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25 Fun And Interesting Facts About Iqaluit

25 Fun and Interesting Facts about Iqaluit

Iqaluit isn’t exactly on the radar screen of many people. That’s largely a function of its geography (remote) and size (small). Iqaluit is an interesting place to visit, even for a short period of time. I was lucky enough to have a couple of long layovers in the city which gave me a small taste of the place. If I get a chance to visit again, I’d take advantage of the terrific hiking and kayaking that is available nearby.

First view of Iqaluit from the air
First view of Iqaluit from the air
Easy to get close-up views of planes flying into Iqaluit
Easy to get close-up views of planes flying into Iqaluit

Enjoy these 25 fun and interesting facts about Iqaluit

Iqaluit is the capital of Nunavut, one of Canada’s three territories; Nunavut boasts an enormous landmass, enough to put it in the #15 position in the world, if it was a country.

Iqaluit was called Frobisher Bay until 1987.

Iqaluit is home to approximately 7,250 people. It’s got the smallest population of any capital city in Canada.

About 60% of Iqaluit’s population is Inuit – though the number seems to vary widely depending on the source.

Iqaluit means many fish in Inuktitut.

Signage in Iqaluit is in English and Inuktitut. 

Departure boards have English and Inuktitut
Departure boards have English and Inuktitut
Multilingual stop signs in Iqaluit
Multilingual stop signs in Iqaluit

The airport in Iqaluit

The airport in Iqaluit is painted a cheerful yellow. Regularly scheduled flights service Iqaluit from Montreal, Ottawa, Yellowknife, Edmonton, Rankin Inlet and Kuujjuaq, primarily on Canadian North and First Air. Prepare to remortgage your house to pay for the flight.

The Iqaluit Airport landing strip is sometimes used for cold weather testing of the world’s largest aircraft.

The Iqaluit Airport
The Iqaluit Airport

Sky high food prices in Iqaluit

There are three Tim Horton’s kiosks in Iqaluit. Nunavut was the last territory in Canada to get a Tims.

Food prices are the highest I’ve seen anywhere in the world though Tahiti comes a close second. Don’t choke on your chicken bone if you go out to a buffet.

High food prices in Iqaluit
Orange juice is triple what we pay for it in Calgary

Temperatures in Iqaluit 

The lowest temperature ever recorded in Iqaluit was -46°C though one reader has said that is way too low.

On December 21st, the shortest day of the year, Iqaluit gets only 4.19 hours of daylight. On the longest day of the year – June 20th, Iqaluit gets 20.49 hours of sunshine.

On December 24th, the sun doesn’t rise until 9:25 AM. The earliest sunset is at 1:40 PM on December 17th.

Houses are wildly colourful in Iqaluit.

Colourful houses in Iqaluit
Colourful houses in Iqaluit

Could you live with sea ice into July?

The sea ice doesn’t leave the bay until July. It stays away until October. Many people buy close to a year’s supply of dry goods which are brought in by boat once the ice clears.

Boat on the beach in Iqaluit
Boat on the beach in Iqaluit
Sea ice filling the bay by Iqaluit
Sea ice filling the bay by Iqaluit

The second highest tides in Canada are found in Iqaluit. (The highest are in the Bay of Fundy). They can move 8 – 12 metres on every tide change.

Iqaluit is home to a legislative assembly with 19 seats. Decisions are made by consensus and not done along party lines.

Iqaluit has 20 kilometres of road. Most of it is not paved.

Building can be challenging in Iqaluit, since many places are built on permafrost.

Notice the bottom of the buildings are built to accommodate permafrost
Notice the bottom of the buildings are built to accommodate permafrost

Cabs charge a flat rate in Iqaluit of $7 per ride.

It costs $2500 to $3000 to ship a car to Iqaluit.

The percentage of the population in Iqaluit over the age of 65 is 2.5%. In 2011 the median age in Iqaluit was 30.1 years.

People are restricted to no more than 22 litres of water per day if they have piped service. In this city a red light outside your house means the water tank is full.

You can easily walk from the Iqaluit Airport to downtown. By exploring on foot, we also found the home of numerous sled dogs just minutes from the airport.

Sled dogs can be seen only 15 minutes on foot away from the Iqaluit airport
Sled dogs can be seen only 15 minutes on foot away from the airport

The Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre offers life size displays of many of the animals seen around Iqaluit.

Life size displays at the Visitor Centre in Iqaluit
Life size displays at the Visitor Centre in Iqaluit

Martin Frobisher was the first European to sail into the bay beside what is now Iqaluit.

Snowmobiles are one of the preferred ways to get around the city. Many front yards have snowmobiles parked outside of them.

Snowmobiles in front yards in Iqaluit
Snowmobiles in front yards in Iqaluit

Further reading on interesting facts in Canada

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

25 Fun and Interesting Facts about Iqaluit

 

 

 

 

 

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 21 Comments
  1. Lane is laughing at me for reading this to him while we are in Mexico, but of course, we would love to go to the Arctic some day.You had a few things there we didn’t know.

  2. Love your amazing trip reports and meaningful photos. But where is that place? Of course I can google it, but a nice little map of Canada with a pin on or a link like below would be so nice.

  3. I very much enjoyed all of these facts about Iqaluit but the most interesting for me was the fact that the city was formerly known as Frobisher Bay. I had no idea that this was how Iqaluit had come to be or that Frobisher Bay was no more!

  4. I’ve heard of Yellowknife from the show Ice Road Truckers! Ok, so help me out here, Leigh. Iqaluit is the capital of Nunavut which Baffin Island is a part of?? I wonder why they picked to put the capital there versus on a that enormous island. Btw…you and John can drop me off with the sled dogs for the day and I will be very happy 🙂

  5. I love Iqaluit. It is truly beautiful here, although cold. There are a few of these facts that must be updated due to changes like: taxi fares are now a 7$ flat rate, the lowest temperature here is definitely lower than -46 C (it was -55 C here the other day), also the flights here are made by Canadian North or First Air (Air North and Air Canada do not fly here.) Overall, the post is very informative, thank you for sharing!

  6. I was in Iqaluit this March for one week and thoroughly enjoyed my visit. Some additional ideas: there is a thriving art community in Nunavut that produces beautiful hand carved sculptures and carvings out of native stone; snowmobiling on the frozen sea ice and around town is fantastic fun; there are public tours of the legislature where you can see their ceremonial mace carved out of a narwhal tusk containing native gems.

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