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Iqaluit’s Santa Claus Parade

December 13, 2019

Have you wondered the holidays look like in the North? Some could joke that Iqaluit is so much close to the North Pole, Santa he must visit here often. Well, this week was the Santa Claus Parade, so you’d be right.

Come visit Iqaluit’s Santa Claus Parade and learn what the holidays are like in Canada’s winter capital. It’s starting to feel like the holidays so let’s get festive!


Christmas and Traditional Festivals

As you can imagine, Christmas has not always been around in the North. Before European sailors and missionaries arrived in the Arctic there were Inuit traditions for reigning in the new year.

Early sailors documented what they found in this new land and the traditions of the Inuit culture. They discovered a winter festival called, Quviasukvik.

This was a festival where the community comes together and the angakkuq, or shaman, would beseech the spirits on behalf of everyone for good luck in the coming year’s hunt and prosperity for the community. The following days host a number of activities such as a feast, an offering of a gift to their revered spirit of Sedna, a communal toasting where they announce their name and facts about their birth before passing the cup of water to the next person, and the practice of extinguishing a burning candle at each home and then the rekindling of the flame to mark the new year and a new sun.

As European sailors hosted Inuit on their ships during their own Christmas celebrations there was a merging of traditions as they took what they saw on the ships and adapted it into their own festivities. As missionaries came to the Arctic they were more incorporated into the communities and Christmas celebrations were more common events.

Today, not everyone in Iqaluit celebrates the Christmas traditions but one fun tradition in the city is their Santa Claus Parade that brings out friends, families, and some great floats.


The Santa Claus Parade

Iqaluit is a close-knit community and events like this really bring the whole city together. Who doesn’t love a parade?

At this time of year, you have to hold the parade earlier in the day to take advantage of the shorter days.

It’s a great event that friends and family can come out and show their holiday cheer. Some kids are dressed in costumes like these guys below dressed up as the presents they’re hoping to find under their tree.

Like all good parades, there’s a fire truck leading the way and some great floats too!

Inspired by their own snowy landscape you’ll find some floats that fit that theme like a sled pulled by a snowmobile instead of reindeer.

But don’t worry, Santa Claus still has Rudolph and his friends pulling his sled!

A common practice in Iqaluit is the representation of the three most commonly spoken languages. Even on stop signs you’ll find multiple languages. Here Santa’s float offers season greetings in English, Inuktitut syllabics, and French.

It’s so fun seeing how people decorate their floats. Little jokes and sneaky treats, like the Grinch holding onto the back of Santa’s float, make this parade so fun to be part of and watch.

As the parade makes it’s way through the city different clubs and groups match along. Iqaluit isn’t the biggest city, in fact, it is the lowest populated capital city in Canada. And that’s what makes it so fun, the city coming out together all know each other and are happy to march along spreading the holiday spirit.

Here the ski club walks past the murals that decorate the hospital.


Iqaluit: A Fantastic Place To Visit

With all the terrific restaurants, comfortable accommodations, welcoming people, and unique and exciting attractions, Iqaluit is an incredible place to visit and should be at the top of anyone’s travel destinations.

Canada’s winter capital is remarkable to experience at any time of year. With cultural highlights like the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum and historic stops like the Hudson’s Bay Company’s whaling station, it’s a great town to explore.

Curious about more festivals in Iqaluit? Learn more about Toonik Tyme, the spring festival that celebrates the longer days and better weather. There are exciting snowmobile races, traditional crafts workshops, and of course a community feast.

Learn more about Toonik Tyme here – Iqaluit’s Toonik Tyme Festival


One of the best ways to explore Iqaluit is a guided tour that takes you to local attractions but also provides the chance to experience traditional activities.

Our Taste Of The Arctic getaway brings you to the Northern capital during their summer when days are long and often warm enough for t-shirts. Visit cultural and historic attractions and try kayaking on the bay or hiking through the beautiful Sylvia Grinnell Park.

Details on the summer Iqaluit getaway here – Taste of the Arctic Getaway


We’re incredibly excited to introduce our new Northern Lights winter getaway to Iqaluit.

Enjoy this fully guided trip that will take you to great historic and cultural attractions and then at night our guide takes you to a secluded location just out of town the provides unspoiled Northern Lights viewing opportunities. We even provide a photography workshop on location to assist in capturing breathtaking photos of this bucket list phenomenon.

Details on the winter Northern Lights getaway here – Guided Northern Lights Getaway


Experience The Arctic On A Safari

Get chances to view elusive Arctic wildlife and experience the majesty of the Arctic on safaris almost year-round. View all Arctic Safaris here.

Ready for adventure? Contact our Arctic Travel Advisors to book.

Are you still curious about the many wonders of the Arctic or looking for more interesting content then explore more blogs here!

By: Mat Whitelaw