Whale Cove

Whale Cove


The pretty little hamlet of Whale Cove is situated on a long point of the Canadian mainland that projects into northwestern Hudson Bay.

Also known as ‘Tikirarjuaq’ in Inuktitut, ‘long point’ is located about 72 kilometres (45 miles) south of Rankin Inlet; just 80 kilometres (50 miles) from historic Iqalugaarjuup Nunanga Park.

The way of life here is proudly traditional — a mixed mosaic of three distinct Inuit dialects and cultures originating from inland and coastal traditions.

The English name for this sheltered cove and its community comes from the great abundance of beluga whales that congregate here.

Whale Cove is on the seasonal polar bear migration route, a popular place for arctic travellers to visit year after year with their families!

Whale Cove
ᑎᑭᕋᕐᔪᐊᖅ
'Long point'

Population

403

Ethnic Distribution

95% Inuit

Languages

Inuktitut, English

Location

Longitude 95° 51’ W
Latitude 68° 38’ N
Elevation 40m

Topography

Rolling hills, tundra valleys, wild coastal beaches, with many crystal clean lakes and rivers.

Weather and Climate

Current Weather in Whale Cove

Whale Cove
-9° C -17° C

Overcast Clouds

-17° C

  • Sun

  • Mon

  • Tue

  • Wed

Summer temperatures range from 5°C to 20°C, with periods of rain.

The sea ice breaks up in June when the sun shines 20 hours a day. Snow starts to accumulate in October. With many windy days here, huge snowdrifts are common. The shortest days of December have four hours of sunshine.

Average Temperature in Whale Cove
January -31oC February -31oC
March -27oC April -16oC
May -6oC June 3oC
July 9oC August 8oC
September 2oC October -4oC
November -16oC December -26oC

History

The indigenous forerunners of the Inuit, the Pre-Dorset people, were living in this part of Nunavut long before biblical David became king of the ancient Israelites.

At Iqalugaarjuup Nunanga Territorial Park, located 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Whale Cove, there are numerous Pre-Dorset archaeological sites dating from 1000 BC to 500 BC, plus Thule sites dated to 1200 AD.

  • Pre-Dorset Culture ('Saqqaq'): 2500 BC to 500 BC
  • Dorset Culture ('Tuniit' or 'Sivullirmiut'): 500 BC to 1500 AD
  • Thule Culture (Proto-Inuit): 1000 AD to 1600 AD
  • Inuit Culture (Eskimo): 1600 AD to present-day

The Thule people were bowhead whale hunters. The inland and coastal Inuit peoples of Whale Cove are caribou, hare, fox, wolf, geese, ptarmigan, seal, walrus, polar bear, bowhead and beluga whale hunters, plus expert fishers of char, turbot, cod and trout.

In 1613 the British explorer Thomas Button visited the Whale Cove area while searching for the Northwest Passage and the lost Hudson expedition of 1611. A generation later, continuing the same search in 1631, the British explorer Luke Foxe sailed the entire western coastline of Hudson Bay before concluding no passage to China was possible here.

The Hudson Bay Company (HBC), incorporated by English royal charter in 1670, arrived into the Whale Cove area during the 1700s to trade rifles, ammunition, tea and sugar for valuable furs harvested by the local Inuit men.

The permanent settlement of Whale Cove was created during the Keewatin Famine in the winter of 1957-1958 when many Inuit faced starvation as the caribou disappeared.

The Government of Canada relocated disparate survivors of the famine to Whale Cove where it was believed that wildlife resources would allow these peoples to live by their traditions of hunting, fishing and trapping. The settlement was formed with three distinctly different groups of Inuit people, with different dialects, kinships and cultural histories.

  • Hauniqturmiut — coastal; from Arviat to the Whale Cove area
  • Paallirmiut — inland; from the Baker Lake to Arviat area
  • Qaernermiut — coastal; Chesterfield Inlet to Whale Cove area

Like many Nunavut communities today, Whale Cove relies heavily on subsistence hunting and fishing.

Seal, walrus and beluga meats are the main foods provided by the men, as well as lake trout and arctic char, augmented by seasonal caribou and polar bear hunting. Added to this traditional diet of arctic fishes and mammals, the women harvest highly nutritious wild berries in the summertime.


Activities and Wildlife

The fishing here is excellent. Each spring there is an annual fishing derby for the biggest lake trout.

In the fall, large pods of beluga whales congregate near the shores of the cove.

There are lots of seals and walrus, arctic char and lake trout, arctic hares and polar bears. Participating on expeditions with the local people you can travel inland on dog sleds, snowmobiles or ATVs to camp out while hunting caribou, fishing the rivers and lakes, berry picking and gathering goose eggs.

There are igloo building competitions and snowmobile races in the spring.

In the summer, Whale Cove stages traditional Inuit games and holds contests such as tea and bannock making, inuksuk building and rabbit hunting.

Arts and Culture

Whale Cove est une collectivité traditionnelle riche des différences subtiles entre les trois groupes inuits qui la composent. Pour en apprendre davantage au sujet des arts et de la culture de l’endroit, communiquez avec le bureau du hameau et, lorsque vous passerez dans le coin, assurez-vous de visiter la coopérative Issatik.

Issatik Eskimo Co-op
Personne ressource : Bernice Croucher
Tél. : (867) 896-9927
Téléc. : (867) 896-9087
www.arcticco-op.com/acl-keewatin-whale-cove.htm (en anglais)


Parks

Iqalugaarjuup Nunanga Territorial Park
This historic park is located 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Whale Cove. It was created to preserve several important archaeological sites and to conserve the habitat of loons, ducks, geese, cranes, voles, lemmings, hares, foxes, wolves, caribou, barren land grizzly and polar bears.

It remains a camping and fishing paradise from ancient times.

The Medialine River cliff area is called ‘Ijiraliq’ in Inuktitut, from Inuit legend, referring to the name of someone who turns into a whistling spirit, like a caribou.

