Difference between revisions of "Nunavut"
Revision as of 22:15, 4 July 2014
Nunavut (Inuktitut: ᓄᓇᕗᑦ)  is an extensive territory in the far North of Canada, located east of the Northwest Territories (of which it used to be part), north of the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, and west of the Danish territory of Greenland. Nunavut comprises a large portion of the northern tip of the North American continent and a large number of islands on Hudson Bay and the Arctic Ocean. Alert on Ellesmere Island is the northernmost settlement in the world. Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island in the world although it does have a cemetery...the world's northernmost.
Until the end of World War II The Canadian far north was seen as a barren and desolate place, inhabited by indigenous peoples and containing vast mineral resources that have yet to be exploited. At the end the Canadian government began to realize its strategic importance. In 1982, after much debate and arguement it was decided to divide the Northwest territories into Nunavut and the former. On April 1, 1999 Nunavut came into existence.
Nunavut means our land in Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit.
It is one of the most sparsely populated regions of the world - fewer than 30,000 people in an area the size of Western Europe. The immense territory includes most of Canada's Arctic Islands, from Baffin Island in the territory's southeast, where the capital Iqaluit is located, to Ellesmere Island a few hundred kilometers from the North Pole. The territory also includes all of the islands in Hudson Bay.
Inuktitut is the first official language, and is spoken by nearly 70% of the population as a first language. Inuktitut is the traditional language spoken by the Inuit people, and is closely related to the Greenlandic language of Greenland. It is a somewhat hard language to learn for the English speaker, and most English speaking people won’t even be able to read it because it is written in its own unique script. Learning the script is actually relatively easy to do.
English is widely spoken; around 25% of the population speak English as their native language, and most of the rest speak it as their second or third.
French and Inuinnaqtun, whilst being official languages, may also be useful. That being said, fewer than 400 people speak each language in Nunavut, and are thus not necessary for the casual traveller.
Around 8% of the population of Nunavut do not speak English or French, hence in the more remote places an Inuktitut phrasebook may be necessary.
Access is only by air - there is no road or rail from the south, and consequently prices are rather expensive owing to the difficulty of shipping goods in.
In the smaller communities (less than 3000), ATVs and trucks are used during the short summer (when there is no snow).
In the winter, snowmobiles are the main way of getting around. Dog sleds are also used but owning and maintaining a dog team can be a very costly endeavor. Getting to and from the different communities can only be done by air as there are very few roads the further north you get.
Bird Watching -- Avid birdwatchers visiting Nunavut enjoy viewing exotic arctic avian species that are not found in temperate or tropical latitudes. The opportunities are extensive and exciting, including the chance to witness some of the largest nesting colonies on Earth.
Nunavut has over 100 species of birds, nearly all of which are migratory species — with only the raven, the snowy owl and the ptarmigan spending the winter in permanent residence.
There is a KFC express in Iqaluit. Some towns may offer small restaurants, or coffee shops. Try some traditional Inuit such as raw seal meat. For many Inuits, hunting is still the primary way of acquiring food, so many northern foods such as Arctic Char and Caribou meat can be bought from local hunters, and cooked. The main grocers are Co-Op, and Northern, a common grocery for Northern Territories. Because all food must be shipped in from planes, be prepared to pay unusually high prices for perishables, such as milk and fruit/vegetables.
The legal drinking age is 19.
Keep in mind, there is a drinking problem in Nunavut, but there are tight restrictions in place. The Nunavut Liquor Commission regulates the distribution, purchase, and sale of alcoholic beverages in the territory. Before, there were no retail locations for purchasing alcohol, all purchases had be made by mail to the agency. But now alcohol can be purchased in government-ran liquor stores, but there is only one licensed store available, and it's in Iqaluit  .
DO NOT bring bootlegged alcohol in Nunavut, fines have been increased to CAN$100,000 for doing so.
Beware of Polar Bears wandering around in populated and un-populated areas.