Welcome to the youngest territory in Canada! It’s one of the largest unspoiled natural paradises on the planet; it’s big, ancient, beautiful, and new! Iqaluit – meaning “many fish”, is the Au Pair adventure of a lifetime! This exciting, dynamic city is the political, business, journalism and transportation hub of Nunavut. Because so many Iqaluit residents originate from somewhere else, the community is known for its laid-back, culturally varied and tolerant, welcoming personality. The friendly people of Iqaluit — the ‘Iqalumiut’ — love to go out on the land, sea and ice at all times of the year to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.
Stop by the Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre
If you are new to Iqaluit, this is a great place to visit to get your bearings. You will learn about Iqaluit’s history, its culture, and everything it has to offer. With great displays, lots of crafts, a friendly and helpful staff, and all the information you’ll need regarding activities in the area, this will be your first step to discovering this beautiful territory!
Get up close and personal with the Aurora Borealis
View the Northern Lights – it doesn’t get better than this! These “dancing lights” appear in a wide array of colours and shapes as they move across the sky. There are many different myths surrounding the Aurora Borealis, including the Inuit peoples belief that the lights were the souls of the animals they hunted; but in fact they are caused by collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere. Don’t forget to capture the moment with your camera – these beauties will secure you bragging rights among all your Au Pair friends!
Immerse yourself in the unique culture and traditions of the Inuit in Iqaluit
For centuries, Inuit in the area lived in small nomadic groups around the bay, which provided them with caribou, fish, seal, walrus and whales as staple sources of food and clothing. However, their lifestyle was dependent on the movements of the area’s wildlife, which in turn were determined by shifts in local climate. As a result of these shifts, Inuit often travelled extensively in search of supplies. Take part in one of Iqaluit’s annual festivals celebrating the traditions of the Inuit people. Learn about their culture, take part in traditional games and music, as well as joining in the fun of modern winter sports – snowmobile racing, cross-country skiing, etc.
Tackle the gorgeous expanse of land by exploring the multiple Parks and Beaches
Iqaluit’s charm lies in its natural beauty! Get out and explore some of these exquisite parks filled with historical sites. Whether you are hiking with your host family, participating in a group tour with other Au Pairs, or on the lookout for wildlife (we’d recommend bird watching! Nunavut contains several bird sanctuaries that are excellent to visit) you will have an unforgettable experience. Be sure to check out Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park, Qaummaarviit Territorial Park, and Apex Beach!
A modest urban outpost smack in the middle of one of the world’s most rugged wildernesses, Iqaluit is unmatched in its combination of the past and present. If you love the outdoors and have and adventurer’s heart, you will fall in love with this city!