Canada’s newest capital will provide you with a fascinating glimpse of the Nunavut territory and its ever-changing culture. The bustling capital is a modern Inuit community, home to Inuit people from around the Territory as well as proud newcomers from around the world. Set along the spectacular hills of Frobisher Bay, Iqaluit (Inuktitut for ‘Place of Many Fish) is a sparkling jewel in Nunavut’s crown.
Some essential Iqaluit experiences:
- Explore nearby Qaumaarviit Territorial Park and learn about the thousands of years of local Inuit history
- Hike through beautiful Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park, located within the Iqaluit city limits, and then relax in one of the excellent dining options in town
- Explore the vibrant arts scene: public carvings and graphics are incorporated into the buildings and landscape throughout the town, galleries display local and territorial arts and crafts, jewellery, and local made clothing. The Legislative Assembly incorporates Inuit motifs in its modern design and showcases Inuit treasures, and the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum curates displays of art representing artists throughout the Territory.
Iqaluit is an accessible destination and will give you an excellent taste of Nunavut’s culture and history. Walking through the beautiful community you will be delighted with the stunning vistas of mountains and sea ice, and can catch a glimpse of what makes Nunavut so special. Home to people from around the world, you may encounter a famous Inuk artist dining at the Lebanese restaurant or catch a visiting Hollywood celebrity at the local museum.
Iqaluit boasts many fine hotels and restaurants, where you can relax after a hike through the Sylvia Grinnell Park or to Apex Beach. There are hiking trails for people of all abilities that will lead you to the untamed beauty of the arctic tundra.
The city is home to many famous Inuit artists, and their work can be found at several local galleries. Iqaluit’s artists not only excel at traditional artmaking, but also draw inspiration from the influx of newcomers to the area, creating a truly modern and vibrant art scene.
The annual Alianait Festival in late June/early July brings together musicians and artists from around the North and welcomes artists and performers from around the world. Music, theater, circus acts, storytelling and visual arts are all featured. The festival also produces a concert series throughout the year.
In the spring, you can experience the Toonik Tyme Festival, and see the community celebrate the end of a long winter. The games and activities bring the residents of this small city together, creating and warm and welcoming environment.
There is much to see and do in the Nunavut capital. In and around Iqaluit, four territorial parks offer a variety of cultural and wildlife experiences for you. Historical buildings, such as the original Hudson’s Bay Post on the shore in Apex are also within easy reach.
For the nature buffs, local outfitters can take you on an amazing experience ‘“down the bay’” and out to the floe edge where you will encounter whales, pods of seals, and perhaps even one or two wandering polar bear. The stark contrast of leaving a bustling community and finding yourself lulled by the silent breaths of a hard-working dog team will tug at your soul.
The history of Iqaluit is unique. While Inuit have lived, fished, and hunted in the area for millennia, the modern history of the city began with the establishment of the Iqaluit Airport – a part of the staging route for American aircraft being delivered to Europe during the Second World War. In Iqaluit you can still see some of the remaining buildings left behind
Checking in with the Unikkaarvik Visitor’s Centre will provide you with the latest up to date information on the various seasonal activities that are available. This centre is conveniently located next to the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum, allowing you to place this wonderful city in a historical context.