ITK plans $195-a-plate Taste of the Arctic event

This year’s version to raise funds for Avataq


Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami has put its stamp on Ottawa’s cultural calendar with the organization’s second annual Taste of the Arctic, to be held Feb. 1.

The high-profile fundraising event launched last January as a kick-off to the 2010 Year of the Inuit.

Now it hopes to find a permanent home in the capital city, serving up Arctic delicacies and home-grown talent.

“We want the city to see that we’re a people with a different way of life,” said ITK president, Mary Simon.

While the Inuit have embraced the modern world, they also continue to employ their own language and culture through food, entertainment and clothing, Simon said.

Everyone who attends the Feb. 1 event will get a sample of these— and take in performances by pop singer Elisapie Isaac, spoken word poet Taqralik Partridge and Igloolik’s Artcirq.

Nunavik Creations will send models showing the retailers their newest sealskin designs.

And Ottawa caterers Tulips and Maple will serve up a “strolling supper” of musk ox, seal, caribou and other Arctic goodies.

The event’s guest of honour in 2011 is former governor general Michaelle Jean. Simon plans to thank Jean for her involvement in the Arctic and helping to bring Inuit issues to light.

Comedian Rick Mercer is also to address the event’s guests through a recorded greeting.

This year, proceeds from the Taste of the Arctic’s $195 tickets will go to benefit Nunavik’s Avataq Cultural Institute and its Inuktituurniup Saturtaugasuarninga program (Save our Language.)

Each year, the event raises funds for a different non-for-profit Inuit organization.

It’s one way to highlight the work of smaller organizations, Simon said, while renewing people’s understanding of the North.

“This kind of event needs to happen in other parts of the country, too,” Simon said. “Seeing and hearing are the best ways of learning.”

The 2011 Taste of the Arctic is being held in Ottawa Feb. 1 at the National Gallery’s Great Hall. Tickets are available online at

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