Rankin Inlet

Rankin Inlet / Kangiqtiniq - Deep inlet

Rankin Inlet / Kangiqtiniq - ᑲᖏᖅᖠᓂᖅ - 'Deep inlet'

Also known as 'Kangiqtiniq' in Inuktitut, which means ‘deep inlet,’ the busy, modern community of Rankin Inlet is the centre of government for Kivalliq. It is the largest, most entrepreneurial hamlet of this territorial region, the business and transportation hub, which serves as the central Canadian gateway into Nunavut. With its large volume of commercial traffic streaming through its airport, combined with a history of regional government, mining and scientific exploration activity, Rankin Inlet has developed a highly skilled workforce. It is located on the large, deep inlet for which it is named, on the mainland of Canada at the northwestern corner of Hudson Bay. Rankin Inlet is well known for its artworks, especially Inuit ceramic arts, but it is also famous because the first Inuk athlete to ever play professional hockey in the NHL grew up here — Jordin Tootoo — right winger, player number 22 ('too too') with the Nashville Predators, a great role model for Inuit kids.

Community Snapshot

Ethnic distribution
80% Inuit
Inuktitut, English

Longitude 92° 00’ W
Latitude 62° 52’ N
Elevation 28m


Rankin Inlet is nestled in rolling hills with flat areas and intricate rock formations. It has tundra valleys filled with tiny wildflowers in the summertime and wind-sculpted snowdrifts in the winter.


Sunny summer temperatures can reach 20°C. The breakup of sea ice occurs in mid-July, with patches of rain or fog during the spring and fall months. Winter temperatures, with wind-chill, can fall to -50°C. High winds, blizzards and ice fogs are frequent. The sea ice freezes over in October.


rankin-inlet-historyAncestors of the Inuit people inhabited this area for many centuries. At nearby Iqalugaarjuup Nunanga Territorial Park there are some Pre-Dorset archaeological sites dating from 1000 BC to 500 BC, plus several Thule sites dated to 1200 AD.

  • Pre-Dorset Culture ('Saqqaq'): 2500 BC to 500 BC
  • 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

The ancient Thule people were bowhead whale hunters. Caribou Inuit people, who hunted barren-ground caribou inland and fished for arctic char along the coast, in the Diane and Meliadine Rivers, eventually succeeded them.

Regular contact with Europeans began in the late 17th century when the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) started fur trading in the Rankin Inlet area. The ill-fated HBC expedition led by British Captain James Knight in 1719 shipwrecked in a cove on nearby Marble Island. Some of the survivors lived until 1721. Contact with European and American whalers was constant throughout the 19th century. Outsider contact then continued with fur traders and trappers of prized, pure white arctic fox pelts into the early 20th century, followed by the arrival of Christian missionaries who introduced the written language system of Inuktitut syllabics to the local Inuit.

The settlement of Rankin Inlet was founded in 1957 by the owners of the Rankin Inlet Mine. Deep underground reserves of nickel and copper ore were mined until 1962. Three quarters of the 500 Inuit residents of Rankin Inlet were miners. After the mine closed down that year, some unsuccessful attempts to develop alternate sources of income for the community ensued, including a pig ranch in 1969 and a chicken farm in the 1970s. These animals were fed a locally made fishmeal that, unfortunately, gave the meat an unpleasant flavour. Plus, it was far too common an occurrence for the animals to freeze to death in winter or be eaten by polar bears, so both of these animal farm ventures were abandoned.

Fortunately, however, traditional hunting skills kept Inuit families fed and clothed. Located close to Rankin Inlet is the Meliadine River, which the ancient Pre-Dorset, Thule and modern Inuit people have all used as a great place for fishing arctic char, grayling and trout. There are herds of caribou nearby, ringed seals are abundant, plus it is one of the best-known whaling sites in the north.

Nowadays, Rankin Inlet stands poised to become a bustling mining centre once again. Recent geophysical mineral explorations nearby have discovered huge deposits of gold and diamonds! Large-scale industrial mining operations for the extraction and processing of these precious local resources are expected to begin full operation within the next few years.

Activities & Wildlife

Visitors can experience a wide variety of fun outdoor activities that are very popular locally, including dog sledding, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, kite skiing, hiking, camping, kayaking, canoeing, hunting, fishing and berry picking. In addition, there are some beautiful ancient archaeological sites to visit nearby at the Meliadine River in Iqalugaarjuup Nunanga Territorial Park, which has a well-marked walking trail. Local marine wildlife species to view include seals, walruses and beluga whales. On land you will find arctic foxes, marmots ('siksik') and caribou, plus many species of birds and, sometimes, a wandering polar bear. The wildlife office in Rankin Inlet will provide you with detailed information about local flora and fauna, plus hunting and fishing regulations. The local people are the best guides for exploring this place on land, ice or open water. You are also cordially invited to participate in the local celebrations: In the spring, Rankin Inlet celebrates 'Pakallak Tyme' with traditional games, competitions, snowmobile races, dancing and community feasts to enjoy!

Arts & Culture

Rankin Inlet is home to talented artists and craftspeople and it is famous as the only Inuit fine-arts ceramics producer in the world. Local artists work in a variety of media including ceramics, prints, bronze castings, carvings, watercolours and drawings. The primary place in town for you to discover and perhaps choose to acquire some of these masterpieces is the Matchbox Gallery. Arts and crafts are sold at many stores here. The Kivalliq Regional Visitor Centre is another great venue exhibiting some prized Inuit artworks, plus it provides visitors with tour guides, maps and cultural information.

