Travel Guides to Canada


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The size of Western Europe, Nunavut is the biggest and least populated of Canada's provinces and territories, 2,093,190 sq. km (808,185 sq. mi.) covering one-fi fth of the country's total area and reaching almost to the North Pole. With a population that could fi t into an average sports stadium, it means there is one statistically solitary person for every 56.72 sq. km (21.9 sq. mi.); Inuit are outnumbered nearly 17 to 1 by caribou. TRADITIONS LIVE ON While the capital of Iqaluit is an increas- ingly modern frontier town with a population of 6,700, the 24 other commu- nities scattered across the territory are much smaller, some home to just a few hundred residents. No roads link the tiny settlements, nor are there roads connecting Nunavut to the rest of Canada. In the remote hamlets, life is often still lived according to age-old timetables and traditions. Though snowmobiles, boats and guns have largely replaced dogsleds, kayaks and harpoons, many Inuit continue to hunt and fi sh to support their extended families. Once nomadic, they love to go out "on the land," camping throughout summer, collecting bird eggs and picking berries. Women wear homemade amauti jackets that keep their babies tucked against their backs. Drum dancing, throat singing, story- telling, sewing traditional clothes and carving are still practiced throughout Nunavut and locals are happy to share the experiences. OUT ON THE LAND While the communities are cultural outposts, most visitors also want to experience the mystical Arctic wilderness with its dramatic scenery and wealth of wildlife. While there are certifi ed local outfi tters in most hamlets, it is important to book well in advance as many guides are often hunters and won't always be available on short notice. Southern-based outfi tters off er a variety of adventures from canoeing and hiking to dogsledding and cultural visits with specifi c fi xed dates and using some locals as guides. An increasingly popular way to explore Canada's Arctic is via cruise ships that hopscotch along the coast, stopping at several communities where locals welcome guests with performances, feasts and handmade artwork and souvenirs. Often, Inuit elders, artists and cultural experts will travel on-board to enhance the experience. EXTREME TERRITORY Temperatures range from +30 °C (86 °F) in summer to -50 °C (-58 °F) in winter when much of the territory lies in almost 24-hour darkness as skies shimmer with the magical colours of the aurora borealis. So most visitors come during the short summers, when pleasantly cool days are lit around the clock by the midnight sun and the tundra comes to life with wildfl owers and wildlife and the waters teem with whales, walrus and seals. WHAT'S NEW? A new international airport is expected to be completed in Iqaluit by the end of the year ( iqaluit-international-airport-project). In September, for Canada's 150 th birthday, Parks Canada is partnering with Adventure SLED DOGS, BAFFIN BAY • SHUTTERSTOCK/ANDREANITA NU 155

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