North. It's a defining characteristic of Canada and a place that many Canadians identify with, but few have visited.

When people imagine the North, they often think of its natural features: its tundra, its snow, its vast expanse, its rocks and hills and springtime wildflowers, its midnight light and spellbinding aurora. While the North is all that, it is also more.  

It is a place where culture thrives. In all three territories – Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon – creativity and cultural expression are not only celebrated, they hold a central place in everyday life. Storytelling, sculpture, music, traditional games, drumming and dancing are as intrinsic to our northern identities as is our landscape.

Perhaps it is our isolation, perhaps it’s the rhythm of the seasons or the influence of the light. Whatever the inspiration, we are so pleased to offer to you a taste of our culture in all its multiplicity and magic.

From the North brings together musicians, visual artists, media artists, storytellers, dancers and Dene and Inuit athletes from the territories on a tour of the northern capital cities – Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit – followed by stops in Ottawa, Montréal and Vancouver. 

The show is made up of three distinct components: an evening gala performance, an afternoon fest and a touring visual arts exhibit.

The Performance

Showcasing performers from all three territories, our evening show weaves together stories, music and dance from some of the North’s most talented artists: IVA, Quantum Tangle, NÀHGĄ Sophie Villeneuve, Borealis Soul, and the Dakhká Khwáan Dancers and DASH.

Featuring throat singing, hip hop dancing, electronica-infused traditional drumming, dancing, and singing and storytelling in French, English and Inuktitut, we will share the stories of the North, how we see the world and who we are as Northerners.

The Fest

Take a cultural journey north of 60 with our interactive family-friendly fest that will be offered free to the public in each city we visit. During these three-hour sessions, artists, athletes, and performers from all three territories will share their skills and offer visitors the chance to watch, learn, and experience.

Northern sculptors will demonstrate how they transform wood, stone, and metals into works of art. Multimedia artists will create new works on site with public input. Inuit and Dene athletes will demonstrate northern sports and games, such as the One-Foot Kick, the Arm Pull, the Stick Twist, and the Knuckle Hop, and give visitors the opportunity to try too.

Musicians and storytellers will share stories and songs of the northern landscape and its people. Everyone is welcome.

The Exhibit

Our touring visual art exhibit, entitled Northern Light will aim to share northern light in its different forms with the rest of Canada, as well as showcasing the diversity of northern art. 

Six northern artists (two from each territory) will be featured in this touring exhibit.  The exhibit is currently being curated, so stay tuned for details on the featured artists and their work.

The crew

Executive Producer: Kim Winnicky
Producer: Jen Edwards
Outreach Producer: Leighann Chalykoff
Director: Brian Fidler
Technical Directors: Nicolas Filteau & Mike Wilson
Outreach Assistant: Jona Barr
Northern Light Producer: Simon Gilpin

A Message from Artistic Director Brian Fidler

The North is geographically and culturally diverse. Thousands of kilometers separate us. We are incomparable, yet are often corralled under the title of the “North."  Yet for all northerners light governs our year, it transcends the framework of the traditional seasons. The winter solstice marks the darkest time of the year yet also the return of the light. The summer solstice emboldens us to make the most of the long hours of light and prepare for the coming winter.

The light ties us together.

It is part of the fabric of who we are as northerners.  The theme of light creates a focal point for the performance of From the North and the talented artists in this eclectic showcase bring their own interpretation to the theme.  I’m thrilled and honored to work on this celebration of the North.