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The Territory of Nunavut

Nunavut Territory  FlagThis is truly Canada's North. Nunavut is the largest and newest territory of Canada. Nunavut was separated officially from the Northwest Territories as of 1st of April 1999. This was done via the Nunavut Act and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act. The actual boundaries had been established in 1993.

The creation of Nunavut - meaning "our land" in Inuktitut - resulted in the first major change to Canada's map since the incorporation of the new province of Newfoundland in 1949.

Nunavut has land borders with the Northwest Territories to the west, Manitoba and Saskatchewan to the south and a tiny land border with Newfoundland and Labrador on Killiniq Island. Nunavut also shares maritime borders with the provinces of Québec, Ontario, and Manitoba and with Greenland. See our map for more details.

Here are some quick facts.

  • Total land area – 1,932,255km²
  • Population – 29,474
  • Coastline – Approximate 16,000 km (No exact number available, Northwest Territories and Nunavut together is 24,131km)
  • Capital – Iqaluit
  • Language – Inuit, English and French (see below&#41

Bathurst inlet in Nunavut, CanadaIf you compare the size of Nunavut with the country of Sweden, Nunavut is 4.3 times larger, 49.5 times larger then Switzerland, 8.2 times the size of Great Britain and 2.7 times the size of the State of Texas in the USA.

Population wise, Sweden has 317 times more people, Switzerland 264 times more, Great Britain 3000 times more and Texas 853 times more people.

If we look at how many people per square kilometre, Nunavut has 0.015/km², and Sweden 21/km², Switzerland 188/km², Great Britain 383/km², and Texas 37/km².

Nunavut History

The region we now know as Nunavut has supported a continuous indigenous people for approximately 4,000 years. Most historians identify the coast of Baffin Island with the "Helluland" described in Norse sagas, so it is very likely that the inhabitants of the region had some contact with Norse sailors or Vikings.

In September 2008, researchers reported on the evaluation of existing and newly excavated archaeological remains. The remains were yarn spun from a hare, rats, tally sticks, a carved wooden face mask portraying Caucasian features, as well as possible architectural material.

The materials were collected over five seasons of excavation at Cape Banfield. Scholars have determined these are evidence of European traders and possibly settlers on Baffin Island not later than 1000 CE. They seem to indicate prolonged contact, possibly up to 1450 CE.

Musk OxThe origin of the so called Old World contact is unclear. Apparently some yarn and other artifacts, presumed to be left by Vikings on Baffin Island, dates back to an age that predates the Vikings by several hundred years. So you have to consider the possibility that as remote as it may seem, these finds may represent evidence of contact with Europeans prior to the Vikings' arrival in Greenland.

The written history of Nunavut begins in 1576, by an English explorer Martin Frobisher. Frobisher, while leading an expedition to find the Northwest Passage, thought he had discovered a gold ore around the body of water now known as Frobisher Bay, on the coast of Baffin Island.

The ore turned out to be worthless, however Frobisher made the first recorded European contact with the Inuit. Other explorers followed in the 17th century, in search of the elusive Northwest Passage. They were Henry Hudson, William Baffin and Robert Bylot. More information on Nunavut


The official languages in Nunavut are Inuit Language "Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun", English, and French. All the native languages in Canada are at risk and Nunavut has taken actions to preserve the Inuit language. Nunavut now have a language plan in place to create a "fully functional bilingual society, in Inuktitut and English" by 2020.

In Nunavut 69% speak Inukitut, 27% speak English, just over 1% speak French and the same for Inuinnaqtun.

Nunavut Tourist Information

Iceberg floatingNunavut - Untamed, Unspoiled, Undiscovered. There are many activities that are perfectly suited for the Territory of Nunavut. Hiking, canoeing and camping enthusiasts will find the terrain ideal for their passion, while animal lovers can visit some of the most unique wildlife on the planet in the many bird and wildlife sanctuaries and parks.

Kayakers will quickly realize that kayaking is part of Inuit heritage. Nunavut offers one of the world's most diverse sea-kayaking environments, as well as many experienced guides are available.

The wildlife is plentiful in Nunavut, here you can watch, Walrus, Belugas whales, Bowhead, Narwhale, Polar Bears, and Musk-ox, just to mention a few. It is strongly suggested that you hire a guide for your excursions

Camping and hiking is great in the summer months, however, with a guide. Quoting the Nunavut Tourism website:

Camping can be as soft or as rugged as you like. Picture yourself at the great caribou birthing grounds outside Rankin Inlet and Chesterfield Inlet . Set up camp in Polar Bear Pass on Bathurst Island. At Whale Cove, pitch your tent at the river, teeming with chirping white whales. Sleep next to a bird sanctuary full of 10,000 noisy birds. It is recommended that even experienced campers hire a guide or outfitter. Camaraderie of a group enhances the experience and it is safer.

Great Hikes. Nunavut is among the earth’s rarest treasures, pristine, unequalled and off the beaten track. Whether a day excursion or a backpacking trek in the wilderness, a unique hike awaits. In Cambridge Bay on Victoria Island, bird habitats, archaeological sites, great fishing, and the Arctic Ocean are within walking distance of your hotel.

The Northwest Passage Trail near Gjoa Haven offers a self-guided walk commemorating the Franklin Expedition and Roald Amundsen’s navigation through Canada’s Northwest Passage. Hike, camp and climb in Auyuittuq National Park, outside of Pangnirtung on Baffin Island. It’s a world-class destination for hiking

Form more information on being a tourist in Nunavut, check out the Nunavut Tourism Website

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