Arctic Bay, Nunavut, incorporated as a hamlet in 1976, population 823 (2011c), 690 (2006c). The Hamlet of Arctic Bay is located on the north shore of Adams Sound, off Admiralty Inlet, northern BAFFIN ISLAND
. Situated on a low gravel beach surrounded on 3 sides by high hills, this community has been occupied by nomadic INUIT
hunters during several stages over the past 5000 years. The Inuit call it Ikpiarjuk
, which translates into "bag" or "pocket" and is a reference to the sheltered location of the community. The English name is derived from the whaling ship Arctic
, which visited the site in 1872.
In 1938, Reverend Paul Schulte conducted the first arctic mercy flight when he flew here to rescue a sick missionary. A federal Department of Transport weather station operated here between 1942 and 1952 and provided year-round employment for the Inuit. This was an incentive for them to settle in one place, and today 92% of the population is still Inuit.
A lead-zinc mine nearby, at NANISIVIK, has contributed to the transformation of the community into a predominantly wage-employed society. Tourism and country food processing - of caribou and fish - are important industries. The hamlet is connected to Nanisivik by a 21 km all-weather gravel road, the only highway on Baffin Island.
Links to Other Sites
Exploration of the Northwest Passage
An overview of European expeditions to Canada’s northern Arctic region from the 16th to the early 20th centuries. Brief bios, illustrations, maps, and other reference material. An Industry Canada website.
Plan your next Arctic adventure at this Nunavut Tourism website. Offers information about local communities, history and culture, recreational opportunities, and much more.