The archaeological section of the park has numerous artifacts of the Pre-Dorset people dating from 1000 BC, plus tent rings, graves and food cache sites of the Thule people dated to 1200 AD.

Official Website


Visitor Information

Offices of the Hamlet of Whale Cove
Ph: (867) 896-9961
www.whalecove.ca


Rankin Inlet

Rankin Inlet


Also known as ‘Kangiqtiniq’ in Inuktitut, which means ‘deep inlet,’ the busy, modern community of Rankin Inlet is the centre of government for Kivalliq.

It is the largest, most entrepreneurial hamlet of this territorial region, the business and transportation hub, which serves as the central Canadian gateway into Nunavut.

With its large volume of commercial traffic streaming through its airport, combined with a history of regional government, mining and scientific exploration activity, Rankin Inlet has developed a highly skilled workforce.

It is located on the large, deep inlet for which it is named, on the mainland of Canada at the northwestern corner of Hudson Bay. Rankin Inlet is well known for its artworks, especially Inuit ceramic arts, but it is also famous because the first Inuk athlete to ever play professional hockey in the NHL grew up here — Jordin Tootoo — right winger, player number 22 (‘too too’) with the Nashville Predators, a great role model for Inuit kids.

Rankin Inlet
ᑲᖏᖅᖠᓂᖅ
'Deep inlet'

Population

2.500

Ethnic Distribution

80% Inuit

Languages

Inuktitut, English

Location

Longitude 92° 00’ W
Latitude 62° 52’ N
Elevation 28m

Topography

Rankin Inlet is nestled in rolling hills with flat areas and intricate rock formations. It has tundra valleys filled with tiny wildflowers in the summertime and wind-sculpted snowdrifts in the winter.

Weather and Climate

Current Weather in Rankin Inlet

Rankin Inlet
-14° C -15° C

Broken Clouds

-14° C

  • Sun

  • Mon

  • Tue

  • Wed

Sunny summer temperatures can reach 20°C.

The breakup of sea ice occurs in mid-July, with patches of rain or fog during the spring and fall months. Winter temperatures, with wind-chill, can fall to -50°C. High winds, blizzards and ice fogs are frequent. The sea ice freezes over in October.

Average Temperature in Rankin Inlet
January -32oC February -30oC
March -25oC April -16oC
May -6oC June 4oC
July 10oC August 10oC
September 3oC October -5oC
November -18oC December -27oC

History

Ancestors of the Inuit people inhabited this area for many centuries. At nearby Iqalugaarjuup Nunanga Territorial Park there are some Pre-Dorset archaeological sites dating from 1000 BC to 500 BC, plus several Thule sites dated to 1200 AD.

  • Pre-Dorset Culture ('Saqqaq'): 2500 BC to 500 BC
  • Dorset Culture ('Tuniit' or 'Sivullirmiut'): 500 BC to 1500 AD
  • Thule Culture (Proto-Inuit): 1000 AD to 1600 AD
  • Inuit Culture (Eskimo): 1600 AD to present-day

The ancient Thule people were bowhead whale hunters. Caribou Inuit people, who hunted barren-ground caribou inland and fished for arctic char along the coast, in the Diane and Meliadine Rivers, eventually succeeded them.

Regular contact with Europeans began in the late 17th century when the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) started fur trading in the Rankin Inlet area. The ill-fated HBC expedition led by British Captain James Knight in 1719 shipwrecked in a cove on nearby Marble Island. Some of the survivors lived until 1721.

Contact with European and American whalers was constant throughout the 19th century.

Outsider contact then continued with fur traders and trappers of prized, pure white arctic fox pelts into the early 20th century, followed by the arrival of Christian missionaries who introduced the written language system of Inuktitut syllabics to the local Inuit.

The settlement of Rankin Inlet was founded in 1957 by the owners of the Rankin Inlet Mine.

Deep underground reserves of nickel and copper ore were mined until 1962.

Three quarters of the 500 Inuit residents of Rankin Inlet were miners. After the mine closed down that year, some unsuccessful attempts to develop alternate sources of income for the community ensued, including a pig ranch in 1969 and a chicken farm in the 1970s. These animals were fed a locally made fishmeal that, unfortunately, gave the meat an unpleasant flavour. Plus, it was far too common an occurrence for the animals to freeze to death in winter or be eaten by polar bears, so both of these animal farm ventures were abandoned.

Fortunately, however, traditional hunting skills kept Inuit families fed and clothed.

Located close to Rankin Inlet is the Meliadine River, which the ancient Pre-Dorset, Thule and modern Inuit people have all used as a great place for fishing arctic char, grayling and trout. There are herds of caribou nearby, ringed seals are abundant, plus it is one of the best-known whaling sites in the north.

Nowadays, Rankin Inlet stands poised to become a bustling mining centre once again. Recent geophysical mineral explorations nearby have discovered huge deposits of gold and diamonds! Large-scale industrial mining operations for the extraction and processing of these precious local resources are expected to begin full operation within the next few years.


Activities and Wildlife

Visitors can experience a wide variety of fun outdoor activities that are very popular locally, including dog sledding, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, kite skiing, hiking, camping, kayaking, canoeing, hunting, fishing and berry picking.

In addition, there are some beautiful ancient archaeological sites to visit nearby at the Meliadine River in Iqalugaarjuup Nunanga Territorial Park, which has a well-marked walking trail.

Local marine wildlife species to view include seals, walruses and beluga whales.

On land you will find arctic foxes, marmots (‘siksik’) and caribou, plus many species of birds and, sometimes, a wandering polar bear. The wildlife office in Rankin Inlet will provide you with detailed information about local flora and fauna, plus hunting and fishing regulations.

The local people are the best guides for exploring this place on land, ice or open water. You are also cordially invited to participate in the local celebrations: In the spring, Rankin Inlet celebrates ‘Pakallak Tyme’ with traditional games, competitions, snowmobile races, dancing and community feasts to enjoy!

