People from the south – that is, south of the 60th parallel that divides Canada’s northern territories from the provinces – generally can’t imagine how seriously cold it gets in the Arctic and subarctic in the dead of winter. Below -40 deg. Celcius and Farenheit, exposed skin freezes in minutes. Engine oil turns to the consistency of glue.
When it’s that cold, it is easier to walk than to try to start your vehicle. Warm hats, mitts, footwear and parkas to cut the bitter wind are essential.
Here is a photo of me in a two layer long coat that I ordered when in Arviat (formerly known as Eskimo Point) on the shore of Hudson Bay.
My custom coat was crafted by local Inuit women for everyday wear. The outer synthetic shell is windproof. Underneath, the blanket-like white coat material is decorated around the lower edge with a scene made from hand-sewn igloo and dog team appliqués. The white arctic fox fur trim on the hood protects one’s face from stinging snow whipped by the wind.
Read about my collection of beautiful yet practical handcrafted mitts and footwear in my 26 May 2013 post Wearable Art From Northern Canada at Romancing the Genres.
For more posts and photos about my experiences in the Great White North, click on the category Life up North to the left.