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A Guide to Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories

Tuktoyaktuk, NWT     Tuktoyaktuk (commonly called "Tuk") is located on Kugmallit Bay near the Mackenzie River Delta at 69°27'N and 133°02'W, 137 km north of Inuvik and 1,130 km northwest of Yellowknife. It is the most northerly community on mainland Canada, with a 2009 population of 929, of which 95% are Inuvialuit (Inuit). There are 279 homes, of which 178 are rented public housing units. Electricity is provided by a diesel generator, and Internet service is provided with a T1 land line. Most bulk supplies and non-perishable food is barged in during the short period when the Beaufort Sea is not frozen (the photo to the right was taken on June 21, the longest day of the year - click to enlarge it).

    History: The traditional name of the community is Tuktuujaartuq, which means "looks like a caribou". Between 1890 and 1910, American whalers brought influenza and decimated the local population. Many Alaskan Inuit moved to the area and settled. A large movement of people from Herschel Island to Tuktoyaktuk in 1928 coincided with the construction of the Hudson’s Bay Company post. The Roman Catholic Mission was constructed in 1937. The Anglican Mission, a school and an RCMP detachment had arrived by 1950. During the 1970s rising oil prices, and the advent of the National Energy Program, encouraged significant investment in the Beaufort and Mackenzie Delta. During some years, annual investment in the region exceeded $1 billion. While significant deposits were found, the elimination of the National Energy Program and falling prices witnessed the end of extensive exploration in the region by the mid-1980s. (History courtesy of the Government of NWT)

    Tourism: Tuk is accessible only by air during the summer, and the airport