Arts and Culture

Rankin Inlet is home to talented artists and craftspeople and it is famous as the only Inuit fine-arts ceramics producer in the world.

Local artists work in a variety of media including ceramics, prints, bronze castings, carvings, watercolours and drawings.

The primary place in town for you to discover and perhaps choose to acquire some of these masterpieces is the Matchbox Gallery. Arts and crafts are sold at many stores here. The Kivalliq Regional Visitor Centre is another great venue exhibiting some prized Inuit artworks, plus it provides visitors with tour guides, maps and cultural information.

Matchbox Gallery 
Contact: Jim Shirley
Ph: (867) 645-2674
Email: matchboxgallery@hotmail.com

Kivalliq Regional Visitor Centre 
Ph: (867) 645-3838
Fax: (867) 645-3904
Email: kivalliqtourism@qiniq.com


Parks

Iqalugaarjuup Nunanga Territorial Park
‘Iqalugaarjuup Nunanga’ means ‘the land around the river of little fishes’ in Inuktitut. This beautiful park, which protects the chain of lakes, ancient tundra valley, mossy lichen-covered esker and rocky cliffs of the Medialine River, is located 10 kilometres (six miles) northwest of Rankin Inlet.

It was created to preserve dozens of important archaeological sites and to conserve the breeding habitat of numerous wildlife species, such as loons, long-tailed ducks, sandhill cranes, voles, lemmings, arctic fox, arctic hare, caribou, plus rarely seen barren land grizzly and polar bears.

Home of the local ancestors, it remains a hiking, camping, fishing paradise.

The river’s cliff area is called ‘Ijiraliq’ in Inuktitut, from Inuit legend, referring to the name of someone who turns into a whistling spirit, like a caribou. The extensive archaeological area in the park — called ‘Qamaviniqtalik’ in Inuktitut (‘place with ancient sod houses’) — includes sod house remains, tent rings, kayak stands, hunting blinds, wind breaks, fishing weirs, food cache sites and graves of the Thule people from 1200 AD, plus some Pre-Dorset ruins and artifacts dating from 1000 BC. The park’s informative booklet with walking tour map guides you through this sacred ancient place.

 

Marble Island
Marble Island is composed of a unique sedimentary rock called wacke that is laced with quartzite, giving the island its white, marble-like appearance.

The whole island is bare rock, dappled in lichens and mosses, hosting a variety of arctic birds, including ducks and raptors, plus lemmings, arctic hares, arctic foxes and, occasionally, polar bears.

Huge numbers of sea mammals can be found thriving near its shores, including seals, walrus, beluga, orca and bowhead whales. Due to the great abundance of marine life species, Marble Island is a traditional summer hunting ground for the Inuit people. It is also becoming a major ecotourism attraction because of its animal population and human history.

Many old-time mariners hunting bowhead whales visited this island and the 1719 expedition of James Knight shipwrecked near its shore. Vestiges of his sunken vessel remain and survivor names were etched upon the rock. There are caves, graves and ruins to visit on this wacke island of wonderful arctic wildlife.


Visitor Information

Kivalliq Regional Visitor Centre
Ph: (867) 645-3838
Fax: (867) 645-3904

www.destinationnunavut.ca

Offices of the Hamlet of Rankin Inlet
Ph: (867) 645-2895
Email: info@rankininlet.ca
www.rankininlet.ca


Naujaat

Naujaat (Repulse Bay)


The hospitable hamlet of Naujaat is situated on the Canadian mainland at the northwestern limit of Hudson Bay near Foxe Basin.

It is located right on the Arctic Circle, at the north end of Repulse Bay on the southern shores of Rae Isthmus. The Inuktitut name of this community is ‘Naujaat’ (‘seagull nesting place’) for a cliff area nearby where fledgling seagulls are born each June. Its people are the Aivilingmiut (‘people of the walrus place’), direct descendants of the ancient Thule people, known for their excellent dog teams and walrus hunting skills.

It’s a great place for viewing polar bears and for whale watching excursions, plus it is located close to beautiful Ukkusiksalik National Park, which is a 15-minute plane ride away.

Naujaat
ᓇᐅᔮᑦ
'Seagull nesting place'

Population

1,050

Ethnic Distribution

95% Inuit

Languages

Inuktitut, English

Location

Longitude 86° 13’ W
Latitude 66° 31’ N
Elevation 24m

Topography

The local landscape has many scenic inlets with rolling hills, bird cliffs, tundra flats and numerous small lakes.

Weather and Climate

Current Weather in Naujaat

Naujaat
-9° C -9° C

Light Snow

-9° C

  • Sun

  • Mon

  • Tue

  • Wed

Naujaat enjoys constant 24-hour sunshine from June 4 to July 9.

Summer temperatures range from 10°C to 25°C. The prevailing wind direction is from the northwest, averaging 17 kph (11 mph) yet sometimes gusting to 100 kph (62 mph). The winter temperature drops to -45°C. Snowfalls can happen at any time in the spring, fall and winter months.

Average Temperature in Naujaat
January -31oC February -31oC
March -26oC April -17oC
May -7oC June 3oC
July 8oC August 6oC
September 0oC October -8oC
November -19oC December -26oC

History

The local Inuit people are Aivilingmiut descendants of the ancient Thule people who lived here from 1000 AD to 1600 AD. This unique group of Inuit moved south into Naujaat from the region near present-day Igloolik and Hall Beach. The Melville Peninsula area of Nunavut has been home to indigenous peoples since 2500 BC.

  • Pre-Dorset Culture ('Saqqaq'): 2500 BC to 500 BC
  • Dorset Culture ('Tuniit' or 'Sivullirmiut'): 500 BC to 1500 AD
  • Thule Culture (Proto-Inuit): 1000 AD to 1600 AD
  • Inuit Culture (Eskimo): 1600 AD to present-day

Europeans visited this bay in 1742 when the British explorer Christopher Middleton was searching for the Northwest Passage. The English name ‘Repulse Bay’ is usually attributed to him. When he discovered that the bay was not a viable route to the East Indies, but rather a cul-de-sac, he is claimed to have called it the ‘Bay of Repulse, the bay where I was pushed away.’

