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Inuvik, Northwest Territories Photo Album

A Guide to Inuvik, Northwest Territories

Dateline: October 10, 2011.

Click on each photo to greatly enlarge it.

I'll start this gallery off with the famous "Igloo Church", Our Lady of Victory, one of the iconic structures of the Canadian North. It was designed by Brother Maurice Larocque, an Oblate missionary from Quebec who arrived in 1958 after a call from Inuvik's parish priest, Father Jules Adam. Although he had only a 5th Grade education, he came up with a unique way to deal with the shifting permafrost - the church sits on a concrete saucer on a 3-foot-thick bed of gravel rather than a conventional foundation.

The church was completed in 2 years at a cost of only $70,000, with lumber brought by barge down the Mackenzie River from Fort Smith, some 1,500 km to the southeast. Volunteers did much of the work, from the heavy work to carving the pews. Brother Larocque had built the church with sketches rather than formal plans, which caused problems when it was about to open, but a set of plans were drawn up post-construction. Larocque died in 2002 at the age of 83.

The Visitor Centre is on Mackenzie Avenue as you enter the downtown area, and is definitely worth a stop.

The multi-coloured homes may look rather odd during the summer but they sure brighten up the winter when the world turns black-and-white.

The view up Mackenzie Avenue towards the Igloo Church.

On some of the motorcoach tours I was driver/guide for, Rosie Albert met our group at the Eskimo Inn in Inuvik. She is the eldest daughter of a son of Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson, and talked about her background and what it was like to grow up living off the land. Part of her talk included modelling some of the clothing she makes.

Rosie Albert poses with my tour guide (I wish I could remember his name - he was excellent) and a couple of the wonderful dolls she makes.

An aerial view of Inuvik, looking north, with the industrial area in the foreground, Boot Lake in the centre and the main townsite in the distance.

A closer look at the main part of town, with the East Channel of the Mackenzie River on the left.

Looking back at Inuvik from the north. In the distance the Inuvik Mike Zubko Airport (airport code YEV) can just barely be seen, and at the bottom left is the Inuvik Town strip (airport code ET3). In June 1985 I had parked my plane at the Inuvik Town strip to be closer to our hotel, the Eskimo Inn - though it wasn't much, it was the best hotel in town in those days.

This is Jàk Territorial Park, seen from the viewing tower. Located on the Dempster Highway between town and the main airport, the park has 36 camping sites. Jàk means 'berries' in the Gwich'in language - the park was named for the cranberries, cloudberries & blueberries that are abundant in the area. In 1992 when this photo was shot, the park's name was Chuk, but apparently that wasn't quite the right sound for the word.

Another aerial view from a higher elevation. Jàk Territorial Park is in the centre of the photo, and the float plane base (Inuvik/Shell Lake Water Aerodrome, code CEE3) is in the foreground.

A couple of the gravel pits in the area offer very good fossil hunting, as do some of the banks of the Mackenzie and Peel Rivers. I have some very good brachiopods from a pit near the Peel River ferry.

Crossing the Mackenzie River on the free ferry. The Mackenzie - Deh Cho (big river in the Dene language) - is the largest river system in Canada. The main river flows 1,738 kilometres (1,080 miles) from Great Slave Lake to the Beaufort Sea, dropping just 156 metres (512 feet) in that distance.

In the winter, the Mackenzie River becomes a highway, one of the many "ice roads" that have become so famous on TV. This road starts in Inuvik and goes to Tuktoyaktuk.

Some of the many tugs that work on the Mackenzie River.

The Inuvik Mike Zubko Airport, with the Dempster Highway heading south on the left.

A Canadian North Airlines Boeing 737, C-GFPW, at Inuvik. This particular aircraft, a model 737-275C, started service with Pacific Western Airlines, in December 1976.

Inside the Inuvik airport terminal.

A 1970 Beech A-100 King Air, C-GKBQ, in service with Kenn Borek Air.

Arctic Wings, Inuvik NWT The Arctic Wings office at the Inuvik airport in the mid-1990s.

This was my first experience flying in the Midnight Sun. On June 21, 1985, I flew my Cessna 172, C-GWDM, from the very muddy Inuvik Town strip to Tuktoyaktuk and back to the main Inuvik airport, arriving in broad daylight a few minutes before midnight. This photo was taken on the way south to Inuvik just after 11:00pm. I was very surprised to see that the sun didn't come anywhere near the horizon - I got a photo of the flags at the airport backlit by the sun.

A low-altitude aerial view of the Mackenzie Delta just north of Inuvik.

A winter aerial of the Mackenzie River, with the ice road to "Tuk" visible.

Flying to Tuktoyaktuk with a tour group, in a pair of Twin Otters.

This jacket patch from the Inuvik Community Curling Club probably dates from the late 1970s. It's now just the Inuvik Curling Club.

These photographs are all © 2011-2024 by Murray Lundberg, and are not to be copied without express permission.