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Seventeen years ago, Nunavut became Canada’s newest territory after separating from the Northwest Territories. Since then, it’s natural beauty and the vibrant culture of its capital city, Iqaluit, have been attracting adventurers from all over. For a lot of travellers, Canada’s vast north is still uncharted territory—how much do you know about Nunavut?
The territory is home to Canada’s smallest capital city.
6,699 people call Iqaluit home making the city Canada’s smallest capital by population—which is ironic because Nunavut is the country’s largest region by area. It takes up two million square kilometres.
Who needs a car when you’ve got dogsleds, snowmobiles, and airplanes?
How do you get around in Nunavut? Not on four wheels. The territory has just under 32 km of paved road. To get from community to community, most people fly, some locals travel by boat in the summer and by snowmobile over frozen rivers and lakes in the winter months. In town, it’s mainly dirt roads covered in ice during the winter and potholes in the summer, and all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles rule them—they outnumber Nunavut’s cars.
But if the weather’s nice, you might as well walk.
It takes 23 minutes to walk from the airport in Iqaluit to the centre of town.
Iqaluit taxis: one price fits all rides.
If you’ve got $7 in your pocket you can go anywhere in Nunavut’s capital. Taxis, no matter where they pick you up and where they drop you off in Iqaluit, all cost $7. Hire one to drive you up to original Hudson’s Bay buildings in Apex.
Save on taxis, splurge on groceries.
Living in Nunavut means celebrating a holiday that isn’t marked in many other places on the globe: ‘sealift delivery season’ when your 365-day-sized grocery order sails into port. With milk priced at over $12 a carton at grocery stores in Nunavut, smart shoppers order non-perishables in bulk from down south.
Nunavut: The final frontier (for Tim Hortons).
It was big news in 2010 when Canada’s most ubiquitous coffee chain opened a location further north than they’d ever gone before. In the first three days that the Iqaluit Tim Hortons kiosks were open, they sold 3,500 cups of coffee. That might not seem like a lot until you realize that it’s more than one cup for every two people in town. These days, they even serve Iced Capps.
The territory has four official languages.
While the stop signs may be in English and Inuktitut, French and Inuinnaqtun are also official languages in Nunavut.
The Land of the Midnight Sun isn’t just a cool nickname.
Fun Nunavut sun facts: the territory’s earliest sunset occurs on December 17—at 1:40 in the afternoon. Their latest sunrise is on December 24 at 9:25 am. But that all changes in the summer, which is when Nunavut really (literally) shines: on June 20, Iqaluit gets a mindblowing 20.5 hours of sunshine.
The tide is high.
Look out, East Coast. The 16.3 metre-high tides at the Bay of Fundy are nearly matched by those in Iqaluit, which moves between eight and 12 metres during each change of tide. After New Brunswick’s tides, they’re Canada’s second highest.