Some people speculate that the English name for this place may instead come from an 18th century British ship called the ‘Repulse’ that supposedly also visited this area, but there have been twelve ships in the British Royal Navy called ‘HMS Repulse’ and the 18th century one sank in a hurricane near Bermuda in 1776. Repulse Bay in Hong Kong has the exact same problem with its English name too! To resolve this ongoing friendly dispute here, most locals just chuckle and call the place ‘Naujaat’ instead. Throughout the 1800s it was a popular destination for American and Scottish whalers, employing many local Inuit hunters who worked aboard the whaling vessels and were expert trackers of the bowhead whale migrations.

The Hudson Bay Company opened a fur trading post in Repulse Bay in 1916. A rival fur trading company called Révillon Frères opened another post here in 1923. The Catholic mission was built in 1932. In 1968 the Government of Canada began a major infrastructure program in Repulse Bay that included construction of the Tusarvik School, plus 20 three-bedroom homes for local Inuit people, three staff houses for government employees, a power plant, a warehouse and two enormous fuel storage tanks.

Repulse Bay was once part of the Keewatin region of the Northwest Territories until 1999 when Nunavut was created and this region became known by its Inuktitut name of Kivillaq.

The first permanent station of Royal Canadian Mounted Police was established in 2002. Most residents continue to rely on traditional seal and caribou hunting, fishing, trapping and carving for their livelihood. Tourism is increasingly popular here and mining exploration is also taking place nowadays.


Activities and Wildlife

Activities such as fishing, hunting, dog sledding, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, ATV riding, kayaking and hiking are popular with people who enjoy the great arctic outdoors here.

Repulse Bay is home to a variety of animals including polar bears, caribou, arctic hares, foxes and wolves, walruses, bearded, ringed and harp seals, plus narwhals, beluga, orca and bowhead whales.

There are many species of birds, including snow buntings, loons, eider ducks, jaegers, snowy owls, terns, ravens, ptarmigans, tundra swans, peregrine falcons, gyrfalcons, rough-legged hawks, snow geese and sandhill cranes. Just north of the community is the cliff area where ‘naujaat’ (fledgling baby seagulls) are born in the early summertime.

Arts and Culture

Repulse Bay artists create many fine works of jewellery and its carvers are famous for their realistic animal sculptures made of ivory, bone, soapstone, marble and antler. Inuit artwork can often be purchased directly from the artists when you are visiting here.


Parks

Ukkusiksalik National Park of Canada
This beautiful historic national park is located close to Repulse Bay, a 15-minute plane ride away. The 145 kilometre (90 mile) journey can also be done by boat, snowmobile or dog sled, depending on the season.

Named after the soapstone (steatite) that is found here, the word ‘ukkusiksalik’ means ‘where there is material for the stone pot’ in Inuktitut. The park surrounds a 100 kilometre (62 mile) long inlet called Wager Bay. In addition to a reversing waterfall to visit and hundreds of archaeological sites dating back to 1000 AD, the park protects important habitat for arctic hares, arctic foxes, arctic wolves, muskoxen, caribou, barren land grizzly and polar bears, plus beluga and bowhead whales, gyrfalcons, peregrine falcons and golden eagles.

The landscape features eskers, cliffs, mudflats and rolling tundra. The camping, hiking and wildlife viewing experience here is fantastic. It is recommended that visitors hire an expert local outfitter from Repulse Bay to safely guide them into and out of this park due to the large polar bear population.

View Website


Visitor Information

Ukkusiksalik National Park of Canada
Ph: (867) 462-4500
Fax: (867) 462-4095
Email: ukkusiksalik.info@pc.gc.ca
www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/nu/ukkusiksalik/index.aspx

Offices of the Hamlet of Repulse Bay
Ph: (867) 462-9952
Fax: (867) 462-4144
Email: saorepulse@qiniq.com
www.repulsebay.ca


Coral Harbour

Coral Harbour


Coral Harbour is a small community located on Southampton Island at the north end of Hudson Bay. Its English name is derived from the fossilized coral that can be found in the adjacent waters of South Bay.

The Inuktitut name for this hamlet is ‘Salliq’ which means ‘large flat island in front of the mainland’ — a place name that also refers to all of Southampton Island.

The plural Inuktitut form ‘Salliit’ is sometimes also used. Extraordinary archaeological sites of the ancient Tuniit (Dorset) culture are scattered around Southampton Island. Coral Harbour is becoming a very popular ecotourism base for some of the best walrus and polar bear watching in Nunavut.

Coral Harbour
ᓴᓪᓕᖅ
'Large flat island in front of the mainland'

Population

800

Ethnic Distribution

97% Inuit

Languages

Inuktitut, English

Location

Longitude 83° 10’ W
Latitude 64° 08’ N
Elevation 24m

Topography

Coral Harbour and all of Southampton Island has flat terrain characterized by barrens, coastal marine features, meadows, inlets, rocky flats, sedge and tundra.

Weather and Climate

Current Weather in Coral Harbour

Coral Harbour
-13° C -15° C

Broken Clouds

-15° C

  • Sun

  • Mon

  • Tue

  • Wed

Coral Harbour has a dry, windy climate. Summer temperatures range from 8°C to 24°C. Winter blizzards are common, with temperatures occasionally dropping to -50°C. The sea ice freezes in November and breaks up in early July.

Average Temperature in Coral Harbour
January -30oC February -30oC
March -26oC April -17oC
May -7oC June 3oC
July 9oC August 7oC
September 1oC October -7oC
November -17oC December -26oC

History

Sallirmiut (‘inhabitants of Salliq’) lived on this island from 500 BC until the winter of 1902-1903 when they all died from a typhus epidemic introduced by an infected Scottish whaler. The Sallirmiut were the last vestige of the ancient Tuniit (Dorset) people and may have intermarried with Thule people before they became extinct.

