State Detail - Nunavut

Nunavut

Description

A land of desolation, vast expanse, and absolute natural silence, Nunavut occupies 150,000 sq. km with a population of only 25,000. It's Canada's newest province, established on April 1, 1999 in what was once the eastern part of Northwest Territories. As a destination, it's becoming increasingly popular, but that's not to say Iqaluit or Kugluktuk will be overtaking Toronto's tourist trade anytime soon. Nunavut is for hardcore eco-travelers looking to explore some of the most blissfully uncivilized land left on earth.

From Arviat and Rankin Inlet on the shores of the Hudson Bay to the fjords of Baffin Island and on toward the high arctic, Nunavut offers a surprisingly wide range of experience, unified by cold and quiet. At Auyuittuq National Park, you can take in the sort of staggering glacial vistas that really drive home your extraordinary smallness in the grand scheme of things. It's a gorgeous park full of icy streams, spiky rock formations, and tiny but brilliant patches of flowering vegetation--difficult terrain, but dramatic and rewarding.

Nunavut is self-governed by the Inuit, who have been here for a long time and whose culture can be experienced through the storytelling, music, and carvings of local artisans. The gateway cities of Iqaluit (Nunavut's capital), Arviat (its southernmost major city), and Rankin Inlet (its primary economic center) all provide opportunities to gain insight into regional history and customs.

Most of Nunavut is accessible only by air, so you'll have to plan any trips carefully, all the more so because this isn't exactly shopping-mall country. Arctic tourism outfitters can help you organize city-to-city jaunts or comprehensive tours of the historic sites and national parks here. Try the Nunavut Tourism Office (800-491-7910) to get your bearings and glean some ideas on where to start.

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