IqaluitIqaluit - Place of many fish

Iqaluit - ᐃᖃᓗᐃᑦ - 'Place of many fish'

The city of Iqaluit is located on Baffin Island at the northern end of Frobisher Bay near the mouth of the Sylvia Grinnell River. Iqaluit is the territorial capital of Nunavut, the largest and fastest-growing community in the territory. This exciting, dynamic city is the political, business, journalism and transportation hub of Nunavut, with an excellent airport. The landing strip is long enough to land the space shuttle, so it is often used for cold weather testing of the world's largest new aircraft. Formerly known as Frobisher Bay, the modern city of Iqaluit is rich with traditional Inuit culture. It is the home of many Inuit artists, filmmakers and musicians, plus there are arts and culture festivals staged in the spring and summer that bring artists here from across the territory. The friendly people of Iqaluit — the 'Iqalumiut' — love to go out on the land, sea and ice at all times of the year to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. Iqaluit is located near beautiful parklands that feature a range of landscapes, mountains, rivers, waterfalls and ancient Thule sites to visit.

Community Snapshot

Ethnic distribution
60% Inuit
Inuktitut, English, French

Longitude 68° 31’ W
Latitude 63° 45’ N
Elevation 34m

City of Iqaluit Map


Iqaluit is situated on gently rolling hills, with rocky outcrops and lush tundra valleys. The tides of Frobisher Bay at Iqaluit rise and fall eight to twelve metres (26-39 feet) twice a day — the second highest tides in Canada after the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia.


From May through August, Iqaluit days are long and sunny, averaging 16 hours of daylight with temperatures of 5°C to 25°C. The city enjoys nearly 24 hours of sunshine in late June and early July, with beautiful twilight skies for two hours around midnight. The shortest days of December have four hours of daylight, with the sun hovering on the southern horizon. Northern Lights are frequently seen from October to April. Winter temperatures of -10°C to -32°C are common.


iqaluit-capital-nunavut'Iqaluit' means 'place of many fish' in Inuktitut. The ancient Thule people knew it well. At nearby Qaummaarviit Island there are several archaeological sites containing thousand-year-old artifacts of these great Inuit ancestors.

The first European to make a big fuss about this place was the British explorer Sir Martin Frobisher in 1576. He sailed into the bay and believed he had found a direct route to China, so he named it 'Frobisher's Straites' after himself. He thought he discovered gold here too, shipping a large amount of it to England where it was recognized as pyrite — fool's gold. In 1861, the American explorer Charles Francis Hall arrived in search of the lost Franklin Expedition. He learned from a local hunter named Koojesse that 'Frobisher's Straites' was really just a big long bay and not the fabled Northwest Passage, so he hired Koojesse as his guide and geographer, naming an inlet after him. By 1870, Frobisher 'Bay' was frequently visited by whaling vessels and fur trading began. Whaling died out in the early 1900s, but the fur trade expanded. Anglican and Catholic missions arrived. In 1914, the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) opened a trading post at Ward Inlet, about 64 kilometres (40 miles) south of here. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrived in the 1920s.

Americans chose the location of Koojesse Inlet for a United States Air Force (USAF) base during WWII. The airstrip was operational by 1943. The HBC trading post relocated itself nearby and many Inuit families made permanent homes here. The settlement of Frobisher Bay was born. During the Cold War 1950s it became part of the NORAD DEW line with a population of 1,200 people (40% Inuit) in 1957. The federal government of Canada brought in doctors, teachers, administrators, clerks and support staff. Large numbers of Inuit people continued to settle here. The USAF pulled out in 1963. In 1987 the community changed its name back to Iqaluit, reverting to the original Inuktitut name. The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement was signed here in 1993. By plebiscite in 1995 Iqaluit was chosen to be the capital of the new territory of Nunavut — which officially came into being on April 1, 1999.

