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In Canada, they definitely love their rocks.
Not only are there rocks in the hillside, and practically every direction you turn… but the people who live there have found ways to put all those rocks to good use.
They’re used as signs. As memorials. And as really cool statues. In fact, you don’t see much “graffiti” in Canada. Instead, you see rocks used to spell out various messages along roads and hillsides. It’s quite interesting.
But my favorite is the Inukshuk! Perhaps you’ve seen it…
The Inukshuk is a stone landmark used as a milestone or directional marker by the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic … They vary in shape and size, and perform a diverse array of tasks. It is a symbol with deep roots in the Inuit culture, a directional marker that signifies safety, hope and friendship. Source
I first saw one on the side of the road — in front of a country farm house. Next to it was a sign that read: CANADA ROCKS!
Then, I spotted that same unique shape of rocks in the form of “art” atop someone’s desk in Alberta.
After that, Jim and I spotted several pictures of the Inukshuk rock form in the restaurant we were dining at in the West Edmonton Mall:
We asked our server what the pictures were of and she said it was an Inukshuk and that it was a symbol of hope from the Inuit people.
She added, it’s also the chosen symbol of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.
About then, is when I decided I had to have one of those! (…made from real rocks)
I Want An Inukshuk!
So, from that point on we looked high and low for the perfect Inukshuk. We found several made from crystalized rocks and stones. But I wanted more of a rustic-looking one. I wanted actual rough-edged rocks (…imagining that they were the remnants of actual boulders found in and around Canada).
Lo and behold, we return to the States and I’m in Target walking past some 16×20 posters on sale. What is on top of the stack?… An Inukshuk! Yep, right here in little ‘ol Franklin, Tennessee.
Well, I guess Tennessee ROCKS, too!!
Inukshuk Shapes & Sizes
I’ve since learned that there are several different shapes and colors of rocks that can be used in the formation of an Inukshuk (…also spelled inuksuk, inukhuk, or inuksuit and pronounced ee-nook-shook or ee-nook-sook).
However, there are some that tend to resemble a human shape more than others.
A structure similar to an inuksuk but meant to represent a human figure, called an inunnguaq, has become widely familiar to non-Inuit. Source
Turns out, the poster I found in the States was of this “non-original” formation. It looks similar to a person “surfing” on a big boulder.
Getting (Or Making) An Inukshuk Of Your Very Own
It’s easier said than done, because rocks are so varied in shape and they don’t always line up and stack neatly on top of one another. Nevertheless, I managed to come up with some semblance of an Inukshuk using rocks from Tennessee.
What do you think?
I know… mine kind of looks more like the human version than the classic Inukshuk shape. And I still need to secure it to a larger rock as a base on the bottom. But I like it because it’s unique and mine.
I found that you can also order Inukshuks online. So if you, too, wish to have a lasting symbol of safety, hope and friendship — made from earthy and natural materials — then check these out:
As a lifelong traveler, I like to help people find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about "outside the box" Travel Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I'm SUPER organized and I love to pack! I've lived in 6 different states (Florida, Indiana, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas) and have visited every other state in the U.S. — except Hawaii. (Can you say bucket list?) I've been on several different cruises, airplanes, and boats in my life and I currently enjoy the outdoors by bicycling, motorcycling, Jeeping, RVing, camping, or just walking my dogs. My favorite "hobby" is riding on the back of our Harley-Davidson Road Glide traveling cross country — which we usually do at least once each year. We even rode from Tennessee to Alaska once! When I'm not on the road, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).