Doppelgangers and namesakes: In Nunavut, mistaken identity comes with the territory
In the North's close-knit communities, lookalikes and namesakes can create a good amount of comedy and confusion.
Sara Statham moved to Iqaluit two years ago. Her identical twin Dana joined her here two months ago.
"It's been pretty entertaining. We could have started by getting different colour parkas," says Sara. "But no," both say in unison, laughing.
Now they work for the same government department. Whether at the office, grocery store or community events, the two attract long stares as people strain to tell them apart.
Personally, I can relate. The great white North is a small world at times. When I first moved to Nunavut I noticed my name already eerily listed in the phone book. Iqaluit, it turned out, had two Peter Wordens.
I discovered other Peter Worden played the organ at St. Jude's cathedral. People had us mixed up, calling me to ask if I would play for a wedding or funeral, and giving him hot news tips after church.
"Everybody kept saying to me 'I read your news article,'" he said. "That's how Peter Worden met Peter Worden."
As it turned out, other Peter Worden and I shared much in common besides only our name. We were fast friends and in a few weeks felt strangely like family.
"Now my friends have two Peter Wordens to deal with," he jokes.
Then there are seasonal doppelgangers such as our own white-bearded station manager at CBC Iqaluit, Patrick Nagle. Particularly around Christmas he is compared to the jolly man in red.
"I've lost a bit of hair on the top of my head and most of the rest of what I have has turned grey-to-white and I have a beard which is fairly grey as well," he says. "I think this is something that happens to lots of people with that same follicular affliction at Christmas time."
Earlier this month he was approached by kids in Kuujjuaq, Que., who handed him a letter.
"I opened up the piece of a paper and I took a look and it said: 'Is it true that you're Santa and if you are I want an iPad for Christmas.'"
Nagle says he has come to expect this common case of mistaken identity with kids around the holidays and he plays the part.
"If I have to stand-in occasionally because the big guy's off doing something else, I suppose I can do that."