The newest and the largest Canadian federal territory is Nunavut
. It was officially separated from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999 through the Nunavut Act as well as the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act. Nunavut means “our land” in Inuktitut, and the creation of this territory brought about a big change in Canada’s map after the incorporation of Newfoundland
Nunavut is situated in Northern Canada and occupies a land area of 746,048 sq mi and 62,137 sq mi of water area. Nunavut shares land borders with Northwest Territories
lies in the southern part of Nunavut, while Saskatchewan
lies in the southwest. Nunavut also has maritime borders with provinces like Ontario
, and Quebec
. The highest point in Nunavut is Barbeau Peak situated on Ellesmere Island.
Due to the territory’s vast size, weather variation is a common feature in Nunavut. Winters may be extreme, with the average January temperature of Grise Fiord in the north reaching -35 degrees centigrade, and the average July temperature in this place is 10 degrees centigrade. Summers may be milder at certain places, though abrupt dropping of temperatures is not uncommon. Hazardous weather conditions can form in all the areas where low temperatures persist along with strong winds.
Nunavut has been inhabited since the past 4000 years. The first European explorer to this area was Martin Frobisher in the year 1576. He had led an expedition to find Northwest Passage. Again during the 17th century, other explorers like Henry Hudson, Robert Bylot and William Baffin came looking for the Northwest Passage. On July 9, 1993, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act and Nunavut Act had been passed, but the official separation of Nunavut from Northwest Territories happened in April 1999.
Major part of Nunavut’s population consists of Inuit. Others include First Nations, Metis and non-aboriginals. In addition to Inuktitut, English and French are also recognized as official languages.
The traditional economy of Nunavut relied on harvesting animals, fish and plants. These forms of economic activities were the source for sustenance for many years, and still provide sustainable livelihoods to several smaller communities of Nunavut. Mining
and mineral exploration form the main backbone of Nunavut’s economy. Nunavut’s earliest diamond mine called the Jericho diamond project opened in the year 2006. Several new mines are set to be started in Nunavut by the year 2010 which will add $500 million to the annual GDP and create about 1700 new opportunities for employment
. Tourism is another sector which makes significant contribution to the economic growth. Eco-tourism, adventure, educational, sport fishing and hunting experiences are the main tourism activities of the region.
The major cities of Nunavut include:
• Rankin Inlet
• Baker Lake
• Cambridge Bay
Some of the famous personalities who originate from Nunavut are Susan Aguklark (Inuit songwriter and singer) and Ashevank Kenojuvack.