised in St. Clet, a small community in western Quebec near the Ontario border. Hearing tales of his uncle working in northern Quebec in the 1970s attracted Alain to the North in search of adventure. His journey started in Resolute, where he worked for the power corporation around 1976 and 1977 before transferring to Cape Dorset in 1978, where he lived until 1986. Alain would eventually start Carriere Entreprises and operate heavy machinery in the south Baffin community.

The family moved to St. Eustache in 1986 so Sarah and her brother Sheokjuk could attend school in French.

"If there is one thing people will definitely remember him by is his energy. He was a very smiley person and he was always willing to help anyone else," said Sarah.

Alain returned to the Arctic in the summer of 1993 and co-founded, with Steve Birrell, True North Properties Group in Iqaluit. Birrell said Alain will be remembered as a business leader who started a number of successful companies. His death was shocking and very upsetting for many, he added.

"He was a brilliant man; very intelligent and a real entrepreneur. I will remember him with affection and respect. We regret we've lost him," he said. "We've lost him not only from our lives but also from the Arctic and the benefit he brought to the Arctic by his hard work and his intelligence."

Six years later, Alain would co-found, with another individual, Nunatta Environmental Services in 1999, where he also worked until 2008.

All was not about business for Alain, however. He also got involved in politics as president of the Nunavut Liberal Association, where he met Ranbir Hundal in 2003.

"I can't have words for him now. It was a big shock for me to hear (of his passing). We will miss him," Hundal said. "He was a different guy. He always looked at the things in the broadest prospect."

Hundal worked as secretary under the presidency of Alain, whom he described as an active man who had a different perspective on life.

"He was a very good organizer for things. He would organize things on a very short notice. He had the vision what we were supposed to do," he said.

Even in retirement, Alain did not stay away from the business world, helping Monks farm in Thailand, where he was living since 2008, teaching English to children and adults and offering business workshops. He died in the south Asian country in early December.

Alain is survived by his wife Uma, his children Sarah and Sheokjuk, his four sisters and one brother as well as two grandchildren.

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