Chesterfield Inlet

Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut

Chesterfield Inlet, located on the northwestern coast of Hudson Bay, is the oldest established community in Nunavut. The Inuktitut name is Igluligaarjuk 'Place with a few Thule Houses’). There are archaeological sites where the ancient Dorset peoples (500BC – 1,500AD) are believed to have camped in the summers. Contact with Europeans started in the 1700s and Chesterfield Inlet was an important trading location between Inuit and European whalers and explorers. Chesterfield Inlet was considered for many years the major community in Nunavut and was the site of one of the very few residential schools located in Nunavut. Essential experiences include:

  • Enjoying abundant wildlife from whale spotting to bird watching, as well as Arctic char fishing
  • Touring the old Roman Catholic mission and learn about the complex history of the Church in Nunavut
  • Following the Chesterfield Inlet Historic Trail and visiting the archaeological sites of the Dorset and Thule peoples

History

The community of Chesterfield Inlet is the oldest in Nunavut. The current community was established in 1911, but the area has long been important to Inuit. Contact with Europeans in this area started in the 1700’s, and continued to serve as an important trading location between Inuit and European whalers and explorers.

Chesterfield Inlet is the oldest settlement in the Arctic, and served as the Hudson’s Bay Company main supply depot for trading posts in the area. With this hub of commercial activity, it became the centre for education and medicine for the region, as well as the biggest detachment of Royal Canadian Mounted Police and largest Catholic mission in the north.

Some of the early buildings erected by the Catholic Church still stand and provide a vivid reminder of the rich history of the community. Explore the community and discover the history of Nunavut, as this was where first contact took place.

Today, Chesterfield Inlet is a small community known for an abundance of wildlife and for its stronghold of Inuit culture and traditions. Local guides will provide you access to view polar bears, or go whale watching, and see pods of seal, herds of caribou, and migratory birds in their natural habitat. If you want to see wildlife and the people who still depend greatly upon them, then Chesterfield Inlet is a great place gain this vital insight.