A pan-Canadian program of full-day International Polar Year educational programs provided secondary school students with a unique opportunity to learn about and discuss health, culture, conservation, sovereignty and other contemporary issues in a northern context. Forum topics were explored in relation to climate change science, the International Polar Year and the personal relevance they held for forum participants. Youth participants were encouraged to develop their interest in polar science and research, and other skills, techniques and knowledge needed to carry out northern-based research and monitoring during and beyond IPY.Young northern leaders and researchers from Canada and Greenland were incorporated into the video-conference portion of day. They were invited to discuss their relationship with the North while other youth participants were offered opportunities to voice their hopes and concerns for their communities. The series allowed these youth to network with each other, with southern students and with mentors, thereby helping them to develop the knowledge, skills, perspectives and practices needed to support positive life choices. Relationship building, dialogue and cross-cultural exchange have led to better understanding, new respect, and mutual advancement. Lead educators from Students on Ice, northern leaders and other regionally-based facilitators worked with participating youth to explore their ideas about the polar regions, dispel their misconceptions, and support the creation of personal knowledge about the Canadian Arctic as it relates to studentsâ€™ home province/territory, communities, schools, homes and the students themselves. At every youth forum students commented on how their awareness, understanding and interest in the polar regions and the issues that are affecting those regions had developed.Supported by the Government of Canada Program for International Polar Year, the events took place from April 2008 to October 2009 in 15 communities across Canada. The first pan-Canada series of its kind, Polar Perspectives reached Canadians in every province and territory, and has left an International Polar Year legacy of new knowledge, capacity, awareness and interest in the polar regions.