Matchbox Gallery 
Contact: Jim Shirley 
Ph: (867) 645-2674 
Email: matchboxgallery@hotmail.com

Kivalliq Regional Visitor Centre 
Ph: (867) 645-3838 
Fax: (867) 645-3904 
Email: kivalliqtourism@qiniq.com 


Iqalugaarjuup Nunanga Territorial Park
'Iqalugaarjuup Nunanga' means 'the land around the river of little fishes' in Inuktitut. This beautiful park, which protects the chain of lakes, ancient tundra valley, mossy lichen-covered esker and rocky cliffs of the Medialine River, is located 10 kilometres (six miles) northwest of Rankin Inlet. It was created to preserve dozens of important archaeological sites and to conserve the breeding habitat of numerous wildlife species, such as loons, long-tailed ducks, sandhill cranes, voles, lemmings, arctic fox, arctic hare, caribou, plus rarely seen barren land grizzly and polar bears. Home of the local ancestors, it remains a hiking, camping, fishing paradise. The river's cliff area is called 'Ijiraliq' in Inuktitut, from Inuit legend, referring to the name of someone who turns into a whistling spirit, like a caribou. The extensive archaeological area in the park — called 'Qamaviniqtalik' in Inuktitut ('place with ancient sod houses') — includes sod house remains, tent rings, kayak stands, hunting blinds, wind breaks, fishing weirs, food cache sites and graves of the Thule people from 1200 AD, plus some Pre-Dorset ruins and artifacts dating from 1000 BC. The park's informative booklet with walking tour map guides you through this sacred ancient place.


Marble Island
Marble Island is composed of a unique sedimentary rock called wacke that is laced with quartzite, giving the island its white, marble-like appearance. The whole island is bare rock, dappled in lichens and mosses, hosting a variety of arctic birds, including ducks and raptors, plus lemmings, arctic hares, arctic foxes and, occasionally, polar bears. Huge numbers of sea mammals can be found thriving near its shores, including seals, walrus, beluga, orca and bowhead whales. Due to the great abundance of marine life species, Marble Island is a traditional summer hunting ground for the Inuit people. It is also becoming a major ecotourism attraction because of its animal population and human history. Many old-time mariners hunting bowhead whales visited this island and the 1719 expedition of James Knight shipwrecked near its shore. Vestiges of his sunken vessel remain and survivor names were etched upon the rock. There are caves, graves and ruins to visit on this wacke island of wonderful arctic wildlife.


Visitor information

Kivalliq Regional Visitor Centre
Managed by Nunavut Tourism. Open year-round.
Ph: (867) 645-3838
Fax: (867) 645-3904
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Offices of the Hamlet of Rankin Inlet
Ph: (867) 645-2895
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Arctic Kingdom Expeditions

Graham Dickson

PO Box 6117, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0

(867) 979-1900 | 1-888-737-6818

(416) 887-0529

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More info ˅˄
We are Nunavut Specialists! Arctic Kingdom is fiercely dedicated to creating authentic and awe-inspiring Arctic travel experiences. Through our Wildlife Safaris, Quick Getaways, Backcountry Trips and Expedition Cruises, we ensure your Arctic experience in the world’s most captivating place is second-to-none. For shorter visits, we now offer day trips in Iqaluit; stop by our new Tour Iqaluit Office in the Hotel Arctic lobby to book snowmobile, boat, hike, ATV, and Iqaluit town tours, or to create a private tour or customized Getaway package made just for you.
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First Air

Jackie Dankwa

PO Box 477, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0


(867) 975-1059

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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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Inns North

Holly Harel

1645 Inkster Boulevard, Winnipeg, R2X2W7

204-697-2243 | 1-888-866-6784


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Katimavik Conference and Hotel

Rankin Inlet



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More info ˅˄
Katimavik Suites is THE "Meeting Place" for all your business needs.  Our conference room is equipped with State of the art Audio/Visual equipment, Translation Booth and can be paired with translation & catering services.  To enhance your experience, stay in one of our well appointed rooms and enjoy a Complimentary Breakfast before your day begins.  After the meeting relax in our Common Kitchen watching the 60" T.V. while liesurely cooking dinner or enjoying one of our home prepared meals..  It will be our pleasure to have you as our guest.
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Keewatin Air Charters

Naomi Vanderval

PO Box 658 , Iqaluit, X0A 0H0

867-975-7536 | 1-855-396-3043


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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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Nunavut Development Corporation

Bernadette Tutanuak

P.O. Box 249, Rankin Inlet, X0C 0G0

(867) 645-3170

(867) 645-3755

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Nunavut Parks and Special Places

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



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Siniktarvik Hotel & Conference Centre, Inns North

Walter Morey

PO Box 40, Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, X0C 0G0

(867) 645-2807 | 1-888-866-6784

(867) 645-2999

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More info ˅˄
The Siniktarvik Hotel & Conference Centre is a modern 50-room facility. Located on-site are: full menu-service restaurant, four fully equipped conference rooms, banquet services and licensed guest lounge. Catering, both on and off site, is available. All rooms offer private bathroom, telephone, wireless internet, cable TV and coffeemaker.
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Turaarvik Hotel, Inns North

Walter Morey

PO Box 40, Rankin Inlet, X0C 0G0

(867) 645-4955 | 1-888-866-6784

(867) 645-4956

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More info ˅˄
The Turaarvik Hotel, Inns North offers 22 rooms including: kitchenette suites, double suites and twin rooms. All rooms offer private bathrooms, telephone, coffeemaker, cable TV and wireless internet. Conference facilities and services are available. Full menu-service restaurant featuring traditional and Canadian cuisine.
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