  • Dorset Culture ('Tuniit' or 'Sivullirmiut'): 500 BC to 1500 AD
  • Thule Culture (Proto-Inuit): 1000 AD to 1600 AD
  • Inuit Culture (Eskimo): 1600 AD to present-day

Within a decade of their tragic demise by disease, the island was repopulated by Aivilingmiut (‘people of the walrus place’) from the mainland areas of Repulse Bay and Chesterfield Inlet.

The first recorded European person to ever visit this island was the Welsh explorer Thomas Button in 1613 when he was trying to locate the Northwest Passage and any trace of the English explorer Henry Hudson whose crew mutinied in 1611.

Button named this island after his aristocratic sponsor, Henry Wriothesley, the third Earl of Southampton — who also sponsored William Shakespeare.

From the late 1700s to the early 1900s, whaling vessels hunting bowhead whales frequented the area of Hudson Bay and Foxe Basin. The Hudson Bay Company chose the current site of Coral Harbour for a trading post in 1924. Anglican and Catholic missions soon followed.

In WWII a United States Air Force base was constructed here as part of the Crimson Route delivering fighter aircraft to Britain. During the Cold War years the airbase was a depot site serving the DEW line. Materials arrived by ship to be flown north. Most local Inuit families continued to live a nomadic lifestyle, moving between winter and summer hunting camps around the island until 1950 when the day school was built in Coral Harbour. The community has continued to grow and develop ever since.


Activities and Wildlife

For outdoor enthusiasts, Coral Harbour offers excellent conditions for cross-country skiing, dog sledding and snowmobiling that last from October to June.

There are roads and trails around the island for hiking, mountain biking and exploring by ATV in the summer months and several excellent spots to fish for arctic char near town.

Southampton Island is home to many species of wildlife including handsome herds of caribou and fine flocks of snow geese.

Local outfitters offer boating excursions to view walruses and polar bears.

At nearby Native Point there is a sacred archaeological site of the Sallirmiut people, the last descendants of Tuniit (Dorset) culture that is sometimes called ‘The Lost City of the North.’

Arts and Culture

‘Salliq’ artists, seamstresses and craftspeople produce a range of carvings, articles of traditional clothing and other handicrafts.

Leonie’s Place
Contact: Ron Duffy
Ph: (867) 925-9751

Katudgevik Co-operative Association Ltd. 
Ph: (867) 925-9969


Parks

Fossil Creek Trail
The Fossil Creek area has the best assortment of fossils in Nunavut. It contains the petrified remains of many creatures that lived 450 million years ago. You can learn about the remarkable geological history that makes this area so unique and you can participate in the ‘Great Fossil Hunt’ to find the greatest fossils in the territory.

Harry Gibbons Migratory Bird Sanctuary
This sanctuary is located in western Southampton Island near the Boas River and Bay of Gods Mercy, about 103 kilometres (64 miles) southwest of Coral Harbour. It protects 1,224 square kilometres (473 square miles) of tundra and tidal habitat for many arctic birds.

East Bay Migratory Bird Sanctuary
This sanctuary is located in East Bay in southeast Southampton Island, about 71 kilometres (44 miles) east of Coral Harbour. It is 1,138 square kilometres (439 square miles) in size and it protects habitat for dozens of bird species including arctic terns, atlantic brants, black-bellied and golden plovers, black guillemots, herring and Sabine’s gulls, jaegers, ruddy turnstones, king eider ducks, red knots and red phalaropes, white-rumped sandpipers, oldsquaws, Canada geese and red-throated loons.


Visitor Information

Offices of the Hamlet of Coral Harbour
Ph: (867) 925-8867
Fax: (867) 925-8233
Email: coraledo@qiniq.com

www.coralharbour.ca


Chesterfield Inlet

Chesterfield Inlet


Chesterfield Inlet is located on the northwestern coast of Hudson Bay, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) north of Rankin Inlet.

It is the oldest permanent settlement in Nunavut.

In Inuktitut, this place is called ‘Igluligaarjuk’ which means ‘place with few houses’ because there once was an ancient Thule community that camped here each summer. There were 700 people living here when European and American whalers first arrived and began using the place as a safe winter harbour for their vessels.

There are several archaeological sites nearby where ancient tent rings, kayak stands, food cache locations and fox traps still stand.

Each year Inuit people travel to this area and to other special places to hunt caribou and fish char. Chesterfield Inlet is a great destination for whale watching and bird watching, with three nearby islands that are nesting grounds for waterfowl. The local Inuit women are well known for their arts and crafts and the local Inuit men are famous for their seafaring skills.

Chesterfield Inlet
ᐃᒡᓗᓕᒑᕐᔪᒃ
'Place with few Thule houses'

Population

400

Ethnic Distribution

90% Inuit

Languages

Inuktitut, English

Location

Longitude 95° 45’ W
Latitude 63° 30’ N
Elevation 11m

Topography

The local terrain is typical Hudson Bay lowland, with flat expanses of tundra, numerous small rivers and lakes, plus patches of exposed bedrock and coastal gravel deposits.

Weather and Climate

Current Weather in Chesterfield Inlet

Chesterfield Inlet
-15° C -15° C

Few Clouds

-15° C

  • Sun

  • Mon

  • Tue

  • Wed

Summer temperatures here range from 5°C to 15°C when the sun shines constantly for up to 20 hours a day.

It gets foggy and rainy in September. Usually it begins to snow in October. Winter temperatures range from -28°C to -35°C. Moderate to strong winds are common. With the winter wind chill, it can feel like -50°C. The shortest days of December have about four hours of sunlight. March and April are the stormy months when blizzards can happen, but the days grow steadily longer then, warmer and brighter each day into June.

Average Temperature in Chesterfield Inlet
January -31oC February -31oC
March -27oC April -17oC
May -6oC June 3oC
July 9oC August 8oC
September 2oC October -8oC
November -19oC December -26oC

History

The ancient Dorset people, followed by the Thule people (the direct ancestors of the Inuit) lived in this region from 500 BC to 1600 AD. They returned each summer to hunt and fish. There was no contact with Europeans for many centuries.

