That which resembles a lake
Tasiujaq was built on the shores of Leaf Lake, at the mouth of Deep Harbour on the Finger River. It lies a few kilometres north of the tree line, where shrub tundra relinquishes its hold to the arctic variety. Tasiujaq means "resembling a lake"; it refers to the entirety of Leaf Basin, which is comprised of Leaf Lake, Leaf Passage and Leaf Bay. Leaf Basin is renowned for its high tides that regularly exceed 15 metres.
Rich in seals and belugas, Arctic char, Atlantic salmon and trout, eider ducks and a profusion of seabirds, the region is also home to nearly 1,000 musk ox that roam the surrounding area. Gyrfalcons and peregrine falcons are commonly found nesting on the islands of Leaf Basin and surrounding cliffs.
The French company Révillon Frères and the Hudson's Bay Company each opened trading posts in 1905 and 1907, respectively, on a site located east of today's settlement. This settlement was strategically positioned along a traditional dogsled route used by Inuit for travel between Kuujjuaq and Kangirsuk. But both posts closed by 1935, leaving no permanent settlement in their wake.
When the federal government opened a school in Kuujjuaq and began delivering social services, many Inuit converged around the nascent village. Wildlife resources remained scarce and many Inuit became reliant on government allowances. To rectify the situation, in 1963 the Northern Quebec directorate of the Provincial Government decided to create a new village on the south shore of Leaf Lake where wildlife resources were more plentiful.
In 1966, there was an initial controversy over the precise location of the new village, which was finally resolved when the disputing families agreed that the best location would be that which was most accessible by water. Once the new community had been organized, in 1971 a cooperative store was established by residents. It remains the only Nunavik cooperative to function independently of the Fédération des coopératives du Nouveau-Québec.
You can see record-breaking tides at Leaf Lake. There is also great hunting year-round and Arctic char fishing in summer.
Photo Credit : Joeleusi Annanack