Toronto Arctic360 conference tackles business development, international cooperation 

A file photo of the Toronto skyline. The Arctic360 conference will take place February 21-23. (Patrick Morrell/CBC)

TORONTO —  Arctic360, the Canadian northern affairs conference, kicked off Tuesday with this year’s event focused on both business and the changing geopolitical context in the circumpolar world. 

“It’s been a year since the start of the war in Ukraine and we want to use this year’s conference as an opportunity to take stock on what’s happened, as well as where we’re going in terms of collaboration and cooperation,” Jessica Shadian, president and CEO of Arctic360 told Eye on the Arctic

Arctic360 is an independent think tank focused on Alaska, Canada and Greenland. Their eponymous conference has had a longtime business focus on public private Indigenous partnerships and exploring ways to drive capital north. 

But over time they’ve sought to showcase international viewpoints and perspectives that the North American Arctic might learn from. 

“It’s been an organic continuation,” Shadian said. “Every year our business theme comes out and builds on previous conferences, but we’re also taking into account everything that’s going on in the world.”

Ambassadors take centre stage on Wednesday 

Some of this year’s speakers include Canada’s Senior Arctic Official Heidi Kutz, as well as the ambassadors of Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland.

Government representatives from the U.S. and Greenland will also speak. 

“Over the years we’ve gone from a focus largely on Canada, Alaska and Greenland to bringing in our Arctic neighbours from the Nordic countries so Canadians have a chance to hear about how other countries are approaching their norths,”says Jessica Shadian, president and CEO of Arctic360. (Courtesy Arctic360)

New for the conference, the ambassadors to Japan and South Korea will also speak on Asia in the Arctic. 

Business session speakers include representatives of several Indigenous development corporations, along with representatives from the shipping and construction industries. 

The conference opened Tuesday afternoon with a talk by author Whit Fraser, also the husband of Canada’s Governor General Mary Simon, who spoke about his book True North Rising: My fifty-year journey with the Inuit and Dene leaders who transformed Canada’s North.

The Arctic360 conference runs from February 21-23.

The full program is available here.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at) 

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Arctic Canadian community says oil moratorium renewal doesn’t go far enough, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Russian shoppers take Norway’s Schengen shortcut to Arctic Finland, Yle News

Greenland: Historic Hans Island agreement with Canada moves from Copenhagen to Greenland, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Climate, integration & Arctic among priorities in Iceland’s Nordic Council of Ministers program, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Last Norwegian businessmen in Murmansk mum on customers, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Arctic oil-driller Gazprom Neft creates its own private military company, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden, Norway and Finland cooperating to attract workers to the Far North, Radio Sweden

United States: A year after Russia invaded Ukraine, a walrus discovery is caught up in geopolitics, Alaska Public News

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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