Second largest island of the Arctic Archipelago, Canada. About 320 mi (515 km) long and 170–370 mi (270–600 km) wide, it has an area of 83,896 sq mi (217,291 sq km). Discovered in 1838 by Thomas Simpson, it was named for Queen Victoria and was first explored by John Rae in 1851. It is divided administratively between the Northwest Territories and the territory of Nunavut.
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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.
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.
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.