Hall Beach

Hall Beach, Nunavut

Called Sanirajaq, meaning ‘the shoreline’, the Inuit of Hall Beach have enjoyed and benefitted from the abundance of marine life, including walruses and beluga whales for thousands of years. 

The hamlet itself dates to the Cold War era and the primary interaction local people have had with the outside world is through the arrival of the military. Here you can find the physical remains of the Cold War and the role that Inuit played during those times.

Essential experiences in Hall Beach:

  • Exploring the history of the Cold War through military installations in the community
  • Viewing polar bears and walrus, fishing for arctic char, and learn about the ways that Inuit have adapted to the physical challenges of being in close proximity to the sea 
  • Spotting migratory birds (jaegers and gyrfalcons, geese, and ducks) and arctic birds (snowy owl and ptarmigan)

Here, in the shadow of Cold War radar installations, local Inuit continue the centuries long tradition of fermenting walrus meat on the shoreline. This juxtaposition makes for an interesting experience for visitors. In the fall months, this fermenting walrus meat attracts polar bears, while they wait for the of sea ice to form before beginning their winter-long march in search of seal. 

The Inuit of Hall Beach will welcome you into their lives, which in many ways remain unchanged from centuries old traditions. You can travel with these expert hunters on their hunts, or travel by snowmobile or boat to nearby Igloolik, taking in the many marine mammals that are nearby. On April 1 every year, Hall Beach marks the return of continuous daylight from April to August with Hamlet Day, a festival featuring a community feast, traditional games and dancing. .

Hall Beach is home to a multitude of migratory birds, and is an area that is exhilarating for birders and photographers alike. The haunting calls of loons and the cry of jaegers and gyrfalcons echo across the tundra. Geese numbering in the tens of thousands make the annual trek back to Hall Beach, along with ducks and snowy owls. 

Military history buffs will be fascinated by the signs of sixty years of Cold War radar and intelligence gathering equipment. Hall Beach was a lonely but important sentinel facing the Soviet threat over the North Pole, and you will feel that you have stepped back into these tense and exciting times.

Additional Information

Communities in Nunavut have the right to determine their Liquor System. In this community, any quantity of liquor that is imported, consumed, possessed and transported must be approved by the Alcohol Education Committee. Once your application has been approved, you have to buy a liquor import permit from The Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission.

Whether you live in or travel to an unrestricted or restricted community, you need a liquor permit to bring more than three litres of spirits, nine litres of wine, or 26 litres of beer with you when you travel into Nunavut. Liquor permits are always required when you place a liquor order outside the territory.

You can read more about these restrictions, or how to apply for a permit here: https://www.nulc.ca/liquor/