The size of Western Europe, this territory makes up the polar bear's share of the Canadian Arctic.
The size of Western Europe, this territory makes up the polar bear's share of the Canadian Arctic. The population is more than 80 percent Inuit, and the past evidence of the region's indigenous people, including the ancient Thule and Dorset cultures, is scattered across the land. Nunavut is accessible only by air and sea, and its small communities are widely separated. Nonetheless, accommodations, transportation and other services for travelers wanting to explore this enormous and spectacular region are surprisingly well developed.
Cruise-ship operators offer a wide variety of sea cruises that pass through magnificent vistas of mountains, glaciers, icebergs, and marine wildlife. Eco-minded cruises emphasize cultural, wildlife and nature programs. The wide spectrum of activities here ranges from dog-sledding excursions on the tundra, winter camping, and wilderness cross-country skiing, to sea kayaking, sport fishing, and exploring expeditions.
Arctic Nunavut boasts four pristine national parks. Aulavik National Park offers the raftable Thomsen River and the highest known density of muskoxen. Auyuittuq National Park is graced with the tallest peaks of the Canadian Shield, the Penny Ice Cap, and coastal fiords. Ukkusiksalik National Park has over 500 archaeological sites and rich deposits of soapstone, used by Inuit for their well-known artistic carvings. Lastly, Ellesmere Island's Quttinirpaaq National Park offers a glacial realm at the "top of the world."
Many outfitters and tour services are based south of the Arctic Circle, in the Nunavut capital of Iqaluit. Every summer Iqaluit hosts an arts festival that features musicians, artists and performers from across Nunavut and around the world.