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Anniversary gift celebrates 75 years of diplomatic relations between Iceland and Canada.

Anniversary gift celebrates 75 years of diplomatic relations between Iceland and Canada.

by George Williams

Churchill Wild is proud to announce that two of the books in our Blueberries & Polar Bears cookbook series have been honoured as part of an anniversary gift of 75 books from the Embassy of Canada to Iceland.

“In my role as Ambassador of Canada to Iceland, it gives me great pleasure to inform you that the following publications have been included in the 75 Canadian book titles that were gifted to libraries of Iceland as part of the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Iceland,” wrote Her Excellency Jeannette Menzies, Ambassador of Canada to Iceland, in a letter dated December 7, 2022.

The two cookbooks included in the gift were Icebergs & Belugas and Cranberries & Canada Geese, which are part of Churchill Wild’s best-selling Blueberries & Polar Bears cookbook series written by Helen Webber and her close friend Marie Woolsey.

Helen is the mother of Jeanne Reimer, the co-owner and founder of Churchill Wild, which pioneered the world’s first and only true polar bear walking safaris out of permanent remote ecolodges on Canada’s Hudson Bay coast.

The recipes in the Blueberries & Polar Bears cookbooks form the base for the culinary delights that guests enjoy today at Churchill Wild’s Seal River Heritage Lodge, Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge, North Knife Lake Lodge, and Dymond Lake Ecolodge, where the recipes were first brought to life for guests over 50 years ago.

Blueberries & Polar Bears Cookbooks gifted to Iceland by Canada Embassy to Iceland. Cranberries & Canada Geese. Icebergs & Belugas.

Blueberries & Polar Bears Cookbooks gifted to Iceland.

2022 marks 75 years of diplomatic relations between Iceland and Canada, and to celebrate the occasion the Embassy of Canada in Iceland donated 75 Canadian books to the Reykjavík City Library and the Akureyri Public Library at recent events. The Embassy of Iceland reciprocated through a donation of Icelandic books to northern libraries in Canada.

The Canadian books span a range of genres from fiction and non-fiction to children’s stories, youth fiction, crime novels, poetry, short stories and cookbooks. They touch on themes of importance to both Canada and Iceland, including climate change, environment, diversity and inclusion, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and the Arctic. They include selections in both official languages of Canada, English and French.

Canada’s Ambassador to Iceland, Her Excellency Jeannette Menzies hosted a reception at the Reykjavik City Library on October 11, 2022, to celebrate the book giving. Canadian-born Eliza Reid, the First Lady of Iceland, spoke at the event alongside the Chief Librarian.

Ambassador Menzies remarked that “reading opens windows to new ideas, places, and people. This 75th anniversary ‘gift of knowledge’ celebrates our strong diplomatic ties as well as our shared history and people-to-people connections. It also introduces Icelandic audiences to both well-known and less-known works of Canadian literature and celebrates our shared storytelling cultures”.

The Blueberries & Polar Bears cookbook series now includes nine books along with the popular Dymond Lake Seasoning. The delicious recipes in the cookbooks have all been practically tested and tweaked to perfection through feedback from lodge guests, family and friends, and only the best recipes have made it into the books. Each book also includes stories of northern adventure, jokes and other trivia.

A free sampling of the recipes found in the Blueberries & Polar Bears cookbooks can be found in the Wild Delights PDF Cookbook, which can be downloaded for free here.

It has always been Helen and Marie’s wish to share their love and experience of the Canadian north with the world, and their cookbooks have exceeded even their wildest expectations, selling over 100,000 copies. The cookbooks can be found in the homes of guests, at remote camps and lodges, in fine cooking establishments around the world, and now, in the libraries of Iceland.

Helen Webber’s grandmother Oddney Sigurdson immigrated to Canada from Iceland with eight children in the late 1800s.

Her recipes have come home.

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