Activities & Wildlife

Dog sledding, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are very popular activities in Iqaluit, also boating, river rafting, canoeing, kayaking, kite skiing and tobogganing. In the summertime there are many scenic places to go hiking, fishing, camping and berry picking, such as Sylvia Grinnell Park, the Road to Nowhere and the seaside trail to Apex. Expect to see large, talkative ravens all year round, as well as ptarmigans, snow buntings and seagulls. Arctic hares, lemmings and arctic foxes are often found nearby. Caribou are found farther away. When the sea ice breaks up, inquisitive seals can be spotted from town. Polar bears are rare, but sometimes do show up. There are many opportunities to go hunting and fishing in both summer and winter. Permits are available and local experts will guide you to the best sites. Sledding expeditions into nearby Tarr Inlet, Sylvia Grinnell Park and Katannilik Park are great ways to spend a winter or spring day!

Arts & Culture

Iqaluit has a superb arts tradition. Locally made carvings, prints, jewellery and finely sewn items of Inuit clothing can be purchased in several locations. The Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association (NACA) organize an annual summer festival event showcasing Nunavut artists. The Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre celebrates Nunavut — its lands, people and history. Plus there is an excellent museum.

Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association 
Ph: (867) 979-7808 
Fax: (867) 979-6880 

Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre 
This facility features several cultural exhibits and wildlife displays. It provides maps, tourism and historical information. Unikkaarvik also rents bicycles and shows Inuit movies. With special weekly events, guest speakers and visiting exhibitions, there is always something new and enjoyable happening here.
Ph: (867) 979-4636 
Fax: (867) 979-3754 

Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum 
Home to a large collection of local and regional Inuit artifacts and fine art, with interpretive displays and travelling exhibits. 
Ph: (867) 979-5537 
Fax: (867) 979-4533

Traditional cultural activities and the performing arts of Nunavut are showcased in the spring and summer at two very popular festivals.

Toonik Tyme Festival 
Iqaluit's spring festival is held every April. It is a weeklong event that includes traditional Inuit games and activities such as igloo building, dogsled races, snowmobile races, seal skinning contests, musical performances and feasts.

Alianait Arts Festival 
This is a popular summertime cultural event in Iqaluit, taking place in late June to early July, that features performing and visual artists from Nunavut and around the world for several days of music, theatre, film, circus acts and storytelling.


Qaummaarviit Territorial Historic Park
Not far from Iqaluit lies the tiny, rocky island of Qaummaarviit, which means ‘the place that shines’ in Inuktitut. This lovely park is rich in archaeological artifacts dating back to the Thule culture that demonstrate the inventiveness and adaptability of this remarkable people. Touring 'the place that shines' makes for a great day trip into the ancient past.

Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park
Situated a short distance from Iqaluit is a picturesque park of rolling hills divided in two by the meandering Sylvia Grinnell River. The river was named Sylvia Grinnell by the American explorer Charles Francis Hall in 1861 for a daughter of his benefactor, the American philanthropist Henry Grinnell, a good friend of Lady Jane Franklin who sponsored Hall to search for the lost 1845 John Franklin expedition. Hall camped here in 1861 and named the inlet that this river feeds into after his Inuit guide Koojesse. The views are breathtaking and local people enjoy camping here all summer long. The park provides washrooms, tent platforms and fire pits. There is a pavillion detailing the history and features of the park. The river is a great place to catch fish and the tundra landscape along its course of rapids and waterfalls is a popular picnic location. There are some ancient Thule ruins near the falls. One of the rarest plants in Canada, the woodsia fern grows here. Caribou and arctic fox live here too.

Katannilik Territorial Park
'Katannilik' means 'the place of waterfalls.' Countless cascades echo the recurring theme of this natural paradise. The park is an ancient arctic oasis corridor that follows the Itijjagiaq Trail and the Soper Valley — a 120 kilometre (75 mile) traditional overland route from Iqaluit to Kimmirut across the Meta Incognita Peninsula. It has beautiful mountains, cliffs, ravines and valleys to explore plus a great many waterfalls to enjoy. Katannilik contains the biggest trees growing on Baffin Island — Dwarf Arctic Willows that grow to three metres (ten feet) tall. Also unique to this park is one of the world's best deposits of lapis lazuli, the striking blue gemstone.

