The heel

Kimmirut, Nunavut

If you are looking for the heart of Nunavut, look no further than Kimmirut, which means “the heel’ in Inuktitut, a reference to the shape of a hill near the community.

Sitting at the mouth of the Soper Heritage River where it drains into the Atlantic Ocean, this small, tight knit community of 425, is surrounded by stunning scenery and abundant wildlife. The people continue to have a deep connection with Inuit culture. You will experience what life was traditionally like in most Nunavut communities in modern day Kimmirut.

Essential experiences include:

  • Visiting nearby Katannilik Park  ideal for hikers, paddlers, and dogsledders
  • Exploring the unique local arts scene at Soper House, with its array of intricate carvings, tapestries, and jewellery 
  • Viewing the wonderful array of nearby marine mammals, including polar bears, whales, seals, and walruses 

The people of Kimmirut have had contact with Europeans longer than most Inuit in the Qikiqtani region. After thousands of years of living in the Kimmirut area, Inuit contact with Europeans began in the late 1600s. The rise of the Hudson’s Bay Company brought traders into the area transiting throughout Nunavut. 

The first permanent buildings in Kimmirut were erected in 1900, when the Anglican mission opened. The Hudson’s Bay Company built the region’s first trading post in 1911 and the RCMP followed with a station in 1927. The construction of the school in the late 1950’s and a nursing station brought many Inuit off the land to settle in the community.

Today, you will find a community still thriving on the traditional economy. Skilled artists, while not as well known as their cousins in Cape Dorset, craft magnificent carvings, wall hangings, and jewellery - much of whom use gemstones unique to this area. Soper House, run by the Quliruakut Arts and Craft Society, displays and represents the work of local artists and craftspeople. Hunting provides much of the local diet and is the cornerstone of this traditional economy. Polar bears, beluga, caribou, seals, and birds are all visible within the area.

For many modern day explorers, a visit to Kimmirut is not complete without a  trek through the nearby Katannilik Park. Visitors are wowed by the journey down the Soper Heritage River, known in Inuktitut as Kuujjuaq or ‘the great river’. The Soper River that bisects the park is on the bucket list of many paddlers from around the world. 

A visit to the Katannilik Territorial Park Visitor’s Centre will provide you with a complete overview of what is seasonally available, and help you connect with a qualified guide. 

The proximity of Kimmirut to the nearby City of Iqaluit makes Kimmirut ideal for people seeking an experience of traditional Nunavut life.

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Taloyoak (Inuktitut for ‘Large Caribou Hunting Blind’) is a unique community, defined by the strength of the people and the ruggedness of the land. Formerly called Spence Bay, Taloyoak provides you with glimpses into Inuit culture and wildlife.
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Hall Beach

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Millions of people from around the world were captivated by the stark beauty of the Igloolik area through the award-winning films of Igloolik-based Isuma Productions. These films tell many stories of Inuit life and the connections with Europeans, but what they subtly showcase is the tremendous cultural knowledge of the people that reside in Igloolik- hunters, storytellers, keepers of traditional knowledge. When you visit Igloolik you feel as you are entering the spirit of Inuit culture.

Canada’s newest capital will provide you with a fascinating glimpse of the Nunavut territory and its ever-changing culture. The bustling capital is a modern Inuit community, home to Inuit people from around the Territory as well as proud newcomers from around the world.

If you are looking for the heart of Nunavut, look no further than Kimmirut, which means “the heel’ in Inuktitut, a reference to the shape of a hill near the community.

The Inuit of Kugaaruk (Inuktitut for ‘little stream’) were amongst the last indigenous peoples in North America to have contact with Europeans in the latter part of the 19th century. Inuit have lived in the area for thousands of years as this was an important place for both caribou and sea mammal hunting.


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What's on your travel bucket list? Experience the rare and unique arctic wildlife. Take a ride on a dog sled across ancient Inuit hunting trails. Witness centuries-old traditions in modern time. All of this is possible in Nunavut.