Victoria Island

Victoria Island

Victoria Island, c.81,930 sq mi (212,200 sq km), part of the Arctic Archipelago, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, N Canada; third largest island of Canada. On the southeast coast is Cambridge Bay, a U.S.-Canadian weather station and trading post. The island was visited by the British explorers Thomas Simpson and Peter W. Dease in the late 1830s; John Rae explored it in 1851.

Victoria Island is an island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and straddles the boundary between Nunavut and the Northwest Territories of Canada. It is the 8th largest island of the world, and at is Canada's second largest island and nearly double the size of Newfoundland (or slightly larger than the island of Great Britain (. The western third of the island belongs to the Inuvik Region in the Northwest Territories and the remainder is part of Nunavut's Kitikmeot Region.

Location and description

Viscount Melville Sound lies to the north, and the M'Clintock Channel and Victoria Strait lie eastward. On the west are Amundsen Gulf and Banks Island, which is separated from Victoria by a long sound called the Prince of Wales Strait. To the south (from west to east) lies the Dolphin and Union Strait, Austin Bay, Coronation Gulf and the Dease Strait.

The southern waterways, and sometimes the Prince of Wales Strait, form part of the disputed Northwest Passage which the Government of Canada claims are Canadian Internal Waters while other nations state are either territorial waters or international waters.

Victoria Island is an island of peninsulas, having a heavily indented coastline with many inlets. In the east, pointing northwards, is the Storkerson Peninsula, which ends with the Goldsmith Channel, the body of water separating Victoria from Stefansson Island. The Storkerson Peninsula is separated from the island's north-central areas by Hadley Bay, a major inlet. Another, broad peninsula is found in the north, Prince Albert Peninsula. This ends at the Prince of Wales Strait. In the south, and pointing westwards, is the Wollaston Peninsula, separated from the island's central areas by Prince Albert Sound. The island as a whole coincidentally resembles a stylized maple leaf, the main Canadian symbol.

Victoria Island reaches an elevation of in the Shaler Mountains in the north-central region. Located in the southeast, just north of Cambridge Bay, is Ferguson Lake with an area of is the largest lake on the island.

As of the Canada 2006 Census the population of the island is 1,875; 1,477 in Nunavut and 398 in the Northwest Territories. Of the two settlements on the island the largest is Cambridge Bay, which lies on the south-east coast and is in Nunavut. Ulukhaktok is on the west coast and is in the Northwest Territories. Trading posts, such as Fort Collinson on the northwest coast, have long since been abandoned.

The island is named after Queen Victoria, the Canadian sovereign from 1867 to 1901. The features bearing the name "Prince Albert" are, of course, named after her consort.

Although Victoria Island is located in Canada, it is more than 2,000 km from the city of Victoria, British Columbia, which is on Vancouver Island in the Pacific Ocean. The island should not be confused with the smaller Victoria Island, also in Nunavut, located in Amadjuak Lake on Baffin Island.



Further reading

  • Geological Survey of Canada, J. G. Fyles, D. A. Hodgson, and J. Bednarski. Quaternary Geology of Wynniatt Bay, Victoria Island, Northwest Territories. Open file (Geological Survey of Canada), 2718. 1988.
  • Geological Survey of Canada, R. H. Rainbird, A. N. LeCheminant, and I. Lawyer. Geology, Duke of York Inlier, Victoria Island, Northwest Territories. Open file (Geological Survey of Canada), 3304. 1997.
  • Geological Survey of Canada, D. A. Hodgson, and J. Bednarski. Preliminary Suficial Materials of Kagloryuak River (77F) and Burns Lake (77G), Victoria Island, Northwest Territories. Open file (Geological Survey of Canada), 2883. 1994.
  • Gyselman, E. C., and L. K. Gould. Data on Amphidromous and Freshwater Fish from Central Victoria Island and Freshwater Systems Draining into Melville Sound and Elu Inlet, N.W.T., Canada. Winnipeg: Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans, 1992.
  • Jakimchuk, R. D., and D. R. Carruthers. Caribou and Muskoxen on Victoria Island, N.W.T. Sidney, B.C.: R.D. Jakimchuk Management Associates Ltd, 1980.
  • McGhee, Robert. An Archaeological Survey of Western Victoria Island, N.W.T., Canada. Ottawa, Ont: National Museums of Canada, 1971.
  • Parmelee, David Freeland, H. A. Stephens, and Richard H. Schmidt. The Birds of Southeastern Victoria Island and Adjacent Small Islands. Ottawa: [Queen's Printer], 1967.
  • Peterson, E. B., R. D. Kabzems, and V. M. Levson. Terrain and Vegetation Along the Victoria Island Portion of a Polar Gas Combined Pipeline System. Sidney, B.C.: Western Ecological Services, 1981.
  • Rainbird, Robert H. Stratigraphy, Sedimentology and Tectonic Setting of the Upper Shaler Group, Victoria Island, Northwest Territories. Ottawa: National Library of Canada = Bibliothèque nationale du Canada, 1991. ISBN 0315663014
  • Washburn, A. L. Reconnaissance Geology of Portions of Victoria Island and Adjacent Regions, Arctic Canada. [New York]: Geological Society of America, 1947.

External links

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