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Grise Fiord, Nunavut

Grise Fiord, (Aujuittuq Place That Never Thaws) is a small Inuit hamlet, Qikiqtaaluk Region in the territory of Nunavut, Canada.


Grise Fiord is the northernmost civilian settlement in North America, but was eclipsed by Alert as the North America's northernmost community when Environment Canada and the Canadian Forces began to station permanent personnel there.

Located at the southern tip of Ellesmere Island, Grise Fiord is one of three permanent settlements on the island. Grise Fiord lies 1160 km (720 miles) north of the Arctic Circle.

Grise Fiord lies in the Arctic Cordillera mountain range which is the only major mountain system east of the Canadian Rockies.

Living conditions


Grise Fiord is connected to the rest of the world by Grise Fiord Airport.


The climate in Grise Fiord is severely cold. Grise Fiord has an arctic climate, which means that there is less than 250 mm precipitation, and temperature stays well below zero Celsius for more than eight months of the year.

The lowest recorded temperature in Grise Fiord was -62.2 °C (-79.6 oF). The highest was 22.3 °C (72.1 oF).

Crime and safety

A Simon Fraser University study of Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) activity in the Baffin Region states that Grise Fiord had the lowest rate of criminal offences of all communities looked at in 1992, and cites a 1994 Statistics Canada survey that gives the highest perception of personal safety.



The settlement (and Resolute) was created by the Canadian government in 1953 to assert sovereignty in the High Arctic during the Cold War. Eight Inuit families from Inukjuak, Quebec (on the Ungava Peninsula) were relocated after being promised homes and game to hunt, but the relocated people discovered no buildings and very little familiar wildlife. They were told that they would be returned home after a year if they wished, but this offer was later withdrawn as it would damage Canada's claims to sovereignty in the area and the Inuit were forced to stay. Eventually, the Inuit learned the local beluga whale migration routes and were able to survive in the area, hunting over a range of 18,000 km² (6,950 mi²) each year..

In 1993, the Canadian government held hearings to investigate the relocation program. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples called the relocation "one of the worst human rights violations in the history of Canada". The government paid $10 million CAD to the survivors and their families, but as of 2007 has yet to apologize.

Telephone network

In 1970, Bell Canada established what was then the world's most northerly telephone exchange (operated since 1992 by Northwestel).


Grise Fiord was named by Otto Sverdrup from Norway. The name means "pig inlet" in Norwegian. Grise Fiord's Inuit name is "Aujuittuq" which means "place that never thaws."

See also

Other settlements on Ellesmere Island


External links

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