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Gjoa Haven, Nunavut

Gjoa Haven

Main street of Gjoa Haven
Gjoa Haven
Gjoa Haven

Coordinates: 68°37′33″N 095°52′30″W / 68.62583°N 95.87500°W / 68.62583; -95.87500Coordinates: 68°37′33″N 095°52′30″W / 68.62583°N 95.87500°W / 68.62583; -95.87500

Country Canada
Territory Nunavut
Region Kitikmeot Region
Electoral district Nattilik
 • Mayor Allen Aglukkaq[1]
 • MLA Jeannie Ugyuk
 • Total 28.47 km2 (10.99 sq mi)
Elevation[5] 47 m (154 ft)
Population (2011)[4]
 • Total 1,279
 • Density 45/km2 (120/sq mi)
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
Canadian Postal code X0B 1J0
Area code(s) 867

Gjoa Haven (/ˌ ˈhvən/; Inuktitut: Uqsuqtuuq, syllabics: ᐅᖅᓱᖅᑑᖅ[pronunciation?], 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 (656 mi) northeast of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. It is the only settlement on King William Island. The name Gjoa Haven is from the Norwegian "Gjøahavn" or "Gjøa's Harbour", and was named by polar explorer Roald Amundsen after his ship Gjøa.


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. He 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, learning to live off the land and travel efficiently. This knowledge proved to be vital for his later successful exploration to the South Pole. He explored the Boothia Peninsula, searching for the exact location of the North Magnetic Pole. Some of the present Inuit people claim to be descendants of Amundsen (or his companions),[6] but that has been refuted.[7]

Permanent settlement at Gjoa Haven started in 1927 with a Hudson's Bay Company outpost.[8] In 1941 Henry Larsen reached it from the west. It 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 2011 census, the population was 1,279 an increase of 20.2% from the 2006 census.[4] Gjoa Haven has expanded to such an extent that a newer subdivision has been set up near the airport at 68°37′56″N 095°52′04″W / 68.63222°N 95.86778°W / 68.63222; -95.86778.

The community is served by the Gjoa Haven Airport and by annual supply sealift. The area is home to CAM-B, a North Warning System site.

See also


  • Huntford, R. (2003). Scott and Amundsen: The last place on earth. London: Abacus., ISBN 0-349-11395-5

External links

  • Official website of the Hamlet of Gjoa Haven
  • Aerial photos of Gjoa Haven
  • Gjoa Haven at the Government of Nunavut
  • Historical information
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