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AROUND NUNAVUT: A stamp, a fundraiser and the return of the sun

National parks feature prominently this week, with a stamp celebrating Quttinirpaaq National Park and a return of the sun celebration at Sirmilik National Park. Meanwhile, the Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre hopes to raise $1.5 million towards a wellness hub to be located in the capital.


photo courtesy Canada Post
Quttinirpaaq National Park, located on the northeastern tip of Ellesmere Island, is featured on a new Canadian stamp as part of the Canada Post series From Far and Wide.

Nunavut national park featured on new stamp

Ellesmere Island

While not everyone has Quttinirpaaq National Park on their bucket list of places to visit, a new Canada Post stamp brings the allure of the Ellesmere Island area to life dramatically.

"Canada Post has issued the second set of stamps in the multiyear From Far and Wide series –  its name inspired by a line in the lyrics of O Canada – that promises to take Canadians on an armchair journey to some of the most breathtaking and memorable must-see locations," stated Canada Post upon the release of the stamp in mid-January.

Quttinirpaaq, which means 'top of the world' in Inuktitut, is a vast expanse between the North Pole (approximately 800 km south) and the communities of Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord (more than 700 km north), located at the northernmost tip of Ellesmere Island.

The 2019 From Far and Wide series includes nine other Canadian locations.

"The challenge is to establish a design platform that can be repeated, but that can also evolve. In the From Far and Wide series, the evolution is the result of the images chosen for the background of the souvenir sheet and a strong and distinctive colour scheme that establishes the tone for the series," stated stamp designer Stephane Huot.

The stamp is available in booklets of 10 and coils of 100, while the US-rate, oversized-rate and international-rate denominations are available in booklets of six and coils of 50.

The stamp was issued the same day domestic rates for individual stamps increased by five cents, the first increase since 2014.


photo courtesy Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre
The Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre, based in Iqaluit, has launched an ambitious fundraiser to create the Inuusirvik Community Wellness Hub in the capital. The research centre seeks to raise $1.5 million.

Fundraiser for wellness centre


The Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre, based in Iqaluit, is taking health matters into its own hands by launching a fundraiser for an Inuusirvik Community Wellness Hub.

"We are looking to acquire funds to test an innovative, self-sustaining, holistic, community-driven model for programs and services with the intent that it can be replicated in other Northern communities and across the Arctic. This is a need identified by all our communities in Nunavut, and by other communities across the North," according to the GoFundMe page.

"The Inuusirvik Community Wellness Hub will be a space where all of these programs and services can be housed … A family-centred, evidence-based social enterprise model for providing wellness programming and services to the community."

The page states the effort comes from "a collective of Nunavummiut who work for and lead long-term community-led health and wellness organizations in Nunavut."

The Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre's executive and scientific director Gwen Healey could not be reached for comment.

The goal is to raise $1.5 million. By press time, $1,600 was raised by seven people.

"I donated to the Inuusirvik Community Wellness hub because Iqaluit, and all of Nunavut's communities, are in dire need of the programs and services that Qaujigiartiit would like to provide," stated Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Adam Arreak-Lightstone.


photo courtesy Shelly Elverum
More than 60 Pond Inlet community members came out for the iglu-building workshop hosted by Parks Canada in 2018 – with the plan being to host a contest this year in tandem with the return of the sun celebrations to be held Jan. 29 and Feb. 2.

The sun rises

Mittimatalik/Pond Inlet

The community of Pond Inlet will celebrate the return of the sun at Sirmilik National Park in fine style Jan. 29.

This is the third year Parks Canada is joining with the community to host the Return of the Sun Festival.

"People are invited to travel by snowmobile to Bylot Island near Inguaq mountain at 10 a.m., then gather around a fire with refreshments and wait for the sun to rise. On Saturday, Feb. 2, they will continue the celebrations in Pond Inlet through an igloo building contest with prizes," stated partnering, engagement and communications officer Teevi Mackay in an e-mail.

"In the evening they will continue the celebrations at the community hall with food, refreshments, a sun mascot, games, entertainment, activities, and a sun-themed pie-baking contest with more prizes to be won."

Mackay notes celebrating the sun's return is an Inuit tradition.