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Gjoa Haven
Nunavut Territory, Canada

Gjoa Haven or (Inuktitut: Uqsuqtuuq, meaning “lots of fat”, referring to the abundance of blubbery sea mammals in the nearby waters) is a hamlet in Nunavut, above the Arctic Circle, located in the Kitikmeot Region, 1,056 km NE of Yellowknife. It is the only settlement on King William Island. The name Gjøa Haven is Norwegian for “Gjøa’s Harbour”, and was named by polar explorer Roald Amundsen after his ship Gjøa. The 2008 Rand McNally Road Atlas shows a new name of Oqsuqtooq, but its status as official is not known.

In 1903 Amundsen was attempting the first traverse of the Northwest Passage; by October the straits through which he was travelling began to ice up, and Amundsen put Gjøa into a natural harbour on the southeast coast of King William Island. She was to stay there, in what Amundsen called “the finest little harbor in the world”, for nearly two years. He spent that time with the local Netsilik Inuit people, learning to live off the land and travel efficiently. He explored the Boothia Peninsula, searching for the exact location of the magnetic north pole.

The growth of a permanent settlement at Gjoa Haven mirrors the movement of the traditionally nomadic Inuit people toward a more settled lifestyle. In 1961 the town’s population was 110; population was 960 according to the 2001 Census, having grown due to people moving from the traditional camps to be close to the healthcare and educational facilities available at Gjoa Haven. As of the 2006 census the population was 1,064 an increase of 10.8% from the 2001 census. Gjoa Haven has expanded to such an extent that a newer subdivision has been set up near the airport