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Photo by/Photo par: Tim Kalushka

Sanikiluaq (Nunavut)

Located in the heart of Hudson Bay in the Belcher Islands about 150 km off the coast, Sanikiluaq is the southernmost populated settlement in Nunavut. The terrain is composed of cliffs towering as high as 155 meters above the sea. Many are nesting grounds for eider ducks, whose down is collected from nests and made into beautiful duvets and warm outerwear.

The Inuit have inhabited the Belcher Islands for centuries; islands distinctly arctic in the sense that no trees grow there at all. The Thule and Dorset cultures also occupied the Islands, as evidenced by many excavation sites. They remained unknown to outsiders until Henry Hudson spotted them in 1610. Over 200 years later, in the 1840s, Thomas Wiegand, a servant of the Hudson's Bay Company, led an expedition from Fort George (Chisasibi) to the Belchers. Robert Flaherty and his crew were the first to winter on the islands some 75 years later.

Sanikiluaq carvers are known worldwide for their distinctive carvings made from argillite, the dark stone found on the Belcher Islands. The community is also known for its beautiful baskets made from lyme grass, a craft resuscitated by a group of women who only recently brought the tradition back from the brink of extinction.

Things to see and do

Sanikiluaq is a great location for canoeing, sea kayaking, cross-country skiing and hiking. Local outfitters offer boat, kayak and snowmobile excursions, as well as year-round camping (tents in summer, igloos in winter). Most of the small islands serve as breeding grounds for many species of ducks and geese to observe. Leaf Basin offers awe-inspiring tides, while hunting and world-class Arctic char fishing are available as well.

Name meaning

Fast runner.

Population

812

Weather

Today 9°C
Thu 13°C
Fri 16°C