Canada Winter Games Northern Torches

Commissioned by Touch The North Inc. for donation to the Canada Winter Games Host Society, 2006; donated by the Canada Winter Games Host Society to The Governments of Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut for permanent display, 2007; Yukon Torch permanently displayed at Canada Games Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon, 2007

Caribou antler, universally present in all three of Canada’s Territories, was chosen because of its unique handle-like shaft. The torch tops are fashioned from stainless steel and copper and hold a solid fuel source – a ‘cupcake’ of wax and woodchips that has a burn time of about 1/2 hour.

Each torch’s carving contains three elements: an animal significant to the respective Territory, the Canada Games Maple Leaf logo with an addition of three veins to represent the three territories who have joined together to host the Games, and an abstract angular or curved element containing 13 parts to signify the 13 Provinces and Territories that make up Canada:

•    Yukon Torch: Northern raven (Corvus corax), Yukon’s official bird, overlooking 13 mountain tops of the northern boreal forest

•    Northwest Territories Torch: Polar bear (Ursus maritimus), Northwest Territory’s symbol, clambering onto secure footing from an ice pan breaking up into 13 pieces

•    Nunavut Torch: Narwhal (Monodon monoceros), from Nunavut’s coat of arms, with tusk passing through the Canada Games Maple Leaf logo, swimming amongst 13 ocean waves.

The amazing thing for me about this project was following the torches, my creations, as they travelled 100,000 miles across northern Canada, via every conceivable means of transport in all conditions, enduring hardship and calamity, sharing in celebration and triumph, and touched, held or carried by thousands of Northern Canadians. I first read the book, Paddle to the Sea, as a youngster. How wonderful, I thought, to be the maker of that little canoe and to know that my creation was out there in the world, making its way to the sea! The Canada Games Torch Relay was my ‘Paddle to the Seaexperience.

Publications:  Globe and Mail, Yukon Arts Centre Blog; Up Here Magazine; Airforce: The Magazine of Canada’s Air Force Heritage; The Maple Leaf; Nunavut News; Inuvik Drum; The Yellowknifer; The Deh Cho Drum; The Northwest Territories News; Canada Winter Games Newsletter; TSN – Canadian Press Release; Yukon News; Whitehorse Star; Visions North; Windspeaker

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