Canada’s Arctic

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Canada’s Arctic

Posted on September 26 by Robin Esrock
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When we refer to the Canadian Arctic, we’re talking about a space so vast, so wild, and so undeveloped, you may as well be trekking into the cosmos.   Case in point:  Nunavut alone is bigger than the three largest continental US states – California, Texas and Montana – combined! 

Population of those states:   74 million.   Population of Nunavut: 32,000.    Canada’s North could stock the entire population of the planet, although not everyone will relish endless freezing nights in winter, endless buggy days in summer, and a diet rich on seal fat.   Especially those living in the shade of coconut trees.  

Still, my journeys to explore Canada’s North are easily among the highlights of my Great Canadian Bucket List.   Once you acclimatize to the expanse, get over the fact that yes, some people actually thrive in these conditions, and encounter some of the most striking landscapes your sunglasses will ever reflect, your appreciation will forever be tattooed in your memory.   

My book research took me as north as Somerset Island.   When you look at a map of Canada, trace your finger north from Winnipeg,  until your reach the anvil-shaped mass that is Nunavut, with its Baffin Island hammer pounding into Canada’s Arctic Sea.  Further north still, 800km past the Arctic Circle, you’ll arrive at an uninhabited 9500 square kilometre island.  Uninhabited, save for a six-week window when Arctic Watch, the world’s most northerly eco-lodge, opens its tent flaps for business.   Tourists, scientists, filmmakers and explorers come from all over the world to spend time on the sprawling tundra, the camp located within walking distance to the mouth of the Cunningham River. Each summer, after the sea-ice melts, thousands of beluga whales gather to moult and play at your feet.    Visitors hike under the midnight sun, kayak down Perrier-bottle green streams, track muskox and Arctic fox, and bathe in the spray of turquoise waterfalls.    This far north, there’s nigh a biting insect in sight, although you do want to keep your eyes open for polar bears in the distance.   If a nation can have its own Bucket List, Arctic Watch must belong on it (hence its inclusion in my book).  If the world can have its own Bucket List, Canada’s Great White North belongs on it too.    Substitute spaceships and warp speed for Dash-8 prop planes, ATV’s or a sturdy pair of hiking boots, and let us relish the fact that true space can be found right here on Planet Earth. 

 

Robin Esrock is the bestselling author of The Great Canadian Bucket List. More info at www.canadianbucketlist.com

Robin Esrock

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014
Robin Esrock photo

Robin Esrock

Robin Esrock is a bestselling author, journalist, TV host, and public speaker. His stories and photography have appeared in major publications on five continents, including National Geographic Traveler, the Guardian, Chicago Tribune, and the Globe and Mail. The creator and co-host of the internationally syndicated television series Word Travels, Robin lives in Vancouver, B.C.