Some of the world’s oldest sunglasses were discovered on north Baffin Island.
Gatineau, Quebec / Ottawa, Ontario – We can credit the Eskimo or Inuit of the Arctic for the world’s first sunglasses. Often referred to as snow goggles, they were created from bone, leather or wood with small slits see through, designed to protect the eyes from snow-blindness caused by the bright spring sunlight. The first snow goggles are said to date back 2000 years to a culture known as Old Bering Sea, who lived around the west coast of Alaska and were the ancestors of the modern Inuit. The snow goggles came to Canada with the Inuit (Thule culture) about 800 years ago. This example, an artifact of the Thule people, from north Baffin, was crafted from walrus ivory and dates back to between 1200 AD and 1600 AD. They are now in the collection of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, however they are not always on display.
The oldest predecessor of the sunglasses came from the Inuits of the Arctic who traditionally wore something like snow goggles to prevent snow blindness. Made of bone or walrus ivory, these were flattened panes with long horizontal slits.