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Kangirsuk, Quebec

For the Inuit reserved land of the same name, see Kangirsuk (Inuit reserved land).
Northern village municipality

Coordinates (101, chemin Kuuvviliariaq[1]): 60°01′05″N 70°01′40″W / 60.01806°N 70.02778°W / 60.01806; -70.02778Coordinates: 60°01′05″N 70°01′40″W / 60.01806°N 70.02778°W / 60.01806; -70.02778[2]

Country  Canada
Province  Quebec
Region Nord-du-Québec
TE Kativik
Established 1921 (trading post)
Constituted January 17, 1981
 • Mayor Tommy Nassak
 • Federal riding Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou
 • Prov. riding Ungava
 • Total 59.70 km2 (23.05 sq mi)
 • Land 57.26 km2 (22.11 sq mi)
Population (2011)[3]
 • Total 549
 • Density 9.6/km2 (25/sq mi)
 • Change (2006–11) Increase17.8%
 • Dwellings 163
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Postal code(s) J0M 1A0
Area code(s) 819

Kangirsuk (in Inuktitut: ᑲᖏᕐᓱᖅ/Kangirsuq, meaning "the bay") is an Inuit village in northern Nunavik, Quebec, Canada. It is 230 kilometres (140 mi) north of Kuujjuaq, between Aupaluk and Quaqtaq. The community is only accessible by air (Kangirsuk Airport) and, in late summer, by boat. The village used to be known also as Payne Bay and Bellin.[4]


Kangirsuk is located above the tree line near the mouth of the Arnaud River on the north shore of Payne Bay, 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) inland from the western coast of Ungava Bay. A rocky cliff to the north and a large, rocky hill to the west partially surround the village.[5]


In the 11th century the area was possibly visited by Vikings. Not far from the village on Pamiok Island, Thomas E. Lee, an archaeologist from Laval University, has discovered a stone foundation of what is believed to be a Viking long house.[4][5] Another archeological site, Hammer of Thor, is located on north shores of Payne River about 25 km west from the village.

Inuit have hunted and fished along the Ungava Bay coast for centuries. Permanent European settlement did not occur until 1921 when the Revillon Frères company set up a trading post here,[5] named Payne River in memory of Frank F. Payne, who explored the region during the winter of 1885-1886.[6] Four years later, the competing Hudson's Bay Company also set up a post.[5] The Inuit remained nomadic however and only visited the site as a summer encampment because of the abundance of game.[6]

In 1945, the location was known as Payne Bay. In 1959, the federal day school was founded. From then on permanent settlement by Inuit finally began. In 1961, the federal government provided healthcare facilities, housing, and social services.[5] That same year, the Quebec Government decided to give French names to places of the northern Quebec coast and changed the name of the post to Francis-Babel, in honor of Louis-François Babel (1826-1912). But this name did not take root, and was replaced a year later with Bellin, named after Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703-1772). It was subsequently known as Bellin (Payne) until 1980. That year, the name was changed to Kangiqsuk when the village was incorporated as a Northern Village Municipality (French: municipalité de village nordique). Local authorities disagreed with this transliteration, and in 1982 it was corrected to Kangirsuk.[6]


Population trend:[7]

  • Population in 2011: 549 (2006 to 2011 population change: 17.8%)
  • Population in 2006: 466
  • Population in 2001: 436
  • Population in 1996: 394
  • Population in 1991: 351

Flora and fauna

Payne Bay and the Arnaud River are renowned for its excellent mussel harvesting. Numerous nearby lakes and rivers provide an abundance of arctic char and lake trout.

On the islands of Kyak Bay and Virgin Lake located to the east and north-east of Kangirsuk, respectively, important colonies of eider ducks nest every year.[5]


External links

  • Northern Village of Kangirsuk
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