Coral Harbour

Coral Harbour

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

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.

Community Snapshot

Ethnic distribution
97% Inuit
Inuktitut, English

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


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


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.


cape-dorset-tuniit-sivulirmiutSallirmiut ('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 & 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 & 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



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: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Arctic Kingdom Expeditions
Arctic Kingdom Expeditions

Graham Dickson

PO Box 6117, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0

416.322.7066 | 1.888.737.6818


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More info ˅˄
Arctic Kingdom is the global leader in land-based travel, custom experiences and logistics in the Arctic. Unparalleled expertise in Arctic wildlife and habitat, and unmatched access, built through years of experience and deep-rooted relationships with local Inuit communities, allows Arctic Kingdom to provide the most incredible Arctic experiences in safety and comfort. Arctic Kingdom uniquely offers polar bear viewing in every season throughout the year, as well as exclusive opportunities to safely see narwhal, bowhead whales, walrus, and even polar diving. From scheduled Arctic safaris, to private journeys, and logistic support for film & TV productions, Arctic Kingdom has been crafting legendary Arctic adventures for almost 20 years.
Far Horizons
Far Horizons

Carole Gobeil

6-2868 Hwy 43, RR1, Kemptville, ON, K0G 1J0

800.298.6607 x 204

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More info ˅˄
Far Horizons is an established retail and wholesale tour operator, since 1986, customizing unique and original travel packages to exotic destinations for travelers from around the world. Carole Gobeil joined the company in 2015 as their polar travel specialist. Carole has been traveling in the Arctic since 2005 and has a great passion for the North, She is fully bilingual, English and French. She escorts small personalized groups to the Arctic and builds packages suited to one's specific needs and desires.
First Air
First Air

PO Box 477, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0



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Scheduled, cargo and charter passenger flights to and within the NWT, Nunavut and Nunavik.  Main gateways:  Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Iqaluit and Yellowknife.  26 destinations in the North with over 20 aircraft.  All scheduled First Air flights earn Aeroplan points.  Charter air service also available worldwide.
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Keewatin Air LP

Nicole Rebeck

PO Box 658 , Iqaluit, X0A 0H0

867.979.2790 | 1.877.879.8477


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Keewatin Air offers air charter services throughout the entire Nunavut Territory, in addition to to our world-renowned medivac services. For an amazing tour of the Iqaluit area, our 1 hour sight-seeing tours are extremely popular. Contact us today for your free quote.
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Leonie's Place

Leonie Duffy

PO Box 123, Coral Harbour, X0C 0C0



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Accommodates 15 people in 8 rooms, shared accommodations have private shower/washroom & TV. One room has private bath, small fridge and TV. Common room has large screen TV, books, and couches. Meals are extra. Non-smoking. Winner of Nunavut Tourism's 2009 Hans Aaronson Bursary for Excellence in Entrepreneurship.
Nunavut Parks and Special Places
Nunavut Parks and Special Places

P.O. Box 1000, Station 1340, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0



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Pinnguaq Association

Ryan Oliver

PO Box 523, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0


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More info ˅˄
Pinnguaq means "Play" in Inuktitut and with office now in Nunavut, Ontario and B.C. we have a mandate to create interactive experiences that push both the limits of technology and cultural expression. Whether focused on film, virtual reality, gaming, education or application development we combine a passion for culture and technology to both stimulate and entertain.

Ellen Hamilton

PO Box 383, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0


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Qaggiavuut is a non-profit society to strengthen, promote, advocate and create space for Nunavut performing artists with a focus on Inuit. Our work includes advocacy for a Nunavut Performing Arts Center, training and promotion of Nunavut performers, children's performing arts programs, create new Inuit language performance work and preserving traditional Inuit performing arts.
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Tabagari, Taylor & Johnson

Max Johnson

70 Algonquin Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, R2G 2H3


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More info ˅˄
TTJ Tourism provides community-based tourism consultancy services. We additionally offer individualized marketing and sales strategies, and work with companies, hamlets, regional organizations and government to develop and implement tourism strategies.
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