  • Dorset Culture ('Tuniit' or 'Sivullirmiut'): 500 BC to 1500 AD
  • Thule Culture (Proto-Inuit): 1000 AD to 1600 AD
  • Inuit Culture (Eskimo): 1600 AD to present-day

The English name for this inlet and its community comes from the mid-1700s when British explorers charted the area while seeking the Northwest Passage. It was named after the British statesman Lord Philip Dormer Stanhope, the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, who was Secretary of State for England from 1746-1748.

Throughout the 1800s, to the beginning of the 20th century, European and American whalers visited the western Hudson Bay area regularly and often wintered at Chesterfield Inlet. They relied on the local Inuit to track bowhead and work on the whaleboats. Inuit people from across Kivalliq soon gathered at Chesterfield Inlet to seek whaling employment and trade furs for supplies.

Chesterfield Inlet is the oldest permanent settlement in the Canadian arctic, founded in 1911.

Until the 1950s it was the most populated community north of Churchill, Manitoba, serving as the Hudson Bay Company’s main supply depot for all the HBC trading posts in the area. With the biggest detachment of Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the largest Catholic mission, it soon became the commercial, medical and educational centre of the region.

In 1957, a nickel-copper mine opened at nearby Rankin Inlet and many Inuit men moved from Chesterfield Inlet to work underground there. When the mine closed down in 1962, some of these men returned to Chesterfield Inlet, but by the early 1970s Rankin Inlet had become the new regional centre of Kivalliq.

Chesterfield Inlet continues to thrive today, meeting the challenges of infrastructure and economic development while maintaining its Inuit traditions.


Activities and Wildlife

Chesterfield Inlet provides visitors with an arctic experience of a lifetime.

You can tour ancient archaeological sites, go whale watching, bird watching, fish for arctic char and lake trout, hunt caribou and view polar bears in their natural surroundings while experiencing the culture and warm hospitality of the local Inuit.

Beluga whales thrive here, as do seals and walruses, arctic foxes, lemmings and arctic hares. Explore the area on cross-country skis, by dog sled or snowmobile excursion in the winter and go boating, hiking or by ATV in the summer.

Expert local guides will escort you to the best locations for camping, hunting, fishing and sightseeing.

The Chesterfield Inlet Historic Trail shows the unique history of this area while leading you to fascinating archaeological sites nearby.

Arts and Culture

Chesterfield Inlet arts and crafts include beautifully handmade articles of Inuit clothing such as amautiit, crocheted hats and fur mitts, plus wall hangings, dolls, jewellery, soapstone and ivory carvings.


Parks

Iqalugaarjuup Nunanga Territorial Park
This historic park is located 90 kilometres (56 miles) south of Chesterfield Inlet. It was created to preserve several important archaeological sites and to conserve the habitat of loons, ducks, geese, cranes, voles, lemmings, hares, foxes, wolves, caribou, barren land grizzly and polar bears.

It remains a camping and fishing paradise from ancient times.

The Medialine River cliff area is called ‘Ijiraliq’ in Inuktitut, from Inuit legend, referring to the name of someone who turns into a whistling spirit, like a caribou.

The archaeological section of the park has numerous artifacts of the Pre-Dorset people dating from 1000 BC, plus tent rings, graves and food cache sites of the Thule people dated to 1200 AD.


Visitor Information

Chesterfield Inlet Economic Development Officer
Ph: (867) 898-9206
Fax: (867) 898-9108
Email: edo_hamlet@qiniq.com

Offices of the Hamlet of Chesterfield Inlet
Ph: (867) 898-9951
Fax: (867) 898-9108
Email: sao_hamlet@qiniq.com

chesterfield-inlet.ca


Baker Lake

Baker Lake


Baker Lake is Nunavut’s only inland community, situated on a large lake at the mouth of the Thelon Heritage River, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the exact geographic centre of Canada.

The nearby Kazan Heritage River also feeds into the same body of water.

Known as ‘Qamani’tuaq’ in Inuktitut, ‘where the river widens’ is an ancient non-coastal home location for eleven branches of the Inuit family.

The tundra landscape with its rich plant life is also home to massive herds of caribou. Baker Lake is the Kivalliq community located nearest to the great Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary, an arctic wilderness refuge created especially for muskoxen, making this gifted hamlet an excellent place for northern ecotourism adventures!

Baker Lake
ᖃᒪᓂᑦᑐᐊᖅ
'Where the river widens'

Population

1,728

Ethnic Distribution

92% Inuit

Languages

Inuktitut, English, French

Location

Longitude 96° 10’ W
Latitude 64° 20’ N
Elevation 18m

Topography

Baker Lake sits on the shore of a huge lake, surrounded in all directions by pristine tundra landscape.

Weather and Climate

Current Weather in Baker Lake

Baker Lake
-16° C -17° C

Scattered Clouds

-17° C

  • Sun

  • Mon

  • Tue

  • Wed

Sunny summertime temperatures in Baker Lake average 15°C, occasionally rising to 20°C. Bug jackets are required in the tundra wetlands because of mosquitoes. Winter temperatures can feel very cold, as low as -50°C at times because of the extreme wind chill factor. Blizzards occur throughout the fall, winter and spring months.

