The encircling mirror-still waters host an abundance of wildlife, but it’s on a small island in the ice floes of the Foxe Basin that you’ll find the beating heart of Canada’s Nunavut. Sitting pretty between the Canadian mainland and Baffin Island, Igloolik is the cultural epicentre of the Inuit.
The name ‘Igloolik’ translates as ‘there is a house’ and the Inuit community here has ancient roots that stretch back to 2000 BC. On arrival into the island’s vibrantly artistic hamlet you’re instantly greeted by a giant ‘Inukshuk’, a human-shaped cairn built to commemorate the last millennium. To the north of the island you’ll encounter the stark Qikiqtaarjuk peninsula, a land of Inuit myth and lore where the ancient hero Atanarjuat was said to have started his legendary run.
Icebergs drift past the island through the narrows of Fury and Hecla Strait, which also funnels migrating beluga and bowhead whales, herds of walrus, bearded seals and pods of narwhal. Explore the waters by boat, kayak or diving for an incredible opportunity to get close to these magnificent mammals.
When to go
Visit in summer (May 18 to July 26) for 24 hours of daylight. May to September has the highest temperatures.
Come in April for the Return of the Sun Festival, celebrated with a feast of local foods and traditional Inuit games. The Northern Lights are visible in winter
What to do
- Snowmobile and dogsled
- Sea kayak with walruses
- Boat expeditions to see Bowhead and Beluga whales
- Experience traditional Inuit way of life
- Bird watching
- Ice climbs
- Taste the region's famous culinary export of aged and fermented walrus meat
- Please note that polar bear sightings cannot be guaranteed