Once the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway is complete, it will link Canada from coast to coast to coast, allowing citizens the ability to hypothetically drive from Newfoundland all the way to the Arctic Ocean. The project was launched by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in January of 2014, and is already being called an historic national project.
The highway is scheduled to be completed in 2017 — the 150th anniversary of Confederation — or 2018, after construction crews fell behind schedule during the first two building seasons. In 2017, the Bank of Canada will issue a new $100 bill marking the anniversary.
Tuktoyaktuk mayor Darrel Nasogaluak and former mayor Merven Gruben say honouring the project on Canadian currency would help heal old wounds between Inuit and the federal government, like the forced relocation of Inuit from Nunavik to the High Arctic during the 1950s.
"It's a very significant part of Inuit history," Gruben, one of the contractors on the project, said. "Our Inuit doing things instead of being told to do things in the past."
A two-dollar bill issued in 1974 commemorated the relocation, and the federal government later apologized.
Gruben and Nasogaluak both say the relationship between Inuit and Canada has come a long way since then.
"I'd be very proud," Nasogaluak says. "I think I would keep the very first one."