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Flag of Nunavut.svg
Quick Facts
Capital Iqaluit
Government Canadian Federal Territory
Currency Canadian Dollar ($) (CAD)
Area 787,155 km2
Population 31,906(2011 est)
Language Official:Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, English, French
Religion Anglican 58%, Roman Catholic 23%, Penecostal 4%, Other 15%
Electricity 120V/60Hz (North American plug)
Time Zone UTC -5, UTC -6, and UTC -7

Nunavut (Inuktitut: ᓄᓇᕗᑦ) [7] 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.



Other destinations[edit]

  • Resolute Bay - the 2nd most northern community in the world and a cultural tourist attraction. Flights available to Resolute Bay on Cornwallis Island can be taken from Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet.



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, even islands from Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and even Newfoundland and Labrador.


A 'Stop' sign in Iqaluit.

The official languages of Nunavut are Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun, English and French.

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, 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.

Get in[edit]

Access to civilization 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.

Nunavut territory includes all of the islands of the Hudson Bay and James Bay. From Chisasibi, Quebec (which is linked via the remote James Bay road to the rest of North America), you aren't far from a couple of the many scattered uninhabited islands of Nunavut that can be reached in a short distance via boat or raft.

Get around[edit]

In the all the communities besides Iqaluit, 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.

See[edit][add listing]

Do[edit][add listing]

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.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

Iqaluit has a number of restaurants from Tim Horton's up to fine dining at some of the hotels. There is a KFC express in Iqaluit. Some towns may offer small restaurants, or coffee shops. Try some traditional food, such as raw seal meat. For many Inuit, 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. The main grocers are ‘Co-Op’, and ‘Northern’, a common grocery for Northern Territories. Because all food must be shipped in by plane, be prepared to pay unusually high prices for perishables, such as milk and fruit/vegetables, and heavier items, like canned goods. There are many Northern Store locations across Nunavut, including Arctic Bay, Pond Inlet, Igloolik, Taloyoak, Hall Beach, Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Haven, Kugluktuk, Baker Lake, Rankin Inlet, Chesterfield Inlet, Arviat, and Repulse Bay to name a few.

Drink[edit][add listing]

The legal drinking age is 19.

Keep in mind, alcohol laws are by far the strictest of any province or territory in Canada. The Nunavut Liquor Commission (NULC) 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-run liquor stores, but there is only one licensed store available, and it's in Iqaluit. When visiting the store, you must fill out a form to open an account that will be used to track your purchase history. The amount of alcohol you can purchase at one time is limited, up to a maximum of 3 bottles of wine or 12 cans of beer, or a mixed order where 1 bottle of wine is equivalent to 4 cans of beer.

You may bring your own alcohol to unrestricted communities, and if you wish to bring more than the personal carry amount, you can purchase an import permit.

If you're in a restricted community and you wish to import alcohol, you must get approval from the community's alcohol education committee (AEC). The AEC has the right to set the size of your order, so there's an unlikely chance of getting a box load of beer delivered to you, if you aren't denied.

In many communities, such as Pangnirtung, alcohol is prohibited. A full list of alcohol restricted and prohibited communities can be found on the NULC website.

DO NOT bring bootlegged alcohol into Nunavut. Fines have been increased to CAD100 000 for doing so.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Accommodations by the Sea, Iqaluit, +1-867-979-6074, [1]. from $149.  edit
  • Capital Suites, Iqaluit, +1-867-975-4000, [2]. from $200.  edit
  • Discovery Lodge Hotel, Iqaluit, +1-867-979-4433, [3]. from $240.  edit
  • Frobisher Inn, Iqaluit, +1-867-979-2222, [4]. from $210.  edit
  • Hotel Arctic, Iqaluit, +1-867-979-6684, [5]. from $220.  edit
  • Navigator Inn, Iqaluit, +1-867-979-6201.  edit
  • Inns North, Arviat, Baker Lake, Cambridge Bay, Chesterfield Inlet, Gjoa Haven, Hall Beach, Igloolik, Kimmirut, Kugaaruk, Pangnirtung, Pond Inlet, Qikiqtarjuaq, Rankin Inlet, Repulse Bay, Resolute Bay, Sanikiluaq, Whale Cove, [6]. $200 to $300 per bed.  edit

Stay safe[edit]

Be aware of polar bears wandering around, even in town. Be especially careful near garbage dumps and in unpopulated areas.

Dress for the weather. Summers are beautiful but brief, and water will always be quite cold. Be prepared to take care of yourself if you go out on the land.

Get out[edit]

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