Cover your heads!
A guide to Northern winter headgear

by Dave Salter
Northern News Services

NNSL (NOV 04/96) - Last week the chilly weather dictated it was time I dust off my old black toque - my "Relic" hat as I call it.

Those of you who grew up watching the "Beachcombers" will know what I'm talking about.

Anyhoo, I soon realized no matter how many times I shifted and re-arranged this tuque I still felt like a dork. Then it hit me - you just can't look cool wearing a tuque, or any other winter headgear for that matter.

As a co-worker recently said, "Hey Salter, this is the North, appearances go out the window." I guess he's right.

Protective headgear in the NWT is essential for comfort, and in many cases, survival. Once you get past the "I'm going to look like a dork" phase, you have to find the right hat for you.

My personal favorite is the fur cap, a la Daniel Boone (minus the tail). These are the type popularized by the Mounties. And hey, if they're good enough for the Mounties, they're good enough for this reporter.

Choice number 2 is that Elmer Fudd, earflap hat thingy. If you're going to look like a nerd you might as well go all the way, right?

The only problem with my first two choices is that they'll cost you more than a couple of bucks. But then again rumor has it, if you wait outside a Northern bar at closing time you can snatch one from some unsuspecting, bleary-eyed patron as he stumbles through the snow.

A favorite among children has become the elf hat. However, in my day, wearing a tuque like that would be grounds for a school-yard beating by the resident bully.

A traditional favourite is the NHL toque. When I was a kid you only had two choices: Montreal or Toronto - the latter being the wrong one. These toques are perfect when playing street or pond hockey.

"But what does Salter, the sports editor, know about winter fashion?" you're probably asking yourself.

Well, I'll give the final word to "the Hat Lady" from Resolute, Sarah Nungaq. Nungaq makes toques for the local Co-op.

"Tuques will probably always be the most popular winter hat because they're the warmest."

So there you have it. I can now wear my "Relic" toque with pride. Now, if I can just get my hands on his cool speed boat.