Inuvik, Northwest Territories

From Academic Kids

Inuvik is a small town in the Northwest Territories of Canada.



Inuvik was conceived in 1953 as a replacement administrative centre for the hamlet of Aklavik on the west of the Mackenzie Delta as the latter was prone to flooding and had no room for expansion. Initially called "New Aklavik", it was renamed to Inuvik (meaning "Place of Man" in Inuvialuktun) in 1958 because of the confusion surrounding the Aklavik/New Aklavik split.

Inuvik achieved village status in 1967 and became a full town in 1970 with an elected mayor and council. In 1979, with the completion of the Dempster Highway, Inuvik became a part of Canada's highway system and, simultaneously, the most northerly town to which one could drive in the summer months (an ice road through the Mackenzie River delta connects the town to Tuktoyaktuk, on the coast of the Arctic Ocean, in the winter).

Between 1971 and 1990, the town's economy was supported by the local Canadian Forces Station (a naval station that maintained part of the DEW Line) and by petrochemical companies exploring the Mackenzie Valley and the Beaufort Sea for petroleum. This all collapsed in 1990 for a variety of reasons including disappearing government subsidies, local resistance to petroleum exploration and low international oil prices.


East Channel of the Mackenzie Delta, approximately 100km from the Arctic Ocean and approximately 200km north of the Arctic Circle.
68 degrees 19 minutes north latitude, 133 degrees 29 minutes west longitude. (Sources conflict very slightly on coordinates.)
Unusual Features 
Due to its location, this town experiences an average of 56 days of continuous sunlight every summer and 30 days of continuous night every winter.

Access is via the Dempster Highway for the majority of the year. The highway is closed during the time of freeze-up, for ice to form and allow a winter road, and thaw to allow the ferry to run. At these times, there is air access only. When the Mackenzie River flows there is a commercial barge service from Hay River, on the Great Slave Lake to the communities and the whole of the western arctic, including the north coast of Alaska.


3,451 IN 2004
non-native, 60%; Inuit (Inuvialuit), 25%; Dene/Métis, 15%


Famous Attractions

Inuvik's Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church, often called Igloo Church, is a famous landmark in the region. It is the most-photographed building in the town (and, arguably, one of the most photographed north of the Arctic Circle).


A new hospital opened early 2003, providing service to an area extending from Sachs Harbour on Banks Island to Holman on Victoria Island and from Paulatuk into the Sahtu region including Norman Wells, Tulit'a, Deline, Fort Good Hope and Colville Lake.

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