Property Hot Spot: Des res includes on-site parking for eight reindeer; The North Pole

EVERY YULETIDE, one of the coldest regions on earth is a hot spot - the North Pole. Only one property exists at the Pole itself, and although it is far from lavish, it is a large and interesting piece of real estate which, should it ever come on to the market, is sure to attract considerable interest.

The occupier is an elderly man who would seem ripe for joining the bungalow brigade. Managing director of his own global delivery firm, he is corpulent well into the red zone, and his job is physically punishing, even though he works only one day a year. He nevertheless seems determined to see his lease out, even though it still has about 550 years to run.

The property itself contains - in estate agent terminology, comprises - a massive workshop, ample staff accommodation and on-site parking for a minimum of eight reindeer.

The lease contains a highly unusual restrictive covenant. These covenants generally prohibit work altogether or strictly limit the kind of work that may take place in a property, but these premises must be used as a workshop producing children's toys. This highly unusual covenant is the notorious sanity clause.

Several countries claim the property. The Arctic Circle includes parts of America (Alaska division), Canada, Greenland, Finland, and Russia.

Santa's familiar red and white are the national colours of Canada. Danish children address their letters to the "Julemanden" in Greenland, and receive replies.

In fact, Santa replies to children from many countries. Erja Tikka, press counsellor at the Finnish Embassy, says: "These other countries don't have reindeer, and our Santa post office receives 700,000 letters a year, so Finland has clearly won

that competition."

Try telling that to the Canadians. Lynne Boyer of Canada's Office of Strategic Communications Planning, notes: "The North Pole is on Canadian territory, so Santa is, technically, a Canadian citizen."

In Finnish Lapland, Mr Claus maintains an office, complete with Web server and Internet address, at Napapiiri, near Rovaniemi, and he makes daily appearances in nearby Korvatunturi. This part of Finland has abundant ice and snow but is hardly the most northerly of Finnish towns and villages and, for nearness to the North Pole, might as well be in Ecuador.

Canada's northern territories are also closer to the Pole and contain a huge swathe of government-owned land ideal for squatters. The Canadian High Commissioner has revealed, almost exclusively to The Independent, instructions for building an igloo based on Inuit building practices.

For starters, says the helpful information sheet, you need plenty of snow and, rail officials in Britain will be heartened to learn, preferably the right type of snow - crunchy and hard-packed.

The blocks are laid down in a spiral shape, and the entire structure's strength depends on the placement of the final block at the tip. Large families can be accommodated in several igloos connected by passageways.

Crucially, "the best location is beside a gently sloping hill." Even for igloos, location is everything.

Lowdown

Transport: The world's most northerly railway line is at Ny Alesund, Norway. Otherwise, transport goes to the dogs.

South-facing gardens? At the North Pole, they all are.

Council tax: For 1998/1999, Band A: Frankincense. Band H: Myrrh.

"No, it's not my vanity number plate": The correct postal code for Father Christmas in the United Kingdom is SANTA1, and in Canada it is HOH HOH. His Finnish website address is http://www.santaclausoffice.fi

Furs R Us: Shopping options are limited. When winter arrives there is not much to do except wait six months for summer and daylight to return. Otherwise, the Arctic has waterfalls, geysers, sulphur, mud and mineral pools, dog-sledge races and the Northern Lights. Rovaniemi is a winter-sports resort.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
music The singer has died aged 70
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams looks concerned as Arya Stark
tv
Arts and Entertainment
photography Incredible images show London's skyline from its highest points
Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
classical
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tv 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there