The village of Quaqtaq is located on the eastern shore of Diana Bay on a peninsula reaching into the Hudson Strait at the point where it meets Ungava Bay. Mountains stand to the north; to the southeast are smaller, rocky hills. The region is rich with land and sea mammals, as well as fish and seafood, including mussels, scallops and clams. Archaeological evidence indicates the area has been populated for about 3,500 years and that people of the Thule culture, ancestors of today's Inuit, arrived over 500 years ago.
Until the early 1930s, the peninsula was known as Nuvukutaaq (the long point). However, according to stories still told, a man who once came to the area to hunt beluga found live parasites in his stool — hence the disarmingly descriptive name.
Quaqtaq had historically been one of the Inuit's winter campsites, as it was located along a coast where ice would cleave to the land in winter, which rendered sea mammals abundant and accessible to hunters. For the same reason, a variety of individual traders and European trading interests opened and closed their posts there, until 1947 when Catholic missionaries arrived.
Quaqtaq was considered too small to be eligible for the basic services offered to other communities, and only after a measles epidemic killed 11 adults (10% of the population) did the federal government begin delivering basic necessities. A clinic was built in 1963 along with a store and a post office that was equipped with a radiotelephone. In 1978, Quaqtaq was legally established as a municipality.
Akpatok Island, looming in the distance from the waters of Ungava Bay to the east, has long been known as the finest area in the region for walrus and polar bear hunting. Rocky cliffs that guard the island are the nesting area of a huge summer colony of thick-billed murre.
Tuvaaluk (Diana Bay) is an excellent site for hunting and wildlife observation. There are also numerous archaeological sites scattered throughout the region to discover.
Photo credit | Alexi Hobbs