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—  Town  —
Overlooking Inuvik with the fall colors in the foreground
Location of Inuvik in Canada
Coordinates: 68°21′42″N 133°43′50″W / 68.361667°N 133.730556°W / 68.361667; -133.730556
Country Flag of Canada.svg Canada
Territory Flag of the Northwest Territories.svg Northwest Territories
Region Inuvik Region
Constituency Inuvik Boot Lake
Inuvik Twin Lakes
Census division Inuvik Region, Northwest Territories
Settled 1954
Incorporated 1 April 1967 (village)
  1 January 1970 (town)
Government [1]
 - Mayor Denny Rodgers
 - Senior Administrative Officer Sara Brown
 - MLA Robert C. McLeod (Boot Lake)
 - MLA Floyd Roland (Twin Lakes)
 - Total 49.76 km2 (19.2 sq mi)
Elevation 15 m (49 ft)
Highest elevation 68 m (223 ft)
Lowest elevation 10 m (33 ft)
Population (2006)[2]
 - Total 3,484
 Density 70/km2 (181.3/sq mi)
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 - Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
Canadian Postal code X0E 0T0
Area code(s) 867
Telephone exchange 678/777
Highways Dempster Highway
Waterways Mackenzie River
Website Town of Inuvik
Community Governance Data List[3]
2006 Canada Census,[2]
Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre,[4]
Hay River profile at the Legislative Assembly[5]
Canada Flight Supplement[6]

Inuvik, (place of man), is a town in the Northwest Territories of Canada and is the administrative centre for the Inuvik Region.

The population as of the 2006 Census was 3,484,[2] but the two previous census counts show wide fluctuations due to economic conditions: 2,894 in 2001 and 3,296 in 1996.[7][8]



Prime Minister John Diefenbaker at the official opening of the town of Inuvik.

Inuvik was conceived in 1953 as a replacement administrative centre for the hamlet of Aklavik on the west of the Mackenzie Delta, as the latter was prone to flooding and had no room for expansion. Initially called "New Aklavik", it was renamed to Inuvik.

Inuvik achieved village status in 1967 and became a full town in 1970 with an elected mayor and council. In 1979, with the completion of the Dempster Highway, Inuvik became connected to Canada's highway system, and simultaneously the most northerly town to which one could drive in the summer months — although an ice road through the Mackenzie River delta connects the town to Tuktoyaktuk and Aklavik, on the coast of the Arctic Ocean, in the winter.

Between 1971 and 1990, the town's economy was supported by the local Canadian Forces Station (originally a Naval Radio Station, later a communications research/signals intercept facility[9]) and by petrochemical companies exploring the Mackenzie Valley and the Beaufort Sea for petroleum. This all collapsed in 1990 for a variety of reasons, including disappearing government subsidies, local resistance to petroleum exploration, and low international oil prices.

On Feb. 10, 2010, the Google Street View imaging service uploaded images of most Inuvik streets. It is currently the northernmost Canadian community so imaged.


3,484 in 2006
Inuvialuit (predominately Uummarmiut), 38.9%; First Nations, 18.4%; Métis, 4.7%; other Aboriginal, 1.2%; non-native, 36.7%[10]

The main languages spoken in Inuvik are, Inuvialuktun, Gwich’in and English.[5]


Inuvik is located on the East Channel of the Mackenzie Delta, approximately 100 km (62 mi) from the Arctic Ocean and approximately 200 km (124 mi) north of the Arctic Circle.

Due to its northern location, Inuvik experiences an average of 56 days of continuous sunlight every summer and 30 days of polar night every winter.

Access is via the Dempster Highway for the majority of the year. The highway relies on ferries and ice bridges to get across the rivers. It is thus closed during the time of freeze-up (roughly late-October to mid-December), for ice to form and allow ice bridges, and thaw (roughly mid-May to mid-June) to allow the ferry to run. At these times, there is air access only.

When the Mackenzie River is ice-free, Northern Transportation Company Limited provides a commercial barge service from Hay River, on Great Slave Lake to the regional terminal in Inuvik. The annual sealift moves supplies as far east as Taloyoak, Nunavut and west to Barrow, Alaska.[11]

A distinct feature of Inuvik is the use of "utilidors" – above-ground utility conduits carrying water and sewer – which are covered by corrugated steel. They run throughout town connecting most buildings, and as a result there are many small bridges and underpasses. The utilidors are necessary because of the permafrost underlying the town.

Another feature is an Inukshuk placed outside the Mackenzie Hotel, which was rebuilt in 2006.

A great majority of roads are paved, and there are both concrete and metal-grill sidewalks alongside the roads.



Climate data for Inuvik
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 5.4
Average high °C (°F) -23.2
Average low °C (°F) -31.9
Record low °C (°F) -54.4
Precipitation mm (inches) 13.8
Source: Environment Canada[12] 2009-07-12


Our Lady of Victory church

Famous attractions

Inuvik's Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church, often called Igloo Church, is a famous landmark in the region. It is the most-photographed building in the town.

Annual events of note

The Great Northern Arts Festival[13] has been held annually for 10 days in the middle of July since 1989. The festival hosts artists from across the Circumpolar World with additional artists occasionally coming from as far away as the Orkney Islands, the Yucatán, and Australia. Local visitors and world travellers alike attend this annual event each year, many returning as repeat guests and volunteers.

Inuvik celebrates Muskrat Jamboree each year in late March or early April. Most events are held on the Mackenzie River. Several community groups operate concessions in tents, preparing hot soup, bannock, coffee and tea and other warm refreshments.


Inuvik Regional Hospital
The Inuvik community greenhouse converted from an old hockey rink.[14]

A new hospital opened in early 2003, providing service to an area extending from Sachs Harbour on Banks Island, to Ulukhaktok on Victoria Island, and from Paulatuk into the Sahtu Region including Norman Wells, Tulit'a, Deline, Fort Good Hope, and Colville Lake.

Another facility, the Inuvik Family Centre, was recently completed, at a cost of $8.5 million. It contains a very modern pool, gym, squash court, hot tub, sauna, steam room, space for community meetings and a twisting, 2-storey waterslide.


The town is served by the Inuvik Drum, community newspaper published weekly by Northern News Services.

It also features a CBC office, which broadcasts the show Northwind and daily news content.

Planetary nomenclature

In 1988, the International Astronomical Union and Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (IAU/WGPSN) officially named a crater on Mars as bearing the name "INUVIK. The Martian crater named for and attributed to the town is located at 78.7 degrees north latitude, and 28.6 degrees west olongitude on the Martian surface, and has a total diameter of 20.5 km (12.7 mi).[15]

Notable people

  • Roger Allen, former member of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories
  • Zac Boyer, former National Hockey League right winger
  • Tom Butters, former member of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories
  • Michel Chrétien, the youngest son of former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and his wife Aline
  • Jason Elliott, former professional ice hockey player
  • Fred Koe, former member of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories
  • Floyd Roland, Premier and current member of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories
  • Eric Schweig, Inuvialuit actor

See also


External links

Coordinates: 68°21′42″N 133°43′50″W / 68.36167°N 133.73056°W / 68.36167; -133.73056

Simple English

Inuvik is a town in the Northwest Territories of Canada. It is also where the local government of the Inuvik Region is based.


Inuvik was created as a replacement in 1953 for the earlier administrative center, Aklavik because that area was often flooded. At first, it was called "New Aklavik" but was renamed Inuvik in 1958 because there was confusion between the names of Aklavik and New Akalavik. Inuvik means "Place of Man" in Inuvialuktun, the local Inuit language.


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