Parks & Special Places
Nunavut’s parks and special places can delight and fill visitors with wonder. There are several national and territorial Parks – including the largest National Park in Canada, Quttinirpaaq, near Resolute Bay. While some of these parks are accessible for self-accessed day trips (Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park, Inujjaruvik Territorial Park) most will depend on a guide or a well planned trip to access. Nunavut’s special place includes wildlife sanctuaries and heritage rivers. Many of the operators can advise on the best trip for visitors.
Nunavut represents nearly 20% of Canada’s landmass, and it is no wonder that there are many conservation areas, sanctuaries and parks in our territory. These spectacular areas are home to a diverse number of animals and ecosystems and represent the desire of Nunavummiut and Canadians to protect our fragile Arctic environment.
The Spirit of our People
Nunavut is a place with modern people living modern lives in an ancient environment - the Arctic - that offers the same challenges it has for centuries. It a place that combines 21st century ideas, technology and society with the mindset and pace that Inuit have always adapted to suit the challenges that the environment around them has posed.
The Northwest Passage
For many visitors, a trip to Nunavut exploring the Northwest Passage and the land, cultures and people who live here will be an adventure into history but for others it will be the trip of a lifetime that leads to a different place and time.
Nunavut is home to some of the most beautiful and resilient plant life in the world. As the spring snow thaws, you immediately see the explosion of plants and flowers that signals the arrival of Arctic summer. The sights and smells will fill you with hope and wonder.
There has always been an Arctic
A landscape of glaciers, which carved its mountains and plains, of char who swim its icy rivers, of polar bears who hunt in the sea-ice, of lichens that find sustenance where nothing else will grow, and of people, for whom the this ever-changing ecology has always been home.
Art has always been an avenue for universally expressing complex ideas without the need to understand spoken language. The most popular mediums of Inuit creative expression are globally recognized as fine art. Stone, bone, and ivory carving, print making and fibre arts are the most widely practiced art forms among Inuit and these first gained international renown during the mid-century, the 1950s and 1960s.
Nunavut not only gives you unparalleled access to the Arctic’s wide range of wildlife, it also provides you with the experts that know the Arctic wildlife best: Inuit. With Inuit guides, who rely on thousands of years of collective experience and knowledge, you will be able to interact with Polar Bears, Whales, Seals, Caribou and migratory birds in a way few people on earth have been lucky enough to experience.
Arctic Luxury: Leave Your Tuxedos and Gowns At Home
Each summer, bathed in round the clock sunlight, spectacular cruises of two weeks or longer, sailing with local experts and artists on board, offer a luxurious adventure through the waters, islands and inlets of the Arctic. One of the best ways to experience Inuit culture, exotic wildlife and history across a broad expanse of the Arctic.
Explore our regions and communities
Home to millions of caribou and thousands of polar bears, the Kivalliq Region will provide you with an Arctic experience that is second to none. It is here that you will find the great expanse of the Arctic tundra - rolling hills that stretch from horizon to horizon - this is also a home for some of Nunavut’s largest lakes and rivers, providing you with not only an amazing wildlife experience, but unparalleled paddling, hunting and fishing as well.
The Kitikmeot spans the northern mainland of Canada to the mythical heart of the Northwest Passage and is a crossroads of the Arctic - bringing together an amazing array of ecosystems and cultures. The most western region of the Territory, the Kitikmeot communities are abundant in wildlife.
The Baffin Region of Nunavut is as diverse as it is iconic. Stretching from Sanikiluaq in the southern waters of Hudson’s Bay to the tip of Ellesmere Island, there is much to explore in this incredible area.
When you close your eyes and imagine the Arctic, you are likely picturing the hamlet of Arctic Bay. Nestled snugly amidst stunning mountains, Arctic Bay is a traditional community heavily reliant on hunting, fishing, and tourism, It provides visitors with a wide range of Arctic experiences- Inuit culture and tradition, rare Arctic wildlife, and awe-inspiring scenery.
A nature lover’s dream, Naujaat,meaning seagull nesting place, is a must see destination located right on the Arctic Circle. The gateway to Ukkusiksalik National Park, Naujaat is home to almost all arctic animals - polar bears, narwhal, bowhead whales, and seals.
Located on the western shores of Hudson’s Bay, Arviat has become the premier destination for viewing Nunavut’s treasured wildlife. In Inuktitut, Arviat means ‘place of the bowhead whale’. Arviat is also reknown for caribou, beluga whales, bird watching, and polar bears.
Nowhere else in the Arctic is the absolute majesty of the land, and the rhythms of Inuit life as accessible as Pangnirtung. Also known as Pangniqtuuq in Inuktitut,meaning ‘place of bull caribou’, it is the southern community gateway to Auyuittuq National Park.
Baker Lake’s Inuktitut name is Qamani’tuaq, means “ where the river widens”, those who experience canoeing the great Arctic rivers – the Thelon and the Kazan - know that this is true: Baker Lake is ‘where the river widens’ having reached their final destination.
Pond Inlet (Mittimatalik - Place where Mitima is buried) is renowned for its scenery. Located at the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage on the Eclipse Sound and overlooking famous Bylot Island, mountain ranges are viewable in all directions and icebergs often dot the ocean.
