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Nunavut is a Canadian territory in the Eastern Arctic comprising of two-fifths of Canada’s landmass and 86% of its watershed yet, is home to less than one-sixth of its population. Nunavut has the world’s largest caribou herds, with up to 30 million animals migrating each year to Nunavut for their calving season.
- 1. Nunavut joined Canada in 1999 (Canada's newest territory), but it has a long history of human habitation. The Inuit have lived in the territory for thousands of years, following an ancient cycle known as the nomadic way of life. Evidence of their culture can be found in archaeological finds dating from at least 6,500 years ago. The Inuit are said to have “invented” snowshoes. They relied heavily on hunting for food and clothing and lived in tents made from caribou hides called anoraks during winters.
- 2. The capital city of Nunavut is Iqaluit (formerly, Frobisher Bay), on Baffin Island. It was not the choice of the Inuit when it was made the capital in 1993, because it is subject to occasional flooding. Iqaluit means “many fish” in Inuktitut, the native language of the Inuit. The city has a population of 7,700 (2020).
- 3. Nunavut means “our land” in Inuktitut.
- 4. Nunavut has a polar climate with very long cold winters and short, cool summers.
- 5. Nunavut is the most northern territory in the world. It is also the largest jurisdiction in Canada, with an area of 472,443 km2, and the least populated at 29,874 residents (2016 Census). It, therefore, has a vast wilderness that supports plant and animal life unlike anywhere else on Earth. More than two-thirds of Nunavut’s surface is covered by glaciers.
- 6. Officially recognized languages are English, French, Inuit languages of Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun.
- 7. Nunavut is famous for having the lowest population density in Canada. It is almost entirely made up of Inuit (75%) and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (traditional knowledge).
- 8. Nunavut has an exceptionally low population compared to the rest of Canada, with 3% of Canada’s total population, and Canadians make up less than 1% of its population. For most Canadians, Nunavut is a far-away place with a small number of people who live there for work or for adventure.
- 9. Things to do in Nunavut’s Arctic wilderness include hiking, dog sledding, snowmobiling, viewing wildlife and viewing the Northern Lights.
- 10. The largest collection of Inuit art is held at the Inuit Art Centre in Cape Dorset.
- 11. Nunavut’s economy is primarily based on public services (45%) such as construction (13%), retail (11%), education (8%), transportation/communication (6%) and health care (5%); and public administration (39%).
- 12. Famous dishes in Nunavut are: caribou meat, cloudberries, narwhal skin, sealskin coats, caribou stew and beaver tail soup.
- 13. Nunavut has an abundance of natural resources: gold, diamonds, uranium, copper and nickel are among them.
- 14. The territory's neighbours are Northwest Territories and the province of Manitoba.