Average Temperature in Baker Lake
January -32oC February -32oC
March -27oC April -17oC
May -6oC June 5oC
July 11oC August 10oC
September 3oC October -8oC
November -20oC December -28oC

History

Baker Lake is home to eleven distinct Inuit groups:

  • Ahiarmiut/Ihalmiut — from the Ennadai Lake and Back River area
  • Akilinirmiut — from the Akiliniq Hills and the Thelon River area
  • Hanningajurmiut — from the Garry Lake area
  • Harvaqtuurmiut — from the Kazan River area
  • Hauniqturmiut — from Whale Cove, Sandy Point and Arviat area
  • Illuilirmiut — from the Adelaide Peninsula, Chantrey Inlet area
  • Kihlirnirmiut — from the Bathurst Inlet to Cambridge Bay area
  • Natsilingmiut — from the Taloyoak, Kugaaruk, Repulse Bay area
  • Paallirmiut — from the Baker Lake to Arviat area
  • Qaernermiut — from the Chesterfield Inlet to Whale Cove area
  • Utkuhiksalingmiut — from the Back River and Gjoa Haven area

Baker Lake was given its English name in 1761 by the British explorer William Christopher after his employer, Sir William Baker, the 11th Governor of the Hudson Bay Company (HBC).

In 1916, a permanent HBC trading post was built here, followed by the arrival of Anglican missionaries in 1927. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were present from the earliest days of the HBC trading post, but only established a police station here in 1930. A small hospital was constructed in 1957, followed by the first school in 1958.

In 2010, Agnico-Eagle Mines began operation of the Meadowbank gold mine, located 86 kilometres (53 miles) north of Baker Lake. Construction of the mine employed 300 local Inuit workers from the Kivalliq region.

The mining company helped build cellular telephone towers that connect the hamlet of Baker Lake to the Northwestel cell phone network. The arrival of hundreds of gold mine workers from across Canada has also greatly increased tourism in this region.


Activities and Wildlife

Outdoor enthusiasts who visit Baker Lake enjoy a range of activities that are very popular here, such as hiking, camping, canoeing, hunting, fishing, dog sledding and snowmobile riding.

The flowering tundra wetlands, freshwaters and fertile valleys of the Kazan and Thelon Heritage Rivers support an abundance of wildlife including muskoxen, caribou, arctic hares, jackrabbits, arctic foxes, arctic wolves, wolverines, marmots (‘siksiks’), geese and lake trout. A fishing derby is held in May.

Local celebrations with traditional games and feasts take place in early May and at Christmas.

Arts and Culture

Baker Lake is home to talented carvers, printmakers, jewellers and seamstresses producing artworks and handicrafts that include wall hangings, basalt sculptures, stone cut prints, specialized tools and caribou skin clothing.

The Jessie Ooonark Arts and Crafts Centre is an art studio and sales outlet for local carving, printmaking, sewing and jewellery. The Pangnakit facility produces handmade clothing, footwear and tools. The Inuit Heritage Centre records oral histories recited by elders, teaches traditional culture and way of life to Inuit youth and also showcases a large collection of art and historical artifacts, including special displays on loan from other museums.

Inuit Heritage Centre

Ph: (867) 793-2598
Email: inuitheritagecentre@hotmail.com
www.museevirtuel-virtualmuseum.ca/GetMuseumProfile.do?lang=fr&chinCode=guihc

Pangnaktit Facility

Contact: Jacob Ikinilik
Ph: (867) 793-2406

Jessie Oonark Arts and Crafts Centre

Ph: (867) 793-2428
Fax: (867) 793-2429
Email: jessie_ndc@qiniq.com
www.ndcorp.nu.ca/ndc/subs_artsandcrafts/jessieoonark


Parks

Inuujaarvik Territorial Park

Inuujaarvik Territorial Park is a pleasant campground area that provides a pretty place to stay when visiting this region. Located close to Baker Lake, it is an ideal location for canoeists wishing to explore the nearby Thelon and Kazan Heritage Rivers.

 

Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary

The Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary is an enormous arctic oasis that straddles the border of Nunavut with the Northwest Territories of Canada. It is the largest wildlife refuge on the North American continent, with 52,000 square kilometres (20,077 square miles) of protected lands for muskoxen, caribou, geese and grizzly bears.


Visitor Information

Vera Akumalik Visitors Centre

Ph: (867) 793-2456
Fax: (867) 793-2175
Email: kivalliqtourism@qiniq.com

Offices of the Hamlet of Baker Lake

Ph: (867) 793-2874
Email: blsao@netkaster.ca

www.bakerlake.ca


Arviat

Arviat


Arviat is a traditional Inuit hamlet located on the western coast of Hudson Bay, the southernmost mainland community of Nunavut.

Arviarmiut (‘people of Arviat’) are a mix of Caribou Inuit bands with inland and coastal traditions.

Arviat’s tundra lands, lakes, rivers and seawaters are rich in wildlife. Pods of beluga whales are often seen in the many small bays near the community.

Thundering herds of migrating caribou are found inland and polar bears migrate along the coast. The prized sculptures and carvings made by Arviat artists are unique amongst the Inuit, using an extremely tough local stone. The community has highly skilled seamstresses producing articles of sealskin clothing that are popular in all of Nunavut, but Arviat is perhaps most famous in the territory for its gifted musical artists, including Charlie Panigoniak and Susan Aglukark.

Arviat
ᐊᕐᕕᐊᑦ
'Place of the bowhead whale'

Population

2,800

Ethnic Distribution

92% Inuit

Languages

Inuktitut, English

Location

Longitude 94° 04’ W
Latitude 61° 07’ N
Elevation 10m

Topography

Arviat's landscape is known for its flat tundra expanses, stretching as far as you can see, with glaciated eskers, gravel ridges, patches of sand, innumerable small lakes and an extensive series of rivers. Arviat is situated 90 kilometres (56 miles) north of the tree line. In summertime the land bursts into colour with tiny flowers, lichens, willow bushes and mosses. In the fall the landscape changes hue, with patches of orange, red and yellow.

Weather and Climate

Current Weather in Arviat

Arviat
-12° C -18° C

Clear Sky

-18° C

  • Sun

  • Mon

  • Tue

  • Wed

The pleasant summer days of July and August have temperatures averaging between 15°C and 20°C.

The first snowfall usually occurs in October. January, February and March are the coldest winter months, when blizzards happen and the temperature can drop to -35°C. With winter wind chill it can feel like -50°C. Bright sunny days grow steadily longer and longer from April through June.

