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A Guide to Bylot Island, Nunavut

This article was originally published on January 9, 2001
  • located near the northeast corner of Baffin Island, centred at 73° 13' N., 78° 34' W.

  • separated from Baffin Island by Pond Inlet to the south, Eclipse Sound to the southwest, and Navy Board Inlet to the west

  • covers an area of 11,067 square kilometers (4,273 square miles)

  • features a very rugged coast, and mountainous interior with many glaciers

  • an important hunting area for the Inuit for the past 4,000 years

  • an important whaling area in the late 1800s

  • named after Robert Bylot, who sailed to the island in 1616 in search of the Northwest Passage

  • Button Point on the southeast corner was named after Arctic explorer Sir Thomas Button

  • officially claimed for Canada by Captain Joseph-Elzéar Bernier in 1906

  • there are no communities on the island. The closest community is Pond Inlet

  • the entire island is a conservation area, the Bylot Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary

  • the island is also part of Sirmilik National Park

  • home to over 50 species of birds, including about 320,000 Thick-billed Murres and 50,000 Black-legged Kittiwakes that nest on the sheer cliffs along the northeastern coast in particular. As well, a plateau in the southwestern interior supports a nesting population of about 75,000 Greater Snow Geese.

  • up to 150 polar bears live on the island in the summer, as well as 20 other species of land and marine mammals living on or around the island

Bylot Island Landforms
Dozens more photos of Bylot Island can be found by using the Search at this Natural Resources Canada site.

Greater Snow Geese in Breeding, Staging & Wintering Areas
The impacts of geese on Arctic ecosystems, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Joseph-Elzéar Bernier
Claimed Bylot Island for Canada.

Robert Bylot
Bylot Island was named to honour his 1616 voyage to Baffin Bay.

Sermilk Glacier
A painting by Dr. Donald M. Flather (1903 - 1990).

Sirmilik National Park
The official Parks Canada site. Bylot Island is part of this park, which was created in 1999.