For those who don’t know what a tuque (pronounced tuke) is–a tuque is a warm, knitted, and usually pointed stocking cap that is a staple in most Canadian wardrobes. A tuque–believe it or not– is purely Canadian (or the word tuque is anyway). Originally worn by French Canadian Voyageurs in the 19th century, the true purpose of a tuque is more function than fashion. In colder, northern climates where you can loose up to half your body heat through your head, a tuque is indispensable. I interviewed a few people the other day about their tuque fashions.
Ljubi Tokic was sporting what appeared to be a hand-knit white tuque while having tea at Tim Hortons with her Mum and Grandma. Her Grandma, Pam Chapman from Ottawa, Ontario, knitted this particular tuque.
After doing some research on tuques, I can’t really classify Anne Louise’s hat as a tuque. It was however, a fairly handsome–yet functional–hat: leather and sheepskin. On a warmer day, you can wear the earflaps tied up on top of the hat. On a cooler day, you can tie the earflaps down over your ears. She bought her hat at www.eglifarm.com and mentioned pimping up her car with a sheepskin steering wheel cover.
When I asked Larry Leigh about his hat, he said his hat is fashioned what the Gwitchin First Nations of Old Crow wear in the winter. Larry’s hat seemed to be a traditional Mountie muskrat hat over top of a baseball cap. The visor of the baseball cap shades the glare of the sun (in the few hours a day there is sun) and the traditional Mountie muskrat keeps him warm. You can buy a traditional Mountie muskrat hat from www.mountieshop.com and you can use your favourite baseball cap for the visor.
Mike Craigen was wearing a Santa hat as he was volunteering for the Salvation Army. He said he own approximately 30 tuques–one for each year he’s lived in the Yukon. I wondered if he had a tuque to match his coat.
Alison Perrin is visiting her boyfriend’s family in Whitehorse for the holidays. Her tuque is one of six she owns and was a traditional woolen knit tuque with a pompom on top. She bought her hat from 180 Mountain Sports in Golden, BC where she works.
Felicia Chief was fairly festive in her red Roots jacket and her woolen knit tuque. Her friend helped her pick this tuque out at the Super Store. She liked the pompom and the fact that her woolen tuque had a fleece liner. She said traditional knit tuques let heat out–too many holes between the stitches. The fleece liner makes it more efficient and practical–and in her case–fashionable.
Robert Postma wasn’t wearing a tuque when I met him just outside the CIBC bank on the corner of Main and Second. He said though, that he owns approximately 10 tuques, one from each country he has visited. He promised he would email me a photograph of his favourite tuque, which happens to be one that a friend had knitted for him and that he had traded for some photography. You can see Robert’s gallery of photography at distanthorizons.ca.
My brother-in-law Jim Herd borrowed a tuque from his father to visit us in the Yukon. He and my sister live in Mansfield, Ontario and he spends most of his winters reffing hockey. Jim–how is it that you had to borrow a tuque?
Become a tuque scholar yourself by reading more about the history of tuques at: A Touch of Tuque.