Finding True North Holiday Gift Guide


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Living in Iqaluit shapes my gift-buying in two ways: 1) Logistically, there are very few stores; and 2) Thematically, my family and friends desire “presents from the north” that they can’t get anywhere else. We are now less than two weeks away from Christmas, and I have yet to fulfill more than 20% of my shopping list. Thus, for myself and any other last-minute shoppers, I have crafted this handy gift guide featuring regional specialties. Organized by interest or activity, the guide also includes information on where to purchase each item, including physical locations (if available) in Iqaluit.

Who: The Art Lover What: 2014 Cape Dorset Inuit Art Calendar

The 2014 Cape Dorset Inuit Art Calendar is a tribute to the late Kenojuak Ashevak, a talented artist who passed away on January 8, 2013. Ashevak was a pioneer of Inuit art and her work is treasured by people worldwide, including Finding True North’s own Sara Statham.

Where to buy: The calendar is available at the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in Iqaluit.

Who: The Outdoor Enthusiast What: Pang Hat

“Pang hats” refer to a hand-crocheted hat that is valued for its warmth and beautiful design. Worn by people across the north, they are most commonly associated with the Nunavut hamlet of Pangnirtung. They come in a variety of colours and can be customized.

Where to buy: Pang-style hats are available at the museum gift shop, but for the real deal order from Pang's Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts and Crafts.

Who: The Bookworm What: Saqiyuq: Stories from the Lives of Three Inuit Women

From the book: “A grandmother, daughter, and granddaughter take us on a remarkable journey in which the cycles of life - childhood, adolescence, marriage, birthing and child rearing - are presented against the contrasting experiences of three successive generations”.

Where to buy: Arctic Ventures or online from Amazon.

Who: The Hipster What: NuSchool Tshirt

Located in Iqaluit, Nuschool Design Agency specializes in many forms of graphic design, from web development to street art (they are responsible for the glorious murals painted all over Iqaluit) to clothing. Their most recent design features their distinctive owl logo on a geometric background. And they are limited edition. Hipsters will swoon.

Where to buy: At NuSchool’s retail location in Iqaluit or via their online store.

Who: The Fashionista What: Fox fur earmuffs from Rannva

Elegant and fabulous, these designer earmuffs from Rannva are also practical: thick fox fur will keep your ears toasty and your hairdo in order.

Where to buy: Visit Rannva’s shop in Apex .

Who: The Youngin’ (or the Young-at-Heart) What: Ava and the Little Folk

Published by the Iqaluit-based firm Inhabit MediaAva and the Little Folk is a wintery tale about a young boy and magical dwarves. The northern-themed story  is illustrated by Jonathan Wright and has been nominated for a Silver Birch Express award.

Where to buyOnline via Amazon or at Arctic Ventures.

Who: The Foodie What: Dried Caribou (Nikku)

Nikku is the Inuktitut word for dried caribou (caribou jerky). Salty and satisfying, this would also be a great gift for the Outdoor Enthusiast as it is the perfect snack for your survival pack.

Where to buy: Iqaluit Enterprises or Kivalliq Arctic Foods.

Who: The Entertainer What: Ulu

An ulu is a traditional Inuit knife used to cut meat. You wouldn’t want to serve frozen caribou or maaktaq without one, but it’s also great for cutting pizza or cheese with northern flair.

Where to buy: The Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum has a selection of ulu.

Who: The Musician What: Nunavuttitut by the Jerry Cans

The Jerry Cans are an Iqaluit band that plays their own blend of fiddle-and-accordion, foot-stompin’, throat-singing blues-country-swing. Nunavuttitut is their first CD, and it features original songs about life in Nunavut, like “Mamaqtuq”, a tune about the deliciousness of seal meat. A mix of Inuktitut and English, the Jerry Cans’ lyrics are not only clever but award-winning: songwriter Nancy Mike (pictured below, second from the right) received a Canadian Folk Music Award for Best Aboriginal Songwriter at the 2013 ceremony!

Where to buy: Digital copies are available on iTunes or the Jerry Cans website, or you can visit the band’s Facebook page to request a physical copy.

What are you go-to items for northern-themed gift? Leave a comment or send us a tweet! And stay tuned for more holiday-themed posts, featuring Iqaluit's Christmas lights and the Annual Christmas Craft Sale.