Whale Cove

Whale Cove, Nunavut

Whale Cove is located on a long point of land extending into Hudson’s Bay. The Inuktitut name, Tikirarjuaq meaning ‘long point’, reflects this geography. The English name, Whale Cove refers to the many beluga whales that congregate off the coast every fall. Regardless of the name you choose to use, the people will welcome you into this close-knit and traditional Inuit community. The Inuit of Whale Cove remain close to the land with hunting, fishing and trapping forming the backbone of the local economy.

Essential experiences:

  • Whale watching every fall and polar bear viewing during the annual migration
  • Fishing for wild arctic char, lake trout, and whitefish
  • Experiencing the life of a small, traditional Inuit community

The community, like much of the Kivalliq region is surrounded by low hills, rocky terrain, and sits adjacent to the majestic Hudson’s Bay.

At Iqalugaarjuup Nunanga Territorial Park, located 80 kilometers from Whale Cove, there are numerous archaeological sites to visit. The Pre-Dorset (predecessors of the Inuit) archaeological sites date from 1000 BC, and the  Thule sites date from 1200 AD.

The Whale Cove area saw some of the earliest contact between Inuit and Europeans with the arrival of Henry Hudson in 1611. When Hudson and his crew disappeared, subsequent voyages came in search of the missing sea captain from 1613 onwards. The Hudson’s Bay Company established a trading post in the area in the early 1700s to trade ammunition, tea, and sugar for valuable furs hunted and trapped by the local Inuit.

The hamlet of Whale Cove was founded in the 1950s to help Inuit who were starving as the caribou disappeared. The Government of Canada relocated disparate survivors to the hamlet where they believed that the Inuit would be able to hunt, fish and trap. To this day, this tragedy has helped shape what is now a good humoured and close knit community. The people remain closely tied to the land, living on seal, walrus, and beluga meats as their main diet source, and berries harvested during the summer.