Located north of the Arctic Circle, between the Canadian mainland and Baffin Island, Igloolik is situated on a small island in Foxe Basin just off the northeast corner of Melville Peninsula. Spelled 'Iglulik' in Inuktitut, this vibrantly artistic community is considered to be a cultural epicentre for the Inuit people. Although it is part of the Qikiqtaaluk region of Nunavut, the community has a mix of cultural traditions from all three regions, including Kitikmeot and Kivalliq. The award-winning movie ‘Atanarjuat — The Fast Runner’ was produced and filmed here. Igloolik is also home to Artcirq, the only Inuit circus troupe in the world, and each summer the hamlet hosts the Rockin' Walrus Arts Festival. This gifted little island, inhabited 4,000 years ago, is an ideal place to visit for an authentic arctic adventure, to go dog sledding, to view whales, to visit an iceberg, to experience the Inuit way of life and enjoy the Northern Lights.
- Ethnic distribution
- 95% Inuit
- Inuktitut, English
Longitude 81° 48’ W
Latitude 69° 23’ N
Mostly flat terrain.
Igloolik summers have 24-hour daylight from May 18 to July 26, with long days of nice sunny weather lasting to mid-August. The snow and ice disappear by July. Summer temperatures range from 8°C to 15°C. In November, regular snowfalls begin and the sea ice forms. Winter temperatures hover around -30°C, but in January the temperature can sometimes feel like -50°C with the extreme wind-chill here.
As evidenced at nearby archaeological sites, Dorset people lived here 4,000 years ago. Iglulik Inuit are the Iglulingmiut, Aivilingmiut and Tununirmiut people. Their first contact with Europeans was not until 1822, when two British Navy ships wintered in Igloolik. In 1867, the year Canada was born, the American explorer Charles Francis Hall visited Igloolik in his search for survivors of the lost Franklin Expedition. A French-Canadian mineral prospector named Tremblay of the Bernier Expedition visited the island in 1913. In 1921, a member of Knud Rasmussen's Fifth Thule Expedition also visited here. The first permanent presence of southerners came with the establishment of a Roman Catholic Mission here in the 1930s. It had the one-and-only radio in Igloolik. By the end of that decade, the Hudson Bay Company had founded a trading post on the island. Igloolik was one of the first communities in the High Arctic to get other permanent non-indigenous establishments such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, day schools and medical facilities.
Activities & Wildlife
The creative community of Igloolik is a cultural hub of Nunavut that comes alive in the summer months — when the sun never sets — with music festivals and circus performances. The land becomes dappled with colourful flowers and numerous birds flock to the area, including loons, geese, eider ducks, jaegers, plovers, snow buntings and snowy owls. Icebergs drift past the island through the narrows of Fury and Hecla Strait, which also funnels migrating beluga and bowhead whales, herds of walrus and pods of narwhal to within easy viewing distance. There are ancient Dorset archaeological sites nearby, to be visited with extreme care and respect. In the springtime, when there is still lots of snow and the sea ice is rock solid, there are many enjoyable opportunities to go out 'onto the land' by dog sled or snowmobile expedition, to camp in an igloo or climb upon an iceberg. Expert local guides are happy to escort you and your family safely across the snow and ice, lands and waters that make this place so special. In early April, you are also invited to participate in feasts of local foods and traditional Inuit games that celebrate Igloolik becoming a hamlet.
Arts & Culture
Balancing the ancient with the modern, the fine arts of the future with the greatest traditions of the past, this highly creative island community is rich in Inuit culture.
Famous Igloolik arctic circus troupe that performed during the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Home of renowned Igloolik film director Zacharias Kunuk and the epic Inuit movie 'Atanarjuat — The Fast Runner' (based on an ancient Inuit legend) that won the prestigious Caméra d'Or award at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.
Rockin' Walrus Arts Festival
An annual Igloolik festival of music, dance, acrobatic and theatrical performances that takes place in mid-to-late June.
There are no territorial or national parks located near Igloolik, only pristine lands and pure waters with abundant arctic wildlife species.