The first-ever Nunavut Carnival Launch Party,

 The people of Iqaluit should call it Arctic Mas after a weekend of Caribbean carnival costumes and live music in the city of snow (and more snow). And there are plans in the works for an Easter weekend redux!

Earlier this month, costume maker and carnival leader Thea Jackson(above) borrowed an oversized Canada Goose coat and caught a plane with Calypso singer Edwin Yearwood(pictured below) and DJ DOC (Doc Wright) to the frozen north. They were headed for Iqaluit, the capital city of the Canadian territory of Nunavut.
“It took us two days to get there from the Ottawa Airport,” said Jackson. “Flights were canceled, and those that flew left late.”

photo from Facebook
“It was blizzard conditions with winds up to 80 km,” she continued. “When we finally landed, it was like arriving in the Caribbean, but only in reverse. Instead of instant heat, it was instant frozen nostrils as we exited by the back ramp.”
It was also weather shock for Yearwood. It was 30 degrees in Barbados when he flew to Canada and minus 37 when they stood in the whirling snow of Iqaluit.
The three were there to present the first-ever Nunavut Carnival Launch Party, Calypso by Yearwood, wall-to-wall soca and reggae by the DJ, and costumes by Jackson.
“We were days late. I had to literally head from the airport to the hotel and start setting up in their large banquet hall,” explained Jackson. “Before heading north, I made 50 tiaras and rounded up enough rags for everyone who came out!”
The March 2nd launch party was a huge success, attracting hundreds for the free fete. “It was split equally amongst Inuit, Caribbean, and White people. There are actually a lot of Caribbeans and Africans living and working in the city; they even have a Caribbean association. As well there is a Nunavut Black History Society who brought us way up north."

The free launch had the support of the island of Barbados, which brought Edwin Yearwood up to the Arctic to perform. He said that while he had performed in Iceland before, it wasn’t as cold or windy as Nunavut.
For Jackson, this was the second try to make it above the Arctic Circle. A 2023 visit complete with a costume-making workshop was canceled. This time, not even a blizzard could keep her away.
“We are actually going back Easter weekend. I will be bringing two large costumes and holding a costume-building workshop and grand finale.”
The trio had a quick turnaround after the show ended but had time to tour Iqaluit, which sits on vast Baffin Island in Frobisher Bay. Over 8,000 people live there, 50 of them probably still wearing Caribbean tiaras.


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