Iqaluit: Top 10

(continuer en français) – Last updated: February 1, 2022

It all started with an American military base in 1942. With less than 10,000 inhabitants, Iqaluit became the youngest of the Canadian capitals, Nunavut was only formed in 1999. Let yourself be taken away by the Inuktitut words encountered here and there, in this urban island surrounded by immense tundra, like a lunar base in the middle of nowhere.

01. Saint Jude’s Cathedral

The igloo-shaped Anglican Cathedral was first built in 1972 and was rebuilt in 2012 after a fire. The new version is based on the original plans, giving it more amplitude, making it look even more like a huge igloo. It is the seat of the largest Anglican diocese covering Nunavut and Nunavik, the northern part of Quebec.

02. Legislative Assembly

The assembly has 22 members, unusual feature, there are no political parties constituting majority and opposition, but instead a consensus government. The rest of the functioning follows British practice, with a Speaker, President of the Assembly, and a Premier leading the executive. Free guided tours are provided daily.

03. Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre

It is always a good idea to visit the Visitor Centre, it is a valuable source of information. In Iqaluit the building is large enough to present a free exhibition on the fauna, flora and way of life of the region, it is possible to meet a polar bear, stuffed. Film screenings or lectures can also be held here.

04. Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum

The museum is housed in a former Hudson Bay warehouse formerly located in Apex. The only museum in the territory, it presents Inuit artworks as well as ancient objects, and serves as a cultural centre. It also has a counter of contemporary works for sale. Even in the summer, you are asked to take your shoes off when you enter.

05. Carvings Nunavut Inc.

Typical Inuit art sculptures can be found all around the city, such as inuksuit (plural of inukshuk) imitating the human silhouette. In addition to the museum, Carvings Nunavut Inc. is another counter where it is possible to purchase these expressive works made of soft stone or bone, often depicting animals from the far north in familiar poses.

06. Sylvia Grinnell Park

The territorial park starts one kilometre from the town, the small part accessible to the public being between the river and the airport, one can only dream of a better natural environment. It is named after the daughter of a sponsor of the first exploration in 1861. The rest of the park contains archaeological remains with caribou and polar bears roaming through (more).

07. Road to Nowhere

There is a road to Nowhere in Iqaluit, and it doesn’t go anywhere. Apart from the road to Apex at 5 kilometres / 3 miles, there is no road system around Iqaluit. In winter snowmobiles are sufficient, but without snow the tundra can only be visited on foot. So this road to nowhere doesn’t go far, but the street signs are too often stolen and are no longer visible.

08. Apex

This neighbourhood is away from the city centre, historically, it was here that Inuit settled when Iqaluit was a military base and some began working in it. About 60 families still live there, many in pre-built government-provided homes, with water being delivered by truck.

09. Hudson’s Bay Company

The Hudson’s Bay shop was established on Apex Beach in 1949. Beyond the fur trade and grocery shopping, business activities were added according to local needs, such as banking. In 1987, the operations were transferred to the North West Company, which moved downtown, leaving the old historic buildings behind.

10. Cemetery

The old cemetery had been expanding along the Frobisher Bay, the dead being buried in order of death, without family grouping. Faced with its saturation, a new burial place was opened outside the city, in close consultation with the population, as this was a sensitive issue. The Inuit, being initially nomadic, did not have dedicated burial places.

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  1. It looks a fascinating place and I love the names, they make me want to pronounce them and then they seem to roll around my mouth. Lovely photographs – you’ve made it look as though the sun always shines there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The same thing for me with words, I travel just by seeing them but I have trouble remembering them as there is no Latin root. As for the weather, I spent 9 days in August, an average of 4C / 39F with 2 days of sunshine. Hence the number of indoor photos. Thanks for commenting.


    • That’s right. Inuit culture is fascinating when you think of the challenge of the harsh conditions they endured. The few cultural places allow a first approach, but if you look further you can learn a lot. Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you that Inuit culture is fascinating. It is also possible to go on hikes of several days, but you need a guide. I’m happy to have been able to visit the 13 provinces and territories, it now allows me to choose more freely where I want to go.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a little giggle about The Road to Nowhere. It’s fascinating seeing the old Hudson’s Bay Company building—such a key player in Canadian history. I’d love to visit Iqaluit and Canada’s north one of these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would like so much to have such an address, Nowhere. It’s very true that Hudson’s Bay Company can be found all over Canada, all the more visible as it is at the edge of the explored world.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank’s Andy. We are fortunate in Canada to have regions that are very different from each other, Nunavut and Iqaluit provide real change compared to other destinations.


    • Thanks for reading. At the visitor centre it was a bit funny, I was looking for a guide for an excursion and the agent offered to phone, but the number didn’t answer and then switched to the head office at … Toronto, a few kilometres from home 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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