Nunavut's 50-meter-tall 'pants' rock formation honored with stamp


New image from Arctic Bay photographer Clare Kines shows the Qarlinngua sea arch formation

A photographer took a photo of sunflowers. Another captured a picture of a lighthouse.

Clare Kines took a photo of the pants.

The Nunavut photographer's shot of the towering rock formation 60 kilometers south of Arctic Bay is featured on one of nine stamps issued for Canada Post's “Far and Wide” series, which highlights unique and picturesque locations across the country .

It is known locally as the Qarlinngua Sea Arch Formation, which means “like pants” in Inuktitut.

A photo of the formation taken by a local hunter went viral in 2018 when CBC North posted the image on its Facebook page.

The 50 meter high rock appeared to stand on its own, without the perspective of the larger rock formation behind it.

Online commenters thought the image was faked or photoshopped, so CBC North published a story about the arch, where it is and how it was created.

Shortly thereafter, in April 2018, Kines went out on the snowmobile to get a better shot of the formation. The photo he took is used on the stamp.

Clare Kines says he loves taking photos near his Arctic Bay home so he can showcase its beauty to the rest of Canada and the world. (Photo courtesy of Clare Kines)

“People have lived here for hundreds of years” and have known about it for a long time, Kines said, noting its more recent fame.

“This is my home and I am very proud of my home; It's a magical place and I don't mind sharing it with the world at all. It’s a community with wonderful people,” Kines said in an interview Tuesday.

While “the pants” get most of the attention, Kines says “the entire stretch of coast is pretty magical.”

He compared it to Antelope Canyon in Utah, known for the wave-like structure of its rocks and the rays of light shining through in places.

Other photos selected for Canada Post's collection include sunflowers taken in Manitoba; Ontario's Thousand Islands; and Point Prim Lighthouse on Prince Edward Island.

Kines said having his work featured on a Canada Post stamp was very personal to him.

“My grandfather, my father and my brother were all postmasters,” he said, and the family has worked with the post office for 101 years.

In 2017, another photograph by Kines, depicting the face of his wife Leah Ejangiaq Kines, her face draped in a parka and framed by a maple leaf, was selected as one of ten stamps commemorating Canada's 150th anniversary.

“When he was alive, I often joked that Prince Philip (the late husband of the late Queen Elizabeth II) and I were probably the only two people in the Commonwealth who received mail with pictures of our wives,” Kines said.

In 2018, another of his photos was featured in the first issue of Canada Post's “Far and Wide” series. Qarlinngua's photo marks the third time one of his images has appeared on a Canadian postage stamp.

In the Qarlinngua photo, a small figure can be seen in the right corner. It's his son Travis.

“So I need another stamp with my daughter on it to complete the package,” Kines said.