Cambridge Bay, in Inuktitut ‘Ikalutuuttiaq’, means ‘good fishing place’, has been a gathering place for Inuit for over 4000 years. Today, Cambridge Bay continues to welcome Inuit and visitors alike, embracing the traditions of the past while building for the future.
Located at the northern entrance to Auyuittuq National Park, Qikiqtarjuaq is a welcoming and picturesque community. Qikiqtarjuaq is the Inuktitut word meaning ‘big island’.
Inuit have congregated in the area for over 3000 years, drawn by the wildlife that provided the necessities of life. The ancient Dorest people are referred to as 'Tuniit' or 'Sivullirmiut' in Inuktitut and historians believe that the Dorset Culture people were perhaps the first North Americans ever encountered by Europeans who visited Baffin Island sometime before 1000 AD. The Dorset people became extinct by 1500 AD, however mystical traces of them are still visible while hiking Mallikjuaq or Dorset Island.
Rankin Inlet, also known as Kangiqtiniq in Inuktitut meaning ‘deep inlet’, is a modern and vibrant community that is a blend of cultures and traditions. This mixture of Inuit and European culture, the old and the new economy, and the blending of Inuit from many tribal backgrounds led to a generation of prominent leaders that started the movement towards creation of the Nunavut territory.
Chesterfield Inlet, located on the northwestern coast of Hudson Bay, is the oldest established community in Nunavut. The Inuktitut name is Igluligaarjuk 'Place with a few Thule Houses’). There are archaeological sites where the ancient Dorset peoples (500BC – 1,500AD) are believed to have camped in the summers.
Resolute Bay is one of the most fascinating communities in Nunavut. Because of the long winter night in the extreme north of Nunavut, its Inuktitut name is Qausuittuq meaning ‘place with no dawn.’
There is a special magic in the air around Clyde River. Its Inuktitut name, Kangitugaapik meaning ‘nice little inlet’, belies its stunning beauty and its importance to Inuit for nearly 2000 years.
Sanikiluaq is Nunavut’s southern-most community, located in the Belcher Islands of southeastern Hudson’s Bay. Its isolation from other Nunavut communities and its proximity to Northern Quebec makes Sanikiluaq uniquely different.
Coral Harbour, in Inuktitut Salliq meaning ‘large flat island in front of the mainland’ is located on Southampton Island at the north end of Hudson Bay. It has been a traditional meeting place for Inuit since 500 BC because of the abundance of marine life and migratory birds. It is the base for the best walrus and whale viewing at nearby Coats Island.
Taloyoak (Inuktitut for ‘Large Caribou Hunting Blind’) is a unique community, defined by the strength of the people and the ruggedness of the land. Formerly called Spence Bay, Taloyoak provides you with glimpses into Inuit culture and wildlife.
Gjoa Haven is located on the southeast coast of King William Island at the heart of the Northwest Passage. It is also called Uqsuqtuuk which means ‘place of plenty blubber’ in Inuktitut. The name Gjoa is named after Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen’s ship during his expedition through the Northwest Passage.
Whale Cove is located on a long point of land extending into Hudson’s Bay. The Inuktitut name, Tikirarjuaq meaning ‘long point’, reflects this geography. The English name, Whale Cove refers to the many beluga whales that congregate off the coast every fall.
Grise Fiord, also known as Aujuittuq in Inuktitut meaning ‘place that never thaws’, nestles amongst majestic mountains at the end of a stunning fiord. As one of the the most isolated communities in the North, the people of Grise Fiord have overcome hardship to establish a home in one of the most beautiful parts of Canada.
Called Sanirajaq, meaning ‘the shoreline’, the Inuit of Hall Beach have enjoyed and benefitted from the abundance of marine life, including walruses and beluga whales for thousands of years.
Millions of people from around the world were captivated by the stark beauty of the Igloolik area through the award-winning films of Igloolik-based Isuma Productions. These films tell many stories of Inuit life and the connections with Europeans, but what they subtly showcase is the tremendous cultural knowledge of the people that reside in Igloolik- hunters, storytellers, keepers of traditional knowledge. When you visit Igloolik you feel as you are entering the spirit of Inuit culture.
Canada’s newest capital will provide you with a fascinating glimpse of the Nunavut territory and its ever-changing culture. The bustling capital is a modern Inuit community, home to Inuit people from around the Territory as well as proud newcomers from around the world.
If you are looking for the heart of Nunavut, look no further than Kimmirut, which means “the heel’ in Inuktitut, a reference to the shape of a hill near the community.
The Inuit of Kugaaruk (Inuktitut for ‘little stream’) were amongst the last indigenous peoples in North America to have contact with Europeans in the latter part of the 19th century. Inuit have lived in the area for thousands of years as this was an important place for both caribou and sea mammal hunting.
Kugluktuk will provide you with a unique Nunavut experience that is hard to forget. In the local Inuinnaqtun dialect, Qurluktuk means ‘place of moving water’, which is a very good description of a community tied closely to the magnificent Coppermine River.
Click a hotspot on the map to learn more about a community.
Experience the spirit of the arctic
Our land is filled with some of the world’s most exclusive experiences.
- Bird Watching
- Kayaking & Canoeing
- Floe Edge