Nunavut is a Territory that is diverse in both geography and culture. In a land as great as Nunavut, this diversity is inevitable and will give you a wide range of unforgettable experiences with the land and the people. From the incredible fiords and mountains of the Qikiqtani Region, to the rolling tundra and big rivers and lakes of the Kivalliq and Kitikmeot region, there is a wealth of possibilities in Nunavut.
The territory consists of three regions: the Qikiqtani (Baffin) Region, the Kivalliq and Kitikmeot Regions. These regions are marked by stark differences in geography and more subtle differences in culture. The environment and wildlife in the regions have led to differences in diet and hunting techniques as well as dialects of Inuktitut.
However, you will find there is a strong tradition of welcoming in each of the regions, and the Inuit of each region will delight in sharing their traditions with you.
When you close your eyes and imagine the Arctic, you are likely picturing the hamlet of Arctic Bay. Nestled snugly amidst stunning mountains, Arctic Bay is a traditional community heavily reliant on hunting, fishing, and tourism, It provides visitors with a wide range of Arctic experiences- Inuit culture and tradition, rare Arctic wildlife, and awe-inspiring scenery.
Located on the western shores of Hudson’s Bay, Arviat has become the premier destination for viewing Nunavut’s treasured wildlife. In Inuktitut, Arviat means ‘place of the bowhead whale’. Arviat is also reknown for caribou, beluga whales, bird watching, and polar bears.
Baker Lake’s Inuktitut name is Qamani’tuaq, means “ where the river widens”, those who experience canoeing the great Arctic rivers – the Thelon and the Kazan - know that this is true: Baker Lake is ‘where the river widens’ having reached their final destination.
Cambridge Bay, in Inuktitut ‘Ikalutuuttiaq’, means ‘good fishing place’, has been a gathering place for Inuit for over 4000 years. Today, Cambridge Bay continues to welcome Inuit and visitors alike, embracing the traditions of the past while building for the future.
Inuit have congregated in the area for over 3000 years, drawn by the wildlife that provided the necessities of life. The ancient Dorest people are referred to as 'Tuniit' or 'Sivullirmiut' in Inuktitut and historians believe that the Dorset Culture people were perhaps the first North Americans ever encountered by Europeans who visited Baffin Island sometime before 1000 AD. The Dorset people became extinct by 1500 AD, however mystical traces of them are still visible while hiking Mallikjuaq or Dorset Island.
Chesterfield Inlet, located on the northwestern coast of Hudson Bay, is the oldest established community in Nunavut. The Inuktitut name is Igluligaarjuk 'Place with a few Thule Houses’). There are archaeological sites where the ancient Dorset peoples (500BC – 1,500AD) are believed to have camped in the summers.
There is a special magic in the air around Clyde River. Its Inuktitut name, Kangitugaapik meaning ‘nice little inlet’, belies its stunning beauty and its importance to Inuit for nearly 2000 years.
Coral Harbour, in Inuktitut Salliq meaning ‘large flat island in front of the mainland’ is located on Southampton Island at the north end of Hudson Bay. It has been a traditional meeting place for Inuit since 500 BC because of the abundance of marine life and migratory birds. It is the base for the best walrus and whale viewing at nearby Coats Island.
Gjoa Haven is located on the southeast coast of King William Island at the heart of the Northwest Passage. It is also called Uqsuqtuuk which means ‘place of plenty blubber’ in Inuktitut. The name Gjoa is named after Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen’s ship during his expedition through the Northwest Passage.
Grise Fiord, also known as Aujuittuq in Inuktitut meaning ‘place that never thaws’, nestles amongst majestic mountains at the end of a stunning fiord. As one of the the most isolated communities in the North, the people of Grise Fiord have overcome hardship to establish a home in one of the most beautiful parts of Canada.
Called Sanirajaq, meaning ‘the shoreline’, the Inuit of Hall Beach have enjoyed and benefitted from the abundance of marine life, including walruses and beluga whales for thousands of years.
