The community of Kangigsujuaq is located in an area of awe-inspiring beauty, nestled in the hollow of a magnificent valley surrounded by towering mountains, just 10 km from the Hudson Strait.
Among the residents' ingenious adaptations to the area's unique geography is their curious method of mussel harvesting during the winter months. Timed to harmonize with localized tidal patterns, residents pierce holes in the ice during low ebb, descend into the cavity and crawl along the exposed sea floor to collect the delicacy.
In 1884, members of the Hudson's Bay Company arrived in the area, hoping to establish the strait as a viable commercial route to Europe. A weather-observation station was therefore founded at Stupart Bay, encouraging local Inuit to enter into trade with foreigners assigned there, exchanging sealskin mittens and boots for tobacco and gunpowder.
In 1910, the French company Révillon Frères established a post here, followed 4 years later by an HBC post. A Catholic mission was established shortly afterward, which included the community's first school, and then a nursing station. An Anglican church was established in 1963 and a cooperative community store founded in 1970.
Not until 1961 was the settlement officially recognized and named Sainte-Anne-de-Maricourt, only regaining its Inuktitut name, Kangiqsujuaq when officially granted municipal status several years later.
The community is located north of the mineral-rich area known as the Cape Smith belt. Mining operations have been carried out in the region irregularly since the 1950s. Today, the area is home to the Raglan Mine, one of the richest base-metal mines in the world that provides employment for much of the community’s population.
There is plenty to see and do in the Kangiqsujuaq area, including visits to Douglas Harbour—a spectacular double fiord with steep, rocky walls. Nearby Qikirtaaluk Island and Qajartalik are home to archeological sites with petroglyphs dating back to the late Dorset period, about 1,200 years ago. Remnants of semi-subterranean houses built by Inuit of the Thule period, 800 years ago can also be found. The community is ideally located for arctic wildlife observation.
Photo credit : Lucasi Kiatainaq Photography | @lucasie16