The Soper River
The Soper is a Canadian Heritage River located inside Katannilik Territorial Park that flows into the Hudson Strait at Kimmirut. Known locally as Kuujjuaq ('big river') the Soper River has many challenging sections of whitewater and numerous waterfalls. In places along the banks of this waterway there are dramatic cliffs rising 305 metres (1,000 feet) straight up. The Soper Valley has a unique microclimate that can be 5°C warmer than the surrounding terrain. It is a wonderful place to view wildlife. You may encounter caribou, ptarmigans, arctic hares, arctic foxes and arctic wolves. On rare occasions, a polar bear might wander into this area. So be alert and prudent, never leave a trail of garbage behind you and always use powerful binoculars or telephoto lenses to view these beautiful yet dangerous animals from a safe healthy distance.

Visitor information

Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre
Ph: (867) 979-4636
Fax: (867) 979-3754
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City of Iqaluit
Ph: (867) 979-5600
Fax: (867) 979-5922
Hotline: (867) 979-5677
City Hall: (867) 979-6448
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Ajungi Arctic Consulting

Madeleine Redfern

PO Box 2323, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0

(867) 979-1167

(867) 979-1167

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- Tourism Training and Development; - Conference and Event Planning; - Marketing and Research including Surveys and Statistics; - Product and Service Evaluations; - Business Support and Planning

Arctic Kingdom Expeditions

Graham Dickson

PO Box 6117, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0

(867) 979-1900 | 1-888-737-6818

(416) 887-0529

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We are Nunavut Specialists! Arctic Kingdom is fiercely dedicated to creating authentic and awe-inspiring Arctic travel experiences. Through our Wildlife Safaris, Quick Getaways, Backcountry Trips and Expedition Cruises, we ensure your Arctic experience in the world’s most captivating place is second-to-none. For shorter visits, we now offer day trips in Iqaluit; stop by our new Tour Iqaluit Office in the Hotel Arctic lobby to book snowmobile, boat, hike, ATV, and Iqaluit town tours, or to create a private tour or customized Getaway package made just for you.

Beaches Bed & Breakfast

Jack & Caroline Anawak

PO Box 11387 , Iqaluit, X0A 0H0

867-979-3373 | 867-979-3034

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Beaches Bed & Breakfast offers a real “Northern Welcome” situated right on beautiful Frobisher Bay. Sinaa community tours & a large meeting room can serve your every need!

Capital Suites

Nabil Kassis

PO Box 2510, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0

(867) 975-4000 | 1-877-669-9444

(867) 975-4070

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Located in downtown Iqaluit and minutes from the airport, Capital Suites is the first choice in accommodations for business and leisure travelers. Capital Suites boasts fully-furnished one-bedroom executive suites with full kitchens, free high-speed internet, and all the comforts of home. Come experience our signature 'Aurora Beds', and true northern hospitality at the Capital Suites!

Carvings Nunavut Inc.

Lori Idlout

PO Box 1352, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0

(867) 979-0650

(867) 979-0045

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Featuring soapstone carvings and Inuit crafts from all over Nunavut, we are available to display exhibits for large groups. Authentic Inuit art is collected from Inuit artisans residing in various Nunavut communities and sold at affordable prices. A certificate of authenticity is provided upon sales. Display cases are posted at various locations in Iqaluit, the capital city of Nunavut.

D. J. Specialites

PO Box 1289, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0



Convenience Store - Known as "Iqaluit's Convenient Store". Shopping, personal supplies - open daily until 10:00PM. Commercial and residential leasing options also available.

