One of the first Canadian TV series to bring up the topic of residential schools. Residential schools for indigenous Canadian children, often religious schools in nature, existed well into the mid 1990's, and were often breeding grounds for abuse and cultural erasure. On June 11th, 2008, Canada's Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, publicly apologized to Canada's Indigenous Peoples for the IRS system, admitting that residential schools were part of a Canadian policy on forced Indigenous assimilation.
Lois's often-seen rainbow-striped winter coat is a Hudson's Bay point blanket coat; the white wool with the iconic red, blue, yellow and green stripes is considered a Canadian icon of the Hudson's Bay Company. The blankets are often re-purposed by people of various indigenous groups by being tailored into coats or altered with layers of fur pelts. In recent decades, the Hudson's Bay Company has also sold its own point blanket coats from time to time.
Two of North of 60's younger actors tragically passed away not long after the series was filmed: Selina Hanuse, who played Hannah Kenidi, and Mervin Good Eagle, who played Teevee's best friend Joey Small Boat. Hanuse was struck by a vehicle and killed at the age of 17. Good Eagle died of suicide by hanging.
Lubomir Mykytiuk, who played Ukrainian-Canadian store owner Gerry Kisilenko, was, like Gerry, born in the Soviet Union himself, having immigrated to Canada and becoming an actor for various TV movies, TV shows and feature films. He also appeared in the North of 60 spin-off films after the original North of 60 TV series had concluded.
Most of North of 60's actors and actresses, with the exception of actors like Michael Horse and Lubomir Mykytiuk, were Canadian First Nations from the west coast of the country. Most of them went on to pursue other careers later on, including dancing, photography, writing and design, among other things.
Most of the children of Lynx River have items that were authentic from the mid 1990's, the set time period of North of 60. Examples include Hannah having a wall poster for the band Atomic Heart in her bedroom, Teevee playing a Mario Brothers Nintendo game, and Hannah showing Leonard a bootleg VHS tape of a rock concert for the song New Orleans is Sinking by The Tragically Hip (while the song was released in 1989, the band performed it at concerts during the 1990's).
Dakota House is still, as of 2020, a successful actor who went on to appear in numerous roles, doing workshops on acting across Canada for youth and keeping an active profile on social media. He also became an author after North of 60, his first book being released in the early 2000's titled Dancers in the Sky.
Lynx River is a fictional Northwest Territories community. North of 60 was actually filmed in Alberta mostly, which is more to the south, although the concept of Lynx River and its isolation was based on various real-life Canadian villages and small towns in the Northwest Territories.
North of 60 was one of the first Canadian TV shows to talk about the HIV/AIDS crisis, and the prejudice at the time, the other show being Degrassi High (a spin-off of Degrassi Junior High). North of 60 was praised for its portrayal of Nevada, a male prostitute who had contracted HIV/AIDS after having gotten involved with prostitution as a runaway minor, and the show raised awareness of an arising problem in Canada during the 1990's, that of First Nations youth getting involved with prostitution and sex trafficking to survive in big cities like Vancouver. The show also addressed anti-gay prejudices and anti-Indigenous prejudices connected with HIV/AIDS.
The characters Eric Olsen and Hannah Kenidi were written off in the show as having died not merely as a plot device, contrary to popular belief, but as a way to remedy the absence of both of these actors on the series. Gerry Bean, who played Eric Olsen under the stage name "John Oliver", had been fired from North of 60 due to his relationship with co-actress Tina Keeper causing on-air friction. Selina Hanuse, who played Hannah Kenidi, made occasional, very brief reappearances on North of 60 as the ghost of Hannah, but left the show to go to school, hence why her character was written off as being killed in a bridge accident. Tragically, Hanuse died in a car accident in 2000, at the age of 17, just shy of her last year of high school, near Nanaimo Station in Vancouver. As of 2005, there was still a memorial cross near the Sky Train Station where Selina died. Her picture was eventually taken down after being there for many years. As a result, Hanuse did not appear as any form of Hannah Kenidi in any of the North of 60 spin-off films, although she had landed an acting role in the 1993 Vancouver-set TV movie Liar, Liar: Between Father and Daughter as the classmate of a girl accusing her father of incest. Aside from North of 60, this was Hanuse's only other acting role; she had planned to finish high school and leave acting in the late 1990's.
Contrary to his role as the manipulative, spiteful organized criminal Albert Golo on North of 60, actor Gordon Tootoosis was known among fellow cast members as a really kind, nice and funny person. He appeared in cast photos having parties and laughing with fellow actors Mervin Good Eagle (Joey Small Boat) and Dakota House (Trevor "Teevee" Tenia). Tootoosis was well-known in the United States for appearing on The X-Files, and as a voice actor on the popular 1990's Disney film Pocahontas, although he was a native Canadian.
North of 60 was praised in the 1990's for pointing out various untrue stereotypes of Canada as a country, as well as Canada's First Nations people. Examples include the exclusion of the red Mountie (RCMP) uniform, which is typically only used in formal ceremony, dialogue on how Canada's politics and government work (Canada is not socialist or communist, contrary to popular belief, and its Indigenous groups have allowances for a band council and aspects of self-governance), and the misguided assumption that Indigenous Canadians have no modernity or complexity in their various cultures. It was one of the first distinctly Canadian shows to explore these ideas.
Upon the character Hannah Kenidi's death, Betty Moses keeps encouraging her mother, Michelle, to quickly pack away all of Hannah's personal possessions, destroy them and redistribute them to other people in Lynx River. This is actually not uncommon; some Indigenous Canadian groups have perspectives on death, grief and dying that involve giving away the personal possessions of a deceased loved one to those who can use them, burning the possessions and burying the possessions. This can, in rare cases, include destroying photographs, written letters, artwork and other possessions unique to the deceased. According to the University of Toronto, which explored Indigenous perspectives on death and dying for its an Anderson Continuing Education Program in End-of-Life Care, it is typical in some Indigenous cultures for the deceased's family to have a total of 10 days after the funeral and death feast to distribute the personal property of the deceased to other members, thus sending the deceased on their journey. Not all Indigenous Canadians follow this tradition; especially in the late 20th and 21st century, many families want to keep personal possessions, have a written will that sets out inheritance, or have a church/religious leader involved. This depends on the family in question and their own personal decisions.