Sunday, June 10, 2012

Canada's northernmost settlement

 Picture of Grise Fjord Airport from wikipedia

At 76 degrees North latitude, Grise Fjord is Canada's northernmost settlement.

The community was established in 1953 to strengthen Canadian claims to the High Arctic. A brief slide show of the people and landscape of what was once North America's northernmost permanent settlement can be seen here.

Because of the permafrost, wooden homes are built on platforms. Fresh water is stored in tanks on top of each house, and delivered by truck. Sewage is handled first by individual septic tanks and then pumped out to a lagoon.

According to the community website, the people of Grise Fjord hunt for marine mammals, which play an important role in their diet. Food flown in from the south comes at double the price tag people pay in southern Canada.

The only store, the co-op, sells everything from groceries to cable television, includes a post office and rents out snowmobiles. For visitors to the town, the Grise Fjord Lodge has eight guest rooms.

A single school, called Ummimmak, or Muskox School, teaches Grades 1 to 12. Students learn English and their native Inuktitut. Community elders pass on traditional skills such as carving, sled-building and sewing.

Flying to YGZ Grise Fjord Airport involves several hops. Those who leave from Edmonton, the western gateway to the Far North, go first to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, then Resolute, where they may need to stay overnight, and finally on to Grise Fjord.

Those heading north from Ottawa or Montreal travel to Resolute and then Grise Fjord by way of Iqualuit in Nunavut.

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