Jul 6, 2012
Iqaluit, the capital and largest community of Nunavut, is situated in the south coast of the Baffin Island and is considered to be the coldest arctic city in Canada.
Iqaluit was previously known as the Frobisher Bay since it was located at the head of the said bay, overseeing Koojesse Inlet. The name Iqaluit is an Inuktikut (language of the Arctic) word that means “place of many fish”.
History of Iqaluit
In August 1576, the very first Europeans entered the Frobisher Bay, which consisted of Martin Frobisher, the Englishman who was in search of the Northwest Passage, and his troop. They believed that the bay was a strait leading to China but their voyage was a failure. And aside from this mistaken belief, Frobisher also thought that they have found gold in an island in the bay, but the supposed treasure turned out to be worthless.
They brought home to England nothing more than iron pyrites, also known as fool’s gold.
In 1861, an American named Charles Francis Hall, delved the region further. He learned from an inhabitant named Koojesse that Frobisher Bay was not the Northwest Passage. He camped at a river, which he named Sylvia Grinnell and explored the narrow inlet, which he named after his guide, Koojesse.
Iqaluit was established in 1946 as an as an American airbase, which was used as a stop-over and refueling site for aircrafts headed to Europe. After the war, Canada procured the airbase for 6.8 million dollars. In 1949, Hudson’s Bay Company moved its post and south Baffin operations in Apex and the population of Frobisher Bay rapidly increased.
In 1959, the Canadian government instituted medical, educational and social services and employed assistance from doctors, teachers and other professionals. The US troops fled Iqaluit in 1963 and in 1971, it became a municipal settlement.
On January 1 1987, the name of the municipality was formally changed from “Frobisher Bay” to “Iqaluit”.
Tourism in Iqaluit
Iqaluit is a budding city that consists of beautiful recreation centers and tourist spots. So if you are visiting the metropolis, then you can check the following spots and enjoy:
- Legislative Assembly of Nunavut : This is the political center of Nunavut. It is a three-storey edifice that consists of Inuit patterns and extraordinary structural design. You can arrange for official tours and interpretation to learn about Hansard, Acts and regulations, Throne Speech, status of Bills and a lot more.
- Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum : If you enjoy Inuit statues, arts and artifacts, then this place is right for you. It is located on Iqaluit’s beachfront right close to the Unikkaarvik Visitors Centre. The museum was established in 1969 and it has a vast collection of stone, bone and ivory carvings, costumes, prints, drawings and archaeological objects. You can also learn from their video shows and lectures and purchase souvenirs from their gift shop.
- Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary : This is Canada’s largest federally owned secluded area. The landscape is includes a flat plain with Precambrian rock layers, marine silts and clays. Most of the area has come out of the sea which consists of marsh tundra. The upland regions have mosses and other plants. You can view different kinds of birds here such as Ross’ geese, long-tailed ducks, tundra swans, King Eiders, wading birds and waterfowls.
How To Go To the City
There are no roads into Nunavut so driving to Iqaluit is unfeasible. But do not fret for there are daily scheduled flights connecting with Ottawa, Montreal, Rankin Inlet, Yellowknife and Edmonton. Flight schedules depend on the season and weather conditions so it is best to check with the airlines to be sure.