Clyde River Kangiqtugaapik ᑲᖏᖅᑐᒑᐱᒃ

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    Image courtesy of Ansgar Walk

Latitude: 70º 27’ 45”
Longitude: -68º 37’ 44”

Area: 160.48 km²
Elevation: 27 m

Sun/Moon Rise & Set
  March 2
  June 5

Population: 820

Generational Status (over 15 years of age)
  505  3rd Generation
      0  2nd Generation
      0  1st Generation

Inuit-Identified Population: 790

     30  English
       0  French
       0  English/French
   790  Other

Total Private Dwellings: 183

Population Density: 7.7 per km²


More statistics about Clyde River & its residents


Learn to pronounce Kangiqtugaapik


Clyde River, which is 'Kangiqtugaapik' or "nice little inlet" to the inuit, can be found on the eastern shore of Baffin Island in the shelter of Patricia Bay.

It is located on a flood plain, surrounded by spectacular fiords that stretch all the way into the Barnes Icecap. The mountains, icebergs and glaciers in the Clyde River area attract rock and ice climbers from around the world.

Most Clyde River families are involved in traditional hunting and camping activities. Skin clothing is still made and worn, and many families depend on the animals harvested throughout the year for food. Family camping remains a major activity, especially in spring and summer. There is a mass exodus from the communities in early June, as soon as school finished, and families travel by snowmobile and qamutiit over the cracks of the sea ice to traditional family camping sites that dot the shores of fjords. Many of these locations are ancient, and a visitor with a keen eye for history can find three or more styles of dwellings and landmarks, some dating back 2,000 years or more.

With the decline of the sealskin and fur markets, government jobs are handicrafts have become the most important sources of income, but subsistence hunting remains a central aspect of life for Clyde River. The tourism industry is seen by many as a way of showing others the importance and strength of traditional Inuit culture, and has become a key economic focus for the community

Vikings may have arrived here 1,000 years ago. Norwegian explorer and author Helge Ingstad considers Cape Aston to be the Helluland, or Flat Stone Land of Norse sagas. Six centuries later, in 1616, British explorers Robert Bylot and William Baffin mapped the area.

Inuit families have been migrating through this area for generations, traveling from as far away as Repulse Bay and the Iqaluit area to seek spouses and keep in though with relatives. Groups of Inuit scoured the fiords' headlands in winter and spring, searching for marina mammals. In summer they walked miles inland, following caribou and living in lightweight skin tents that the dogs carried on their backs.

In 1818, Clyde River was given its English moniker by British explorer James Ross during his visit here. Beginning in 1820, whalers -particularly Scots- regularly crossed from Greenland to Baffin Island via Melville Bay and searched south along the Baffin coast for bowhead whales. There were few Inuit on this part of the coast, and many left to trade with whalers at more popular shore points to the north and south.

As whaling declined early this century, trading increased. In 1924, a Hudson's Bay Co. trading post was established at Clyde River. Inuit began to make tri-annual visits -at Christmas, in the late spring and when the ice first formed- to trade furs for supplies and exchange news. During the Second World War, a US Coast Guard weather station was erected at Cape Christian near Clyde River. A small federal school was built in 1960. Between 1967 and 1970, the community was moved to a new site across Patricia Bay to take advantage of a better water supply and a good airstrip location.

Its Land and Wildlife
At times, high winds prevent water travel during summer and fall. In the winter and early spring, there may be whiteout conditions with blowing snow. Blizzards usually last between 24 and 48 hours. From the end of May and through June, water on top of the ice can be a problem. Travelers should bring a good, warm pair of boots. Dur to the mountainous terrain, weather conditions may vary dramatically within five kilometers of land or water.

Clyde River's "dark season" begins about Nov. 23 when the sun sets, and ends when it rises again about Jan. 18. During this period, peak light occurs at 11:15am with carrying degrees of twilight between 9am and 2pm. By April, Clyde River is flooded with sunshine, and from May 21 until July 21, there is continuous, 24-hour-a-day sunlight.

Seals (ringed, harp, bearded and hooded) live here and the polar bears that prey on them can be seen year-round. Narwhals can be spotted right in Patricia Bay, but are more often seen in Clyde Inlet. Bowhead whales have been seen in Patricia Bay as well, but you'll have a much better chance of spying then around Cape Christian or along the coast on a trip to their breeding grounds in Isabella Bay.

Caribou may be glimpsed in nearby fiords. Hares, arctic foxes and lemmings are also common. Nearby are nesting grounds for arctic terns, Greater Snow geese, waterfowl and shore birds. Ravens and ptarmigans are the only birds that stay through the winter. Arctic char populate lakes and rivers as well as the fiords and bays. Arctic cod and sculpin are fished by children throughout the summer months and there is a small turbot fishers. Greenland shards and killer whales inhabit area waters.

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