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A Guide to Iqaluit, Nunavut

Iqaluit Links

    Iqaluit, the largest community in Nunavut as well as the capital city, is located in the southeast part of Baffin Island, at 63° 45' N., 68° 31' W. Formerly known as Frobisher Bay, it is at the mouth of the bay of that name, overlooking Koojesse Inlet. "Iqaluit" means 'place of many fish'.

    The topography in the area consists of gently rolling, treeless hills, and there are a wide variety of things to do for both visitors and residents. There are several ancient Thule ruins nearby, and Qaummaarviit Territorial Park, just offshore, offers great hiking and photography opportunities as well. In the city, high-quality regional arts and crafts are available in several shops.

    The first Europeans (qallunaat to the Inuit) into Frobisher Bay were the crew of Martin Frobisher's ship Gabriel, in August 1576. The bay was a disappointment, though, as they were seeking the Northwest Passage, the mythical northern shortcut to Asia. No Europeans settled in the bay until 1914, when a trading post was established to tap the riches of Baffin Island.

    It was World War II that eventually brought modern development to the bay. In 1941, a weather station, code-named Crystal II, was built by the US Air Force to assist in trans-Atlantic flight planning. A large air base was built by the United States the following summer, to refuel aircraft headed for Europe - after the war, Canada purchased it for $6.8 million. Frobisher Bay was an important location all through the Cold War as well, from the construction of the first radar station in 1953, to the official closure of the Canadian Air Command detachment on December 1, 1983. In 1987, its strategic importance was again recognized when it was designated as one of five Forward Operating Locations for the new CF-18 fighter jets.

    The former military airport at Iqaluit, at an elevation of 34 meters, has the longest runway in the Canadian Arctic (8,000 feet). It not only serves airlines connecting to southern Canada, but also serves as a refueling, and occasionally an emergency landing site, for international flights.

    Since being designated as the capital of Nunavut, Iqaluit has been going through a period of unprecedented growth as new government offices and businesses are built. Between July 1, 1999 and July 1, 2000, the population of Nunavut increased 2.5% to 27,692. This increase, well over three times the national average, was largely the result of high fertility levels, but as well, there has been some immigration from other areas in response to the building and job boom. Although in 1999, Nunavut had the highest unemployment rate in Canada, at 20.7%, in Iqaluit the rate was only 10.4%, not far above the Canadian average of 8.4%. In Iqaluit, this huge improvement from the 1994 unemployment figure of 17.6% can be largely attributed to its new status as the capital city.

    In the links that follow, you can find out a great deal more about Iqaluit.


Frobisher Bay
One of 44 Pinetree Line radar stations built across the Arctic in the early 1950s. This site has an exceptionally detailed history of the line.

Martin Frobisher
Wikipedia has posted a good biography of the first European to visit the Iqaluit area.

Naval Radio Station (NRS) Frobisher Bay
An excellent history of the station, which was established in July 1954, with many photos.


Map of Iqaluit
A printable map showing services and public places of interest to visitors and new residents.

Map of the Iqaluit Area
An interactive map by Google Maps.

Maps & Geography Facts About Nunavut
Some basic statistics and 10 maps.

Accommodations & Dining

Capital Suites Iqaluit
"The most luxurious hotel in Iqaluit" offers studio rooms and 1, 2 and 3-Bedroom Suites.

Frobisher Inn
A full-service hotel located in Iqaluit - the Web site has lots of local information.


Calm Air
Using Saab 340 jet and Hawker Siddeley turboprop aircraft, Calm Air serves Nunavut, Manitoba and Ontario.

Canadian North Airline
“Seriously Northern”, Canadian North and its founding companies (CAI, PWA, Transair, Nordair) have served the North with scheduled and charter air services for over 75 years.

First Air
With 28 aircraft, scheduled services are provided to 30 communities in Nunuavut, Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Greenland.

Iqaluit Airport - CYFB
A wide range of information is posted at Wikipedia.

Polar Pilots
Photos and information on flying in the Iqaluit area.

Tours & Attractions

Visiting Iqaluit
A guide to attractions and services from Nunavut Tourism.

North Winds Arctic Adventures
From Iqaluit, a variety of activities are offered, from kite-skiing courses to multi-day expeditions across a land that few will ever see.

Other Businesses

QITC (Qikiqtaaluk Information Technology Corporation) provides a wide range of IT support services, including Internet connectivity.

Nunasi Corporation
Formed in 1976 by Inuit Tapirisat of Canada as part of the economic arm of the Nunavut land claims process, Nunasi now owns a wide range of businesses.

Baffin Regional Chamber of Commerce
Based in Iqaluit, sponsors workshops and an annual spring trade show.

Photo Albums

Iqaluit & Area Photos
The Frobisher Inn has posted almost 30 photos of the region and the hotel.

Sunday in Iqaluit - Feb 26, 2006
Ten photos taken by "Northern Pix".


Akitsiraq Law School Society
The society conducts a variety of legal skills programs.

Nunavut Arctic College
The College has five campuses, including Nunatta Campus and the Nunavut Research Institute Science Campus in Iqaluit.

Iqaluit District Education Authority
The council is responsible for the provision of public education other than that which is provided by the Commission scolaire francophone.


Weather in Iqaluit
Current report an 5-day forecast, from Environment Canada.

Weather in Iqaluit
Current report, 3-day forecast and map, from The Weather Channel.

More Information about Iqaluit

City of Iqaluit
The city's official site.

A wide range of information is posted at Wikipedia.

Members of the Legislative Assembly
Iqaluit has three elected members in the 19-member legislature.

This community portal for Iqaluit offers classified ads, event listings, games, a Forum and much more.

Nunatsiaq News
Based in Iqaluit. The site has back issues to October 1996, and lots of current stories are on-line.

Nunavut Research Institute
NRI "provides leadership in developing, facilitating and promoting traditional knowledge, science, research and technology as a resource for the well-being of people in Nunavut".

Qikiqtani Inuit Association
Originally the Baffin Region Inuit Association, QIA was formed to promote Inuit benefits and to establish Inuit rights.

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