"Arviat / Eskimo Point" Arviat by Aopaq
Arviat Travel Guide: 14 reviews and 22 photos
Arviat is one of the 14 communities in Canada's newest territory, Nunavut, which came into being on April 1, 1999. The town is situated on the west coast of Hudson Bay on the tundra which means there are no trees and the weather can be quite extreme. Wind chill temperatures down to -70 degrees Celcius can occur and ice remains on the bay into June
The government is the main employer here although many Inuit still lead relatively traditional lives relying on caribou, char, seal and beluga whale as sources of food.
In Arviat the dominant language is Inuktitut although one can easily survive being unilingual English (like myself).
Culture is still very strong in this community as carving (stone and antler) is very common as is sewing of traditional clothing (kamiks (seal/caribou boots), gloves and parkas) and wall hangings.
Drum dancing and throat singing are also practiced and fortunately many of the young people are also learning these skills from the elders.
As far as a tourist location, Arviat is really not well set up for this as accommodations are poor and there is no real decent restaurant (more fast food places). Flight costs to the community are also very high ($1200 from Winnipeg) as are the general costs of groceries and supplies.
With that said, people that do venture to this community enjoy the friendliness of the locals, the unique cultural experiences and the "beauty" of the tundra.
Although Inuit no longer regularly live in iglus, having the ability to construct these incredible structures is a life-saving skill, especially for those hunters who get caught in blizzards.
A properly made iglu is difficult to construct for an inexperienced person and takes much practice to perfect. However, once completed, they are incredibly strong (you can easily stand on top of one) but also relatively warm inside.
Just a recommendation is not to drink tea before you retire into an iglu to spend the night and seal up the entry way. This can lead to an uncomfortable sleep although I was later told that the trick is to roll over in your sleeping bag, dig a little hole in the floor and relieve yourself without even standing up. Then cover-up your hole with other snow and go back to sleep. This is obviously a bit trickier for those of the female gender.
Dog racing is very popular in Arviat. There are as many as 20 dog teams in the community with races quite common during the holidays. This year there will be the first Arviat - Churchill race which is around 100 kilometres.
The Arviat style sleds are different from the stand-up western version shown in the photo. Arviat mushers sit or lie on flat wooden "kamotiqs" pulled by around 8-10 dogs that have been bred more for speed than brawn. This is contrast to the tradition Eskimo huskies (such as Aopaq - in my homepage pic) who have very broad chests and were bred for pulling loads.
The dogs are attached to the sleds using a fan hitch which contrasts with the more commonly known tandem hitch which is especially suited for terrain where there are trees to navigate through (not a concern on the tundra).
- Pros:Unique Inuit culture
- Cons:Expensive and lack of facilities
- In a nutshell:Very different than most other parts of Canada
Polar bears commonly come around the town in Late October and November. This is a time where most people are wary about... more travel advice
Due to the permafrost, it is not possible to lay regular piping systems for water. As a result all houses have to... more travel advice
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