13 Facts You Didn't Know About Nunavut

We may be the newest territory (and we can admit it, the most difficult to reach), but there is a lot that makes Nunavut an amazing place to visit. We can’t wait to share our beauty with you, but until then here are 13 facts about Nunavut.

a person drives their snow mobile through the tundra. Photograph @andrewbresnahan
Photograph: @andrewbresnahan

1. We’re the biggest province or territory in Canada.

With covering over 2 million square kilometres, we have a lot of space for the adventure of a lifetime.
 

2. We have the longest coastline in Canada, too.

The Arctic Archipelago is home to over 36,000 islands. Which means a lot of coastline. If you’re eager for a kayak adventure, we have plenty of waterways to explore.
 

3. We’re the youngest province or territory in Canada.

Nunavut became its own territory on April 1, 1999. We’re the 3rd territory in Canada, and the 13th jurisdiction.

A person hikes through the mountains of Nunavut. Photograph @nodin_desaillan
Photograph: @nodin_desaillan

4. We have four official languages.

While English and French remain our official Federal languages, all signage and government correspondence is also shared in the Inuit languages Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun. Inuktitut is iconic for its use of syllabics instead of the latin alphabet.
 

5. It can get hot in the summer!

Relatively speaking of course. But in communities like Baker Lake or Rankin Inlet, July temperature can easily reach 25℃ (77 ℉). Between that and the never setting sun, pass the sun lotion.
 

6. There are no roads to Nunavut.

If you were looking to take the great Nunavut road trip, we hate to break it to you, but it’ll be short. Nunavut is only accessible by air and sea. We have roads in our communities, but the only way to get from place to place is to hop on a plane (or sometimes a snowmobile).

A pod of narwhals swim through Nunavut's Arctic Ocean

7. 3 out of 4 narwhals call Nunavut home.

75% of the world’s narwhals spend their time in Nunavut’s waters. What we ever did to deserve this iconic whale, we’ll never know. But seeing a pod of them gather by the floe edge is lifelong memory.
 

8. We have no territorial political parties.

Unlike most regions in Canada, Nunavut operates by consensus-based governance. All Members of the Legislative Assembly run as independents, and Members are seated in a circle to make governance decisions.
 

9. We still use dog sleds to get around, but snowmobiles work great too.

The ancient Inuit sled dog breeds are alive and well. These dogs are perfectly adapted to the arctic climate, and love to run. But when distances are a bit too far for dogs, Nunavummiut hop on their snowmobiles to make tracks. 

A elder smiles while wearing a traditional parka. Photograph Kitikmeot Heritage Society
Photograph: Kitikmeot Heritage Society

 

10. We refer to our traditional food as “country food”.

It may be intimidating to some, but if Anthony Bordain enjoyed it, we bet you will too.
At a typical community feast, you can find arctic char, caribou, seal, and whale, also known as muktuk. Mamaqtuq! (Translation: It’s delicious)
 

11. We have no trees (mostly).

You can only find trees in the southernmost parts of Nunavut, especially near the border of Manitoba. But the tundra is completely free of trees. If you thought the prairies had a big horizon, you haven’t been to the tundra.
 

12. We’re home to the largest land carnivore on the planet.

With male polar bears clocking in at 1,500 lbs, and over 10 ft. tall when standing, they hold the record for being the largest land carnivore. But as beautiful as they are, there is a reason we take guides out onto the land. Polar bears aren’t the kind of surprise you want on the tundra.
 

13. We have the highest percentage of Inuit, Metis, and First Nation Peoples in Canada.

With 84% of Nunavut’s population being Inuit, we are fortunate to have a rich culture steeped in tradition that values our relationship with the land. We have artists that are sought after around the globe, and traditional guides to show you the importance of a connection to land. Nunavut is a culturally rich destination, and we can’t wait to share it with you.