I've been everywhere
Born in 1963 in the island's capital of Nuuk, Gary Rasmussen drew on a variety of influences before deciding that Canada's North made the most sense for a new home
IQALUIT (May 11/98) - His red hair and fair complexion aren't exactly what springs to mind when the word "Northerner" is used in many circles, but it won't take long for Gary Rasmussen to clear up that misunderstanding.
His home town, he points out, is the most northerly settlement in the world. Qanaaq, Greenland, is even closer to the pole than Grise Fiord. Born in 1963 in the island's capital of Nuuk, Rasmussen drew on a variety of influences before deciding that Canada's North made the most sense for a new home.
His grandfather was an Icelandic fisher and explorer who "ended up in Thule, his boat damaged from the ice," he says. "The Inuit of Qanaaq saved his life."
His father was an American air force pilot and his mother a Greenlandic Inuk from Nuuk. As a result he speaks English, Greenlandic and most dialects of Inuktitut, and can understand a bit of Danish, though he's not fluent in it.
As a youngster he spent years travelling across Canada's North. His family moved to British Columbia at one point, "but I couldn't handle the South."
It was up to Inuvik in 1986, then to Yellowknife, then Cambridge Bay, working in construction. Along the way he found a common-law wife and he now has two boys, 8 and 6.
Disatisfied with working for someone else, however, Rasmussen enrolled in Nunavut Arctic College's arts and crafts program, completed the course and chose to move to Iqaluit, "to join Nunavut."
In town only a few days, he is busy aggressively promoting his new business -- carving inukshuks. "Business is already picking up. People are welcoming me back," he says.