Page 41 - Inuvik
P. 41

“Where there is material for ulu knives” (867) 396-8000
Population: 465
Formerly known as Holman, this Inuvialuit community wraps around
the head of an Arctic inlet on the west coast of Victoria Island, the ninth largest on Earth. It was founded as a Roman Catholic mission in the 1930s and is now famous for two things: The world’s northernmost golf course (each summer it hosts the Billy Joss Open Tournament), and exquisite Inuit prints.
Photo: Anne Kokko/NWT Tourism
Photo: Anne Kokko/NWT Tourism
Today, Inuvik is the administrative and commercial centre for Western Arctic and is Canada’s largest community north of the Arctic Circle. The town’s population peaked at 4,200 in 1990 at the end of the exploration boom, and now is at about 3,450.
The colour and vitality of Inuvik will take you by surprise. You’ll see paved streets lined with brightly coloured houses on pilings, dome-shaped buildings and the strange snake-like “utilidor” system. In the summer the town hums with activity. Tourists walk the streets and air charter and construction companies take advantage of the continuous daylight. A planned community, Inuvik offers the comforts of urban living in an arctic setting. Visitors can experience several cultures here, and true frontier hospitality.
Inuvik is situated on the East Channel of the Mackenzie Delta. At 133˚43’ west longitude, it is 10 degrees farther west than Vancouver, British Columbia. The community is within the taiga forest, just south of the tree line and west of the open tundra. The Arctic Ocean is only 97 kilometres north and the Arctic Circle is 200 kilometres to the south.
With the summer’s 24-hour sunlight, there is plenty
of time for visitors to experience the vast wilderness
at Inuvik’s doorstep. Winter is the time for “noon
moon” activities such as driving on ice roads, snowmobiling, dog sledding and curling. The Inuvik area is a snowmobiler’s heaven, with 10,000 kilometres of Mackenzie Delta Channels to explore, as well as tundra trails north to the Beaufort Sea coast and west into the Richardson Mountains.
The aurora borealis (“northern lights”) can be seen during the dark months. Locals say that Inuvik is so far north that they have to look south to see the northern lights!
Some residents earn their living hunting, trapping and fishing, but most are employed in government and indigenous offices or in transportation, construction, petroleum exploration and tourism companies.

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