A unique place to rest

 For close to 50 years, a 1,600-pound stuffed Kodiak bear has greeted visitors to the Handicraft House on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, Canada. Nanook is a reminder of the rich cultural tradition the store has enjoyed on the Peninsula. His roots trace back to previous owner Colonel Ed Hamilton who brought the 9-foot bear from Alaska in 1958 in the hope that it would attract tourists.

In Hamilton’s early days, the trading post was located at Colonel Clarke’s Corners near Stokes Bay. In 1961, the Hamiltons moved the business to its present location just north of Wiarton. Hamilton covered the high walls of the 1918 barn with various animal skins, antlers and most prominently, an imposing buffalo head. Today, as in the 1960s, the buffalo head looks down on the monstrous Kodiak bear that stands centre stage in the middle of the store. Hamilton further added to the frontier spirit of the Trading Post by keeping live bears adjacent to the shop and offering local handiwork including Indian baskets and a popular line of log furniture.