This year, we challenge you to forego our typical reliance on online shopping and instead, do some or all of your holiday shopping in Iqaluit. Within our town are a number of local businesses that will surely suit your gift-giving needs -- if you know where to look. So, to help you with your search, we've rounded up a list of the very best options for shopping in Iqaluit. Be sure to check out our handy map at the bottom for exact locations. And if you need a little help deciding what to buy, take a look at our Holiday Gift Guide; it's full of Northern treasures!
The Nunatta Museum is one of our favourite places to shop. Not only are the handicrafts diverse, but the mark-up is minimal, meaning that artists receive a fair wage and you receive a fair price. The Nunatta Museum offers a wide selection of made-in-Nunavut items, like Pang hats, carvings, jewelry, stone-cut prints, and CDs. If you're stuck for Christmas ideas, a 2015 Cape Dorset wall calendar will be a surefire hit for anyone on your list.
Rannva Design offers some truly stunning clothing made of high quality fur. Rannva Simonsen began designing fur fashions in 1999 – the same year Nunavut became its own territory. You can check out some of her fabulous designs at her boutique-like store located in Apex. Rannva Design is open from 4pm-6pm each day, or by appointment.
Aayuraa Studio (1017 Iglulik)
The Aayuraa Studio is home to some of Iqaluit's most prestigious jewellers, including Mathew Nuqingaq, Dan Wade, and others. Now don't let that plain exterior fool you! Inside, there is magic in the form of silver and bone and baleen. Just knock during the daytime; there's a good chance somebody will be creating something beautiful for you to buy.
If it's variety you're looking for, Carvings Nunavut is the place to go. The prices are steeper than Nunatta Museum, but if you want to pick the perfect screeching owl from many screeching owls, or the perfect dancing bear from many dancing bears, then head here. Carvings Nunavut is conveniently located downtown, near the post office and in the same building as I Like Cake.
Located bit further from downtown (but seriously, it's still only five minutes away), you'll find Northern Collectables. This place is quite literally packed with all sorts of local handicrafts. If you'd like to check it out, be sure to stop by this weekend for its annual Christmas sale and get up to 35% off.
Saimavik Studio (754 Ben Ell)
Saimavik Studio is best known for its yoga and dance classes; however, it also boasts some seriously awesome yogi gear, including tank tops, yoga mats, and our personal favourite, handmade sealskin mat straps. And for anyone on your list looking to stretch their mind and boody, you can also purchase Saimavik gift certificates online or in-store.
If you're heading south for the holidays (and don't have a lengthy connecting flight to make...), consider giving someone some country food from Iqaluit Enterprises. This local business has been operating for many years, and offers smoked Arctic char, frozen turbot, and whatever else hunters may bring to the counter. Northern airlines are pretty used to wrapping up frozen animals, so don't worry about freight. Seriously: our checked luggage has consisted of whole frozen fish wrapped in garbage bags and packing tape.
Nuschool may have a new location, but it still offers the same awesome products, including tee shirts, baseball shirts, baseball hats, toques, and more. If you can't manage to swing by, have no fear: they also have an online store.
The Market Place (a.k.a. Arctic Ventures/Arctic Co-op) offers the best northern book selection in town. There are all sorts of options that are perfect for a bookshelf or coffee table, including kids picture books, autobiographies, historical fiction, and more.
Iqaluit's Christmas craft sale is definitely your most efficient one-stop-shop for all things arctic. Not only does it include local artisans, seamstresses, photographers, carvers, and bakers, but local businesses such as Nunatta Museum, Aayuraa Studio, Rannva, and Nuschool also make appearances. Be sure to arrive early and employ patience – it's a popular event.
We are sure there are other great options for shopping in Iqaluit. Where is your favourite place to shop locally?