Canadian Arctic Holidays
The Canadian Arctic is well known for its diverse wildlife, rich native culture and spectacular scenery. For those seeking the truly remote, an expedition deep within the Arctic Circle offers a taste of pure adventure.
Popular Canadian Arctic Holidays
The Canadian Arctic refers to the northernmost reaches of the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Canada’s largest and newest territory, Nunavut. With a relatively small population of around 100,000, over sixty per cent of Canada’s Inuit inhabit this area, residing above the Arctic Circle. It is an area typically explored on an expedition cruise.
Nunavut alone covers an expanse of over 2 million sq km – roughly 20% of Canada’s land – incorporating mainland as well as the islands of the Arctic archipelago. From Banks Island in the west to Baffin Island in the east, stretching far north to Ellesmere Island which lies just 800 km from the North Pole.
Ellesmere Island National Park covers the northern tip of this remote island, which boasts a landscape of vast untouched wilderness, fjords, glaciers and icecaps, culminating at Cape Columbia, the most northerly point of North America. The stark beauty of the interior’s mountainous terrain is truly awe-inspiring.
To the south is the smaller Cornwallis Island, where you will find one of the coldest inhabited places in the world, Resolute. A small Inuit community on the south coast, with a population of just 200, Resolute has an average yearly temperature of -14.5 degrees centigrade. The settlement was founded after WWII when an air-base was built by the Canadian Government to protect territorial claims. The airport is now the hub of the town and Resolute is a main gateway for many explorers to the Canadian Arctic.
Immense Baffin Island is Canada’s largest island and the fifth largest in the world. Situated on the south east coast, the community of Iqaluit (‘salmon trout’) is the capital of Nunavut and is home to around 11,000 people. Baffin Island’s south coast fringes the Hudson Strait, separating the island from Québec. The north east part of the island is dominated by the dramatic Baffin Mountains, the highest of which is Mount Odin standing at around 2,147 metres high.
Many expeditions to the region will visit other Inuit settlements such as Pond Inlet as well as remote locations forever associated with the history of polar exploration, from Beechey Island to the Northwest Passage. Wildlife can be found throughout the High Arctic, including Arctic fox, polar bear, Arctic wolf, barren-ground caribou and the Arctic hare.