Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada

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 out of 1 review
Things To Do
Local Food

One Review

  1. author
    30 May 2018
    Things To Do
    Local Food
    Traveling While Black

    Iqaluit is the capital city of Nunavut, a northern territory in the Canada arctic. Nunavut is Canada’s largest province/territory, at a land mass of 1.093 million km2 and it is home to the world’s northernmost permanently inhabited place, Alert, Nunavut.

    Iqaluit means place of many fish, while Nunavut means our land (nuna) in Inuktut, the language of the Inuit, indigenous to the territory. It is located 63.7467° N and 68.5170° W, and is just outside the Arctic Circle. It is a place full of vibrant culture, from the country food (seal, Arctic Char and caribou among many others) to clothing (parkas, kamiks and so on).

    Spring is one of the best times to visit Iqaluit. Toonik Tyme Festival, held during this time, is a community celebration of the end of a long winter. The games and activities bring the residents of this small city together, creating a warm and welcoming environment. Activities include, igloo building contests, sled dog races, ice fishing contests and skidoo races.

    If you love the arts, this is the perfect place to visit. The city boasts a variety of public carvings and graphics which are part the buildings and the landscape throughout the town. The various galleries display local and territorial arts and crafts, jewellery, and clothing, and there is always someone walking around through the restaurants and bars selling local, art, tapestry and jewellery so have your cash handy!

    In the summer, you could go berry picking or learn to make your own parka or kamiks. The city gets nearly 24 hours of light in the summer months and the city is alive! You can watch the sun not set at upperbase and get some beautiful pictures for the gram! And in the winter, when it gets dark at 3pm, you can catch the northern lights.

    You can also try some local food including muktuk – frozen whale meat, arctic char, bannock – a delicious baked good, caribou (tuktu in Inuktitut) stew and many more!

    Things to do include:

    Dog Sledding – it about $350/person to go dog sledding for 4 hours with Inukpak outfitting, a prominent excursion company in Iqaluit.

    Snowmobiling – it is 240/person to go snowmobiling for 4 hours with the same company, but if you make friends, someone might let you use their machine for free!

    Ice Fishing – a half day trip (4 hours) to go ice fishing is $240/person.

    Igloo Building Workshop – it is 130/person for a group of 4 and 100/person for a group of 6 to take this workshop.

    Qaumaarviit Territorial Park – you can learn about the thousands of years of local Inuit history, take a picture on top of an iceberg or even a glacier. On the rare occasion, you may spot a polar bear or some caribou.

    Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park – you can hike or even pitch a tent here. Depending on the time of year you can get a good picture on top of an iceberg. On the rare occasion, you may spot a polar bear or some caribou.

    Legislative Assembly of Nunavut – the building is in itself a representation of Inuit art and culture, from the shape of the building right down to every decorative detail inside the building. The Assembly has a vast library inside, and tours of the Assembly can be booked daily. The Assembly features a variety of design and showcases of Inuit treasures and perhaps meet some of the members of the Assembly.

    Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum – you can view the carefully curated displays of art representing artists throughout the Territory. The recently discovered Franklin Exhibit is featured on and off at the museum.

    Unikkaarvik Visitor’s Centre – here you can find information on the various seasonal activities available, along with the history of the city and the territory. They also have a small exhibit that would make for some memorable pictures. The centre is located right next to the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum, which is very convenient!

    Historical Sites – one of the original Hudson’s Bay Trading Posts still stands on the bay in Apex within easy reach.

    If you are more adventurous, local outfitters such as Inukpak outfitting can take you on an amazing skidoo/sled dog/Qamutiq tour to the floe edge where, if you’re lucky, you might spot a bowhead whale, pods of seals, or a polar bear. You could go ice fishing and catch your own Arctic Char for dinner. As always the cheapest way to do things is to make friends and they will be happy to take you ice fishing or to teach you how to build an igloo.

    Disclaimer: Iqaluit is expensive. A round trip flight is just a little over $2000, the lowest price for a hotel is about $250 a night, and Airbnbs are about $200 a night and even those are scarce. Food is also really expensive in Iqaluit; you can expect to spend at least $25 per meal. If you choose to eat at the Discovery Lounge, the city’s best restaurant, then add another $5 to $10 per meal.

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