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Introducing the Cape Dorset Co-operative

The Story

Three years after the community of Cape Dorset established the West Baffin Co-operative, it is home to a thriving and profitable business providing fresh-baked bread alongside its increasingly renowned prints and carvings. As we see in this brief 1962 CBC Television news film, the co-operative's centre is a busy hub providing café services, a general store, and a place to show and sell some of the hand-crafted items made by local artisans.

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News
Host: Earl Cameron
Narrator: Alan Maitland
Duration: 1:00
Broadcast Date: April 18, 1962

Did You know?

• Cape Dorset, Nunavut, is located on Dorset Island, off the coast of Baffin Island. The community now claims the title "The Inuit Art Capital of Canada". (It was part of the Northwest Territories until Nunavut was created in 1999.)

• The Globe and Mail reported on Aug. 2, 1962 that a group of 33 mothers had signed a petition to the Northwest Territories Council. They asked for a permanent resident home economist to teach them to used the canned goods now readily available at two stores in Cape Dorset. Their complaint was that they were unfamiliar with methods of using food from a can.

• Art from the West Baffin Co-operative was showcased at an exhibit during the 1959 Stratford Festival, where it was viewed by Queen Elizabeth during her visit to Canada.

• Also seen in the film is James Houston, whose story of the discovery and guidance of the skilled artisans was profiled in a 1987 item for The Fifth Estate.


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