Clyde River

Clyde River / Kangiqtugaapik - ᑲᖏᖅᑐᒑᐱᒃ - 'nice little inlet'

Also known as ‘Kangiqtugaapik’ in Inuktitut, the scenic community of Clyde River is located in the spectacular fiord landscape of the Baffin Mountains along the northeastern coast of Baffin Island. The hamlet is situated in a beautiful sheltered cove called Patricia Bay. Ten magnificent fiords are found within a 100 kilometre (62 mile) radius of the community, including Sam Ford Fiord, the site of world-famous vertical climbing walls. The dramatic mountains, fiords, glaciers, ice caps, tundra slopes, icebergs and rugged arctic coastline are so amazingly beautiful the entire area is now a proposed territorial park site. Wildlife abounds throughout the region, including polar bears, seals, narwhals, bowhead whales, caribou, arctic hare, arctic fox and numerous species of migratory birds. Expert local guides are pleased to show you these incredible natural sites and introduce you to their traditional Inuit culture. ‘Kangiqtugaapik’ artists are famous for the quality of their whalebone carvings.

Community Snapshot

Population
850
Ethnic distribution
95% Inuit
Languages
Inuktitut, English
Location

Longitude 68° 30’ W
Latitude 70° 30’ N
Elevation 27m

Topography

Located on a flood plain in mountainous terrain that is part of the Arctic Cordillera, Clyde River is surrounded by spectacular fiords that extend to the Barnes Ice Cap.

Climate

Summers are cool yet beautiful in Clyde River with 24 hours of sunshine from May 13 to August 1. The region is known for high winds, which are constant most of the year. Winter temperatures hover around -30°C and can sometimes drop to -40°C. The winter sun sits low on the horizon from mid-November to the end of January. December days enjoy about one hour of twilight. Spectacular displays of Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are frequent here.

History

The excellent hunting, fishing and whaling in this region has drawn indigenous peoples to this area since ancient times. Generations of Inuit families migrated here, travelling enormous distances from other parts of what is now called Nunavut to visit relatives and seek partners. Many centuries before Columbus ever sailed the Atlantic, the first Europeans to visit the Clyde River area were Norse Vikings around 1,000 AD. They called this magnificent place ‘Helluland.’

Clyde River was given its English name by the British explorer John Ross in 1818. Subsequent British explorers Robert Bylot and William Baffin mapped the region. Throughout the 19th century, whalers actively hunted bowhead in the waters of Baffin Bay. The Hudson Bay Company built a trading post here in 1924. The Government of Canada established a grade school in Clyde River in 1960.

Activities & Wildlife

The mountains, icebergs and glaciers in the Clyde River area attract rock and ice climbers from around the world. Very popular recreational activities include exploring the scenic landscape by snowmobile in the winter and spring, or by ATV in the summer and fall. Dog sledding and boating activities are seasonally available, including excursions to the floe edge and to visit passing icebergs. Throughout the year there are community feasts and celebrations on the major holidays of Canada Day (July 1), Nunavut Day (July 9), Christmas and New Year's.

In the fall, Inuit hunters from ‘Kangiqtugaapik’ will pursue narwhal in Patricia Bay. The annual polar bear hunt takes place in October and drying, stretched polar bear skins are a common sight around the community. In the wintertime, hunters travel deep into Clyde Inlet to intercept migrating caribou. Seals are taken throughout the year, although the spring hunt at the blowholes along the floe edge is a special celebratory time for Inuit people. Arctic char is fished from many waters close to Clyde River, plus there is abundant small game nearby, including ptarmigan, arctic hare, geese and ducks.

Arts & Culture

‘Kangiqtugaapik’ is considered the artistic centre of Inuit whalebone carving in Nunavut. Stone sculptures are also created here from a distinctive, light green stone found north of Clyde River. The local carvings and sculptures vary in style from highly realistic depictions of animals, people and hunting scenes to whimsical renderings of dancing animals.

Parks

(Proposed) Clyde River Territorial Park
The Government of Nunavut is investigating the potential for establishing a territorial park in the beautiful Clyde River area.

Visitor information

Offices of the Hamlet of Clyde River
Ph: (867) 924-6220
Fax: (867) 924-6293
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Ilisaqsivik (community wellness) Society
Ph: (867) 924-6565
Fax: (867) 924-6570
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