Maggie's Roaming Guide: 

IQALUIT

If you haven't experienced the North just yet, brace yourself for the unexpected...

From winter-proof houses on stilts, to washed up icebergs and discarded seal-skin along the beach - Nunavut is a place unlike any other.  

   I'll come right out and say it: Iqaluit is far more multicultural than I imagined, and the last place I expected to meet hipsters and a large group of migrants from regions with polar-opposite climates like the Caribbean islands, southeast Asia and Africa!

 

Iqaluit, Nunavut (population: 7082 according to the 2016 SC Census), is home, first and foremost, to the Inuit community - a proud and respected people who have lived, adapted, and survived in the Arctic region for centuries! Proudly indigenous to the area, I observe this wonderful community with great admiration, intrigue, and awe...  

Then, there are the often-bearded Maritimers - a large portion of Iqaluit's population who migrated here from Canada's east coast (more specifically, from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador), as well as some hip folks from the west coast, the prairies, and the many Canadian towns and cities in between. Iqaluit is also home to a diverse group of people from far away places abroad; many who've told me they initially came up here looking for work and who, like many of their Nunavummiut neighbours, decided to stay.    

 

Though incredibly different from the more southern parts of the country, this is after all - Canada. From diners, community halls to a variety churches (including one of the world's northernmost a mosques!), Nunavut does not discriminate and appears to welcome all!

 
NUNAVUMMIUT: PEOPLE OF NUNAVUT
WHAT & WHERE TO EAT

   The dining experience in restaurants here is...shall we say...unique..(a little more on this below). While I've heard several people (locals and visitors alike) complain about their "hit-and-miss" culinary experiences in Iqaluit's (few, very few) restaurants, I have yet to be utterly disappointed (perhaps due to my easy going palette, and my preference for any dish that includes Arctic Char - amaaaaaaazing!). Iqaluit does in fact mean 

Inuit"country food" - as it is called, is a major part of the Nunavut diet.

 

 

It consists of various game meats that include seal, narwhal fat, and cariboo. That said, while these meats appear occasionally on the menus of some (of the very few) local restaurants, it is best to enjoy it with members of the local community. Hunting and fishing are a big part of the local lifestyle in Nunavut.      

WHAT & WHERE TO EAT (continued)

   The dining experience in restaurants here is...shall we say...unique..ahem. While I've heard several people (locals and visitors alike) complain about their "hit-and-miss" culinary experiences in Iqaluit's (few, very few) restaurants, except for the hefty prices (yes, I'm always on a tight budget), I have yet to be utterly disappointed (perhaps due to my easy going palette). 

 

There are fewer than half a dozen sit-down food places to chose from in Iqaluit... there's the "Nav" (a run down restaurant with caving walls and a collapsing floor in one of the city's oldest Inns) that serves fried, and re-fried Chinese food. It's a popular go-to place for lunch, I ate there - once. Then there's the "Disco"- a fine dining restaurant in the Discovery Lodge Hotel which serves a variety of dishes (including my favourite - grazed arctic char..on a good day), and the "Frob" - a charming restaurant at the Frobisher Hotel - a great place to hang and our usual venue for birthday and other celebrations (mainly because of its close proximity the restaurant's neighbouring bar venue - well-known for its trivia nights, and Wings Night on Wednesdays). Although I've become acquainted with the city's Legion (or the "sleeeeeg"as it often called) through my occasional need for beer, cocktails, laughter and dance-offs, the community hall also serve food (mainly sandwiches and"bar food"). Broken up into sections varying in degrees of volume and dance-off accommodation, though not for everyone (wink wink to a certain friend of mine here;), it's not a bad place to unload a little and have a bit of fun.  The "Nova" (at the Arctic Hotel) was an option, but will soon exist no more due to a change of ownership which will get rid of the hotel and restaurant all together.        XXXXXXX

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