Average Temperature in Arviat
January -30oC February -28oC
March -23oC April -14oC
May -4oC June 4oC
July 10oC August 10oC
September 4oC October -3oC
November -16oC December -25oC

History

Arviat’s name is derived from the Inuktitut word ‘arviq’ meaning ‘bowhead whale’ because the nearby coastal landscape resembles the shape of this gigantic marine mammal.

Earlier in history, this location was known as ‘Tikirajualaaq’ meaning ‘a little long point’ and it was also called ‘Ittaliurvik’ meaning ‘a place where the people make tents.’ Thule ancestors of the Inuit lived here in 1000 AD.

  • Thule Culture (Proto-Inuit): 1000 AD to 1600 AD
  • Inuit Culture (Eskimo): 1600 AD to present-day

The coast of Hudson Bay near Arviat was a traditional summer hunting location for a subgroup of the largest band of Caribou Inuit, the Paallirmiut (‘people of the willow’). Their ancient camping grounds, located eight kilometres (five miles) from present-day Arviat, were designated a National Historic Site in 1995.

When the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) set up a trading post here in 1921 they called it Eskimo Point.

The HBC post attracted Inuit to the area, as arctic fox were plentiful and trapping was a profitable trade.

Catholic and Anglican missions arrived in 1924 and 1926. Caribou migration patterns changed in the late 1920s, making them difficult to hunt. At the same time the market for furs collapsed, creating hardship for many groups of inland Inuit — especially the Paallirmiut, the Tahiuharmiut (a subgroup of Paallirmiut) and the Ihalmiut (also called Ahiarmiut). The Ihalmiut were the hardest hit. The churches provided relief and medical help.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police established a permanent RCMP station here in 1937, which brought stability and governance. Famine and disease struck this region in the 1940s and persisted until the late 1950s when the Government of Canada resettled a group of Ihalmiut (‘people from beyond’) from Ennadai Lake to Eskimo Point. A federal day school was built in 1959, followed by a medical clinic in 1960, marking the beginning years of permanent settlement.

The English name of Eskimo Point was changed to Arviat on June 1, 1989.


Activities and Wildlife

Venturing out on the land on cross-country skis, by dog sled, snowmobile or ATV, is a great way to enjoy the natural serenity and breathtaking views of this place.

The spring and summer months are the best time to explore the vast landscape.

Fishing is very popular here; you can catch lake trout, grayling and arctic char. At various times of the year there are dog team races, snowmobile races, igloo building competitions and the Inuumariit Music Festival.

A pleasant summer excursion is a short boat ride from Arviat to the Arvia’juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk National Historic Site, the summer home of the ancient Paallirmiut people. Another notable landmark is the Whale’s Tail Monument where you can enjoy splendid views of Arviat and its surroundings.

Wildlife is abundant in the region, with hundreds of thousands of birds, including sandpipers, arctic terns, jaegers, plovers, ducks, swans, cranes, loons, ptarmigans, gyrfalcons, peregrine falcons, snowy owls and snow geese.

There are arctic ground squirrels, arctic hares and arctic foxes to be found nearby. Farther inland there are lots of caribou. Along the coast and at the floe edge you can view herds of seals, pods of beluga whales and celebrations of polar bears.

Michelle Valberg

Arts and Culture

Arviat has strong musical roots and traditions. It is the home of renowned Inuit performers Charlie Panigoniak and Susan Aglukark. For ten days in October, Arviat hosts the Inuumariit Music Festival.

Inuumariit Music Festival
An annual event held at the Mark Kalluak Hall that brings the entire community together to enjoy the music of Nunavut.
Ph: (867) 857-2880/2841

Arviat has some very talented carvers and seamstresses.

The local carving stone is a metamorphic rock that geologists say is harder than steel!

Carvings made of this uncompromising material are stylistically unique to Arviat artists, often depicting themes of family, maternity and humanity. Be sure to visit the Kiluk store, which features a beautiful line of handmade sealskin products, including mitts and jackets that are much sought after.

Arviat Carvers Society
Contact: Community Economic Development Officer
Ph: (867) 857-2841

Kiluk Ltd.
Contact: Sherlyn Kadjuk
Ph: (867) 857-2713
Fax: (867) 857-2714
Email: kiluk_ltd@arctic.ca


Parks

Arvia’juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk National Historic Site
This national historic site is located eight kilometres (five miles) from Arviat on the western shore of Hudson Bay. This sacred place is comprised of two parts: Arvia’juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk.

Arvia’juaq is an island — Sentry Island — that was the traditional summer camp of the ancient Paallirmiut people who hunted the abundant marine wildlife resources to be found here. The island contains many ritual and spiritual sites.

Qikiqtaarjuk is a narrow point of land projecting into Hudson Bay from the mainland immediately adjacent to the island of Arvia’juaq. Qikiqtaarjuk contains tent rings, food cache sites, kayak stands and graves from the summer occupancy of generations of Paallirmiut.

McConnell River Migratory Bird Sanctuary
The McConnell River Migratory Bird Sanctuary is located 27 kilometres (17 miles) south of Arviat. It is a Ramsar designated Wetlands of International Importance, where 250,000 migratory birds make their arctic homes in the rich marshes that surround the mouth of the McConnell River. It is a great place to watch large breeding populations of nesting waterfowl and lesser snow geese.


Visitor Information

Margaret Aniksak Visitors Centre
Featuring interpretive exhibits of the local culture.
Ph: (867) 857-2366
Fax: (867) 857-2519
Email: kivalliqtourism@qiniq.com

Offices of the Hamlet of Arviat
Ph: (867) 857-2841
Email: arviatsao@qiniq.com
www.arviat.ca

Tourism Office
Run by the Hamlet of Arviat, this facility provides advice to visitors for activities such as dog sledding and snowmobile trips to see polar bears and beluga whales, to go fishing for arctic char and lake trout, or to hunt seals and caribou.
Ph: (867) 857-2921
Email: info@visitarviat.ca (or) arviat.tourism@gmail.com