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Iqaluit

Nunavut Territory, Canada

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Iqaluit
Nunavut Territory, Canada

Iqaluit, formerly Frobisher Bay, is the territorial capital and the largest community of Canada’s youngest territory, Nunavut. Its population is about 60% Inuit, a lower figure than in other parts of Nunavut. The town was selected to serve as the new territory’s capital in a territory-wide referendum, in which it was chosen over Rankin Inlet and Cambridge Bay.

The city is located in the hills rising from Koojesse Inlet, an inlet of Frobisher Bay, on the south-east part of Baffin Island. It is well to the east of Nunavut’s mainland, and northeast of Hudson Bay. Inhabitants of Iqaluit are called Iqalummiut (singular: Iqalummiuq).

Iqaluit has a typically arctic climate, with very cold winters and short summers that are too cool to permit the growth of trees. Average monthly temperatures are below freezing for eight months of the year. Precipitation averages less than 500 millimeters annually, but Iqaluit is much wetter than many other localities in the Canadian arctic islands, with the summer being the wettest season.

Iqaluit has the distinction of being the smallest Canadian capital city in terms of population and the only capital that cannot be accessed from the rest of Canada via a highway.

About 5 km south-east from Iqaluit’s center is the community of Apex (Niaqunngut). It is located on a small peninsula separating Koojesse Inlet from Tarr Inlet. Historically Apex was the place were most Inuit lived when Iqaluit was a military site and off-limits to anyone not working at the base. Located here are the women’s shelter, a church, a primary school, and a bed-and-breakfast.

According to the 2001 census, Iqaluit has a population of 5,236.

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