The eastern Arctic, including a large part of the archipelago and the territory east of the Great Slave Lake, remained hidden to the world until the onset of aeronautics.
Called Nunavut, which in the Inui Tov language means “our land,” on April 1, 1999 it became the new province of Canada. About 85% of its population is Inuit. Nunavut is not only the newest, but also the largest province (about 20% of the Canadian land area); it is located almost entirely above the forest distribution zone and covers three time zones.
Nunavut extends from the east coast of Baffin Island and Ellesmere Islands to the west, to the plateaus and cliffs of the Arctic coast of Coronation Bay, and to the north, to the polar islands and the North Pole. There are several polar villages and 27 communities, the largest of which is the metropolitan settlement of Iqaluit with a population of about 6,000 people.
The main asset of Nuna-vuta is undoubtedly its nature, and the locals will help you discover its beauty: they organize various tours during which you can, for example, see how the needle is built, ride dog sledges, observe polar bears and narwhals ( unicorn marine mammals that were once considered relatives of mythical unicorns).
Most tourists come here in the summer season, which lasts two to three months, when the sun shines round the clock, and the average air temperature is 12 ° C. But there are tourists who do not stop the polar winter frosts (up to -46 ° C); they come here to accompany the traditional Inuit cat hunt or to admire the magnificent northern lights in the dark winter sky.
The natural beauty of Nunavut attracts those who can afford to spend time and money on such a visit. Since there are practically no roads here, except for the 21-kilometer segment between the Arctic Bay and Nanisivik, you can only move by plane, snowmobile or dog sled. Severe weather conditions mean frequent delays and changes in the schedule, but in return you will receive incomparable impressions.
In summer, polar bears sail to Churchill’s harbor on floating ice floes. This journey serves as a welcome change for them after a difficult hunt for fur seals in a frozen bay. Reaching the southern coast of the Hudson Bay, bears can easily switch to a vegetarian diet.
Mating takes place on pack ice in April and May. After the autumn trip, the she-bear moves farther from the coast and in the snowy hill builds a den. In late December — early January, her cub is born; newborn cubs are very small, the size of a guinea pig.
In early spring, after hibernation, the bears begin to hunt small cats crawling on the ice. Two years later, when the little bear grows up enough to take care of itself, its parents return to Churchill.