Millions of people from around the world were captivated by the stark beauty of the Igloolik area through the award-winning films of Igloolik-based Isuma Productions. These films tell many stories of Inuit life and the connections with Europeans, but what they subtly showcase is the tremendous cultural knowledge of the people that reside in Igloolik- hunters, storytellers, keepers of traditional knowledge. When you visit Igloolik you feel as you are entering the spirit of Inuit culture.
Canada’s newest capital will provide you with a fascinating glimpse of the Nunavut territory and its ever-changing culture. The bustling capital is a modern Inuit community, home to Inuit people from around the Territory as well as proud newcomers from around the world.
If you are looking for the heart of Nunavut, look no further than Kimmirut, which means “the heel’ in Inuktitut, a reference to the shape of a hill near the community.
The Inuit of Kugaaruk (Inuktitut for ‘little stream’) were amongst the last indigenous peoples in North America to have contact with Europeans in the latter part of the 19th century. Inuit have lived in the area for thousands of years as this was an important place for both caribou and sea mammal hunting.
Kugluktuk will provide you with a unique Nunavut experience that is hard to forget. In the local Inuinnaqtun dialect, Qurluktuk means ‘place of moving water’, which is a very good description of a community tied closely to the magnificent Coppermine River.
A nature lover’s dream, Naujaat,meaning seagull nesting place, is a must see destination located right on the Arctic Circle. The gateway to Ukkusiksalik National Park, Naujaat is home to almost all arctic animals - polar bears, narwhal, bowhead whales, and seals.
Nowhere else in the Arctic is the absolute majesty of the land, and the rhythms of Inuit life as accessible as Pangnirtung. Also known as Pangniqtuuq in Inuktitut,meaning ‘place of bull caribou’, it is the southern community gateway to Auyuittuq National Park.
Pond Inlet (Mittimatalik - Place where Mitima is buried) is renowned for its scenery. Located at the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage on the Eclipse Sound and overlooking famous Bylot Island, mountain ranges are viewable in all directions and icebergs often dot the ocean.
Located at the northern entrance to Auyuittuq National Park, Qikiqtarjuaq is a welcoming and picturesque community. Qikiqtarjuaq is the Inuktitut word meaning ‘big island’.
Rankin Inlet, also known as Kangiqtiniq in Inuktitut meaning ‘deep inlet’, is a modern and vibrant community that is a blend of cultures and traditions. This mixture of Inuit and European culture, the old and the new economy, and the blending of Inuit from many tribal backgrounds led to a generation of prominent leaders that started the movement towards creation of the Nunavut territory.
Resolute Bay is one of the most fascinating communities in Nunavut. Because of the long winter night in the extreme north of Nunavut, its Inuktitut name is Qausuittuq meaning ‘place with no dawn.’
Sanikiluaq is Nunavut’s southern-most community, located in the Belcher Islands of southeastern Hudson’s Bay. Its isolation from other Nunavut communities and its proximity to Northern Quebec makes Sanikiluaq uniquely different.
Taloyoak (Inuktitut for ‘Large Caribou Hunting Blind’) is a unique community, defined by the strength of the people and the ruggedness of the land. Formerly called Spence Bay, Taloyoak provides you with glimpses into Inuit culture and wildlife.
Whale Cove is located on a long point of land extending into Hudson’s Bay. The Inuktitut name, Tikirarjuaq meaning ‘long point’, reflects this geography. The English name, Whale Cove refers to the many beluga whales that congregate off the coast every fall.
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Nunavut is a place that will awaken and inspire you. Explore our communities and experience tourism offerings like nowhere else.
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What's on your travel bucket list? Experience the rare and unique arctic wildlife. Take a ride on a dog sled across ancient Inuit hunting trails. Witness centuries-old traditions in modern time. All of this is possible in Nunavut.