Arctic Bay (Ikpiarjuk)


73°02' N, 85°10' W. Elevation unknown. 1 223 air km NW of Iqaluit; 1674 air km NE of Yellowknife, in the Baffin Region.
On the north shore of Adams Sound, off Admiralty Inlet, North Baffin Island.


On a low gravel beach enclosed on three sides by high hills. King George V Mountain, about 564 m high, rises 1.6 km to the east.


Average annual precipitation: 5.2 cm rainfall, 71.5 cm snowfall, 11.8 cm total precipitation. July mean high 9.5° C, low 1.7° C. January mean high -25.9° C, low -33.5° C. Winds N-NW at 24 km/h.


The communities Inuktitut name means "a bag or pocket". Its English name comes from a visit by the whaling vessel "Arctic" in 1872. The area has been occupied by Inuit hunters for about 5000 years. However, the permanent settlement began during the 1920's when the Hudson's Bay Company established an outpost in the area. The founding of a school in 1972 as well as oil exploration and a nearby lead-zinc mine at Nanisivik in the 1970's established Arctic Bay as a permanent community today.


  • Population: June 1981 -- 375; 1986 Census -- 477; June 1988 GNWT estimate -- 535; 1991 Census -- 543.
  • 1986 sex distribution: male 53%, female 47%.
  • 1986 age distribution: 0-4, 19%; 5-14, 27%; 15-64, 52%; 65+, 2%.
  • 1987 ethnic distribution: 0% Dene/Metis, 95% Inuit, 5% non-native.
  • Languages spoken: Inuktitut, English..

Political Organisation

  • Hamlet status, July 1, 1976
  • Mayor: Silas Attagutslak
  • Senior Administrative Officer: Mervyn Ray
  • Hamlet Office: (819) 439-9917; (819)439-9918; fax (819) 439-8767
  • Liquor Plebiscite: May 23, 1980 -- community controls
  • MLA Levi Barnabas


Major Activities -- Mining, oil and gas exploration, trapping, marine mammal harvesting, handicrafts/carving, quarrying.

Banks -- None; nearest bank, Iqaluit. Co-ops -- none.

Renewable Resources -- Fish: Arctic Char; Marine mammals: Right Whale, Ring Seal, Harp Seal, Bearded Seal, Beluga, Narwhal, Walrus, Killer Whale; Game: Caribou, Arctic Fox, Wolf, Polar Bear. Quotas: Caribou, 50; Muskox, 4; Polar Bear, 12-20.
Total number of trappers (1987-88):16.
Total dollars earned: $4 900.
Renewable Resources Officer: Glen Williams.

Non-renewable Resources --
Minerals: High lead-zinc potential (see Nanisivik). Medium uranium potential nearby. Iron potential to the south;
Oil and Gas: exploration, High Arctic Islands, Panarctic Oils Limited.
Other non-renewable resources: "Kooneak" soapstone quarried locally.

Tourism -- Arts and crafts: soapstone carving; parkas and other sewn crafts. Sod house museum.

Prices and Income -- Private Household Average Income 1985: $28 889. Food prices -- 1987: 32% higher than Yellowknife.

Local Businesses -- In addition to those listed above: Kennels, meat products, clothing manufacturing, taxis, general retail, food, hotels, outfitters.


Airport Operator: Hamlet of Arctic Bay.
Airport Facilities: 480 m x 18 m gravel runway for emergency use. The Nanisivik Airport provides air transportation needs.
Scheduled Service: Kenn Borek Air (via Resolute).

21 km Arctic Bay -- Nanisivik. All weather road.

Eastern Arctic Sealift; operator, Transport Canada from Montreal.


  • Postal code: X0A 0A0. Mail 2 times a week.
  • Telephone: Bell Canada (Anik), local and long distance
  • Radio: CBC Radio (Anik), community radio.
  • Television: CBC Television (Anik).

Medical/Social Services

  • Community Health Centre: two beds, one bassinet, one crib
  • Medical Staff: Five persons.
  • Social Services Facilities: One person Community Social Services Office.
  • Community-based social services and projects: Youth Justice Committee.


  • School: Inuujaq, K - 10; Student enrolment (1988-89): 167; Teachers: 9; Local Education Council: Arctic Bay Education Council.
  • Vocational and Continuing Education: Adult education centre, one resident adult educator.

Housing and Accommodation

  • NWT Housing Corporation units (1989): 79
  • HAP housing allocations 1980-89: 7
  • GNWT staff housing units: 9 houses, 2 mobile homes.
  • Commercial Accommodation: Enokseot Hotel. Accommodates 16 in 8 rooms, shared bath, meals included.

Recreation and Culture

Community hall multi-purpose complex; Recreation Committee, Recreation Co-ordinator, Midnight Sun Marathon, June-July. Sod House Museum. Recreation Committee.