Discovery Lodge Hotel

Frank Cameron

PO Box 387, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0

(867) 979-4433

(867) 979 - 6591

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Discovery Lodge Hotel is Nunavut’s premier hotel and the first choice of experienced northern travellers. The hotel has been newly renovated.  Executive and business suites; 53 full service and NS rooms w/amenities and In-room coffee, wireless internet access, voicemail, cable TV, AM/FM radio.  Renowned licensed dining, listed in Where to eat in Canada.  Conference and banquet facilities are available.   Airport shuttle, copier/fax, secretarial and laundry services offered.  Visa, MC Amex, EnRoute, Dinners Club, Interac

Frobisher Inn

Paul Sherman

PO Box 4209, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0

(867) 979-2222 | 1-877-422-9422

(867) 979-0427

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Frobisher Inn boasts simplified elegance, service and attention to detail, and the latest features and amenities with 95 Standard, deluxe and executive suites. Coffee makers, wireless internet, voice mail, room service, dining room, lobby bar café and deli, sport bar lounge, banquet facilities, on site movie theatre, ATM machine, and convenience store.

Hotel Arctic

Ali Mirza

PO Box 25, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0

18679796684 | 1-866-497-6933

(867) 979 6687

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Inukpak Outfitting

Louis-Philip Pothier

PO Box 11392, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0

(867) 979-7489 | (867) 222-6489

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Inukpak (in Inuktitut, the Inuit language) means the gentle giant; it should make sense when you meet the company founder. Since three years, we are pleased to offer guided services in the Nunavut capital, Iqaluit. Our main goal, designing products to meet your expectations and creating an experience of a life time. Safety, public-at-large oriented, client needs, Inuit culture and environment are our main concerns. Specializing in dogsledding, we are also offering other products such as: snowmobiling, hiking, canoeing, kayaking and many more.

Iqaluit Fine Arts Studio

Helen Webster

PO Box 760, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0

(867) 979-5544

(867) 979-1103

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Sale of Inuit art includes sculptures, prints, jewelry, hats, mitts, drawings and wall hangings. Art Appraisals.  Also artworks with Arctic themes from proficient artists.

NorthWinds Arctic Adventures

Matty McNair

P.O. Box 820, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0

(867) 979-0551

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NorthWinds specializes in polar expeditions to the North Pole, South Pole and Greenland ice cap. We also offer Polar Training and consulting. To learn more about NorthWinds please check out our website.

Nunattaq Suites

Julie Beauchesne

PO Box 846, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0

(867) 979-2221 | 867-975-2745

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Nunattaq Suites offers executive rooms with a smoke-free environment, wireless internet, cable t.v., telephone and voice mail access, private bathroom, laundry facilities, complimentary continental breakfast and access to a fully equiped kitchen.

Nunavut Business Credit Corporation

box 2548, Iqaluit , X0A 0H0



Nunavut Parks and Special Places

P.O. Box 1000, Station 1340, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0



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Rannva Design

Rannva Simonsen

PO Box 2184, Iqaluit, X0A 0H0

(867) 979-3183

(867) 979-3184

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Looking for the perfect gift, a nice winter coat, some deliciously warm mittens? Quality and irresistible beauty is RANNVA's innate goal, creating a trendy mix of locally made traditional crafts - and high end Canadian made fashions. All inspired and designed in this special corner of the world. RANNVA's work is widely distributed throughout Canada and the world. 

Tour Iqaluit

Julie Carrier - Tour Iqaluit Coordinator

Come visit us in the lobby of the Hotel Arctic, Iqaluit, X0A 1H0


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WE ARE THE IQALUIT SPECIALISTS (and the rest of Nunavut too!) One hour to half of multi-day trips in and around Iqaluit. Whether you’re short on time or would like to add a little something extra to your visit to Iqaluit, Tour Iqaluit with Arctic Kingdom can provide you with an experience that is sure to leave you with great memories and stories to share. Choose from many activities that range from one hour to half day or multi-day trips. We make it convenient for you to experience the real Arctic while snowmobiling, hiking, boating, snowshoeing or touring the town (and much more!)                                                                                                                            Book online at or call/email us direct year round.                                                                                                                            Cruise ships, Private Tours. Groups, Government and Corporations welcome. Call us!

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