Cambridge Bay, pop: approx 1500
For many hundreds of years, the site of Cambridge Bay was an annual meeting place and fishing spot for Inuit families living on the Arctic coast. Its name in Inuktitut is Ikaluktutiak. It means “Fair fishing spot”, which aptly describes this location on the southeast coast of Victoria Island, on Queen Maud Gulf, 300 km north of the Arctic Circle.
Arctic explorers visited here in the 1800s, seeking the fabled Northwest Passage, and some met the Inuit. Roald Amundsen stopped here in the Gjoa in the first recorded transit of the Northwest Passage in 1905.
By the 1920s, traders, the RCMP and missionaries had arrived, and set up a more or less permanent outpost community. Inuit began to move here permanently in 1955, with the construction of the DEW line. A school was added in 1958, and the Ikaluktutiak Co-op opened in 1961, which ran a commercial char fishery for many years. Today Kitikmeot Foods processes meat and fish, and has a small retail outlet selling locally smoked and dried meat and fish products to visitors.
Today Cambridge Bay is a bustling business and regional government centre for Nunavut.. It is still an important summer gathering place as well as a thriving modern community.
Shopping includes the Northern Store and the Co-op, both offering groceries as well as household supplies. Inuit art and carvings are available locally, ask at the Visitor Centre. Fast food is available and there is one restaurant.