Peter Taktogon has been a housing maintainer in Kugluktuk for a remarkable 47 years and he’s not done yet.
Taktogon started the job in 1972, having taken his training in Fort Smith and Iqaluit.
He’s witnessed many advances in construction techniques, materials and tools over decades.
“They used to have only oil-burning space heaters in the units,” he said. “Then they renovated quite a few houses and started putting in furnaces and plumbing systems. In the past they used to use honey buckets and the water tanks used to be in the units, they had no plumbing in those days. That’s when I first started.”
He’s also grateful for cordless drills rather than having to torque screws by hand all the time.
A typical day for him involves maintaining and repairing furnaces and plumbing, he said. He doesn’t accrue as much overtime as in years past when there were more frequent power outages in Kugluktuk.
“It used to burn out a lot of controls,” he said of electrical shortages. “Now they’ve got the power plant running good and everything. It’s OK now.”
Taktogon grew up on the land near Contwoyto Lake – an area also known as Lupin – when he was young. He moved to Kugluktuk with his family and that’s when he learned of this occupation. He said he remains fond of it after all almost half a century.
“I still enjoy the work. It keeps me busy. I learn lots of new stuff from new technology,” he said. “The new technology has really changed everything.”
Taktogon, who has achieved journeyman status, was recognized in the legislative assembly in March for his long-term service.
He said he recommends trades to Nunavummiut who are seeking careers.
“I encourage lots of young people to get into apprentice programs and heavy equipment operators (training),” he said, adding that he knows of some youth who have been hired at the mines in Nunavut as a result of trades training.