To the west of Iqaluit near Peterhead Inlet lies a one-quarter square kilometre island that holds a link to the ancient culture of the Thule people. The island is called “the place that shines” and is now Qaummaarviit Territorial Historic Park. The park is rich in archeological artifacts dating back to the Thule culture; which demonstrate the inventiveness and adaptability of this remarkable people. The rocky landscape of the island is broken up by patches of lush vegetation and the 11 semi-buried sod houses that give the visitor an idea of the living conditions on the island at the time of the Thule people.
The Qaummaarviit Park guidebook, available at the Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre, offers descriptions of the sites along the path and provides a brief history of the park. Interpretive signs along the path provide additional information. The park makes for a great day trip when visiting Iqaluit.
As part of the Government of Canada’s celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program was created. Through investments in community infrastructure, the Government of Canada will invest in projects that seek to renovate, expand and improve existing community infrastructure, with a focus on recreational facilities, projects that advance a clean growth economy, and projects with a positive impact on Indigenous communities. We are pleased to announce that Nunavut Parks was awarded funding as part of this Program.
The funding was used to update and improve interpretive signage at Sylvia Grinnell and Qaummaarviit Territorial Parks, near Iqaluit. The interpretive sign program is very important to Nunavut Parks – our signs are used to inform and guide visitors through our parks. We tell the history and Inuit culture of the area through pictures, maps, and stories from our Elders.
Be sure to visit Qaummaarviit Territorial Park to see our informative new signs!
No roads lead to Nunavut; our Territory is accessible only by air and sea.
First Air and Canadian North both fly regular daily schedules to Iqaluit from four main southern airline ‘hubs’: Ottawa, Montreal, and Edmonton (via Yellowknife and Rankin Inlet). Flights from Winnipeg (via Churchill and Rankin Inlet) are also available.
Qaummaarviit is accessible by ski, dogsled or snowmobile in the winter months, and by boat during the open-water season. However, since the park is approximately 12 kilometres from Iqaluit, it is recommended that visitors take advantage of local outfitting services, many of which provide on-site interpretation and a snack. Arrangements can be made through the Unikkaarvik Visitors Centre.
Travel by snowmobile and qamutik is also available through outfitters; and is much quicker thereby significantly decreasing the length of your trip. Skiing to the park takes a good day, depending on experience and ability. Remember that Frobisher Bay is subject to tides of up to 15 metres, which can affect travel in any season. Earlier in the season this simply means there is a greater expanse of rough ice to climb to get to the island. Later in the season, tides affect both the amount of surface water on the ice and the amount and location of open water near the shore.
Breakup in the north end of Frobisher Bay usually takes place around mid-July; but ice is still floating in the bay in the early open-water season. Strong onshore winds can trap even the most experienced boaters. Most local outfitters use 22- or 24-foot freighter canoes or Lake Winnipeg boats designed to transport heavy loads over long distances and are powered by outboard motors. Boat travel to Qaummaarviit takes from 30 to 45 minutes, depending on tidal conditions and wind. Camping is not permitted.
There are several options in Iqaluit including hotels and bed and breakfasts.
Discovery Lodge Hotel
Email Discovery Lodge
Email Navigator Inn
Rannva’s Bed and Breakfast
Crazy Caribou Bed and Breakfast
Beaches Bed and Breakfast
Accommodations by the Sea Bed and Breakfast
Alt Tel: 867-979-6074
Outfitted trips from Iqaluit offer boat or dogled trips to Qaummaarviit Territorial Park from Iqaluit.
Allen Island Outfitting
Email Allen Island
The Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum features Inuit artifacts and art, interpretive displays and hosts travelling exhibits and other local and territorial events. The Museum also houses a retail outlet for Inuit art and related items.
Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum
Email Nunatta Sunakkutaangit
The Unikaarvik Visitor Centre in Iqaluit is a great place to start your trip to Qaummaarviit. The Centre provides interpretation for the Territory, local attractions including Katannilik, Sylvia Grinnell and Qaummaarviit Territorial Parks.
Unikaarvik Visitor Centre
Qaummaarviit Territorial Park Editorial – [.pdf – 898KB] This four page editorial offers information on Qaummaarviit Territorial Park.
Visitor information is available from the Visitor Information section of the website, and at relevant visitor and information centres throughout Nunavut. Contact Nunavut Parks for any additional information you may be looking for.