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Mar 06 2011

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Nunavut

Nunavut is the largest and newest federal territory of Canada; it was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999. The creation of Nunavut – meaning “our land” in Inuktitut – resulted in the first major change to Canada’s map since the incorporation of the new province of Newfoundland in 1949.

Interesting facts about Nunavut:

• Nunavut comprises a major portion of Northern Canada, and most of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, making it the fifth-largest country subdivision in the world. It is the least populous of Canada’s provinces and territories.
• It is the largest territory and makes up one fifth of the Canada’s land mass. Nunavut is made up of a mainland and many islands in the Arctic Ocean. Baffin Island and Ellesmere Island are two large islands. There are 28 communities. There are some weather stations and military bases.
• Nunavut’s capital is Iqaluit. It is the largest community in Nunavut and Canada’s most northern capital;
• The Inuit are the aboriginal people who make up 85 percent of the population. Inuktitut is the language of the Inuit. The first people to live in Nunavut were the Inuit.
• The towns are very small and far away from each other.
• On Baffin Island the Inuit still hunt, trap and fish for survival
• Groceries are very expensive because everything is flown in or brought in by barge.
• The land and water are frozen most of the year. The land is covered with sheets of ice, water pools and rivers. The Arctic waters are covered with ice floes. Icebergs break off from the glaciers and fall into the sea. In winter you can’t tell where the land ends and the sea begins.
• There are also mountains and tundra. Moss, tough grasses and small willow shrubs grow on the tundra.
• Mining is an important industry. Jericho diamond mine was opened in 2006
• Tourism is significant too. People come to fish, hike, camp, hunt, to see the wildlife.
• Other key industries are fishing; there are a few factories for packaging raw fish and meat.
• Nunavut is also home to the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world, Alert.
• There are a few roads in Nunavut. There is a “highway” which connects the mining community of Nanisivik to Arctic Bay.
• Each community has a harbor and an airport. Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet have paved runways and are considered the gateways from the south.
• The Canadian Coast Guard deploys icebreakers to the Arctic.
• Ground transportation is limited to snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles. Snowmobiles are used in the winter and boats in the summer.
• In April the people of Iqaluit celebrate the coming of spring. There are dog team and snowmobile races and contests (hunting, fishing, igloo-building, and harpoon-throwing).

Time Zone:

Nunavut is on Central Daylight Saving time. Nunavut time is the same as Ottawa time during the winter months (October to April) and in the summer months (April to October) Nunavut time is the same as Winnipeg time.

Climate:

Nunavut’s mean temperature in January is -30°C and in July is 15°C. Iqaluit, the capital, experiences 24 hours of daylight per day in June, and six hours per day in December. Grise Fiord, the northernmost community in Nunavut has 24/7 daylight for four months and 24/7 darkness for four months. The long cold winter begins in September. The ground is usually snow covered until June. Arctic blizzards are snowstorms with very cold strong winds. July and August are the summer months when temperatures reach 12°C on Baffin Island. Springtime is from March to June, with 18 hours a day of sunshine. Temperatures in spring can range from -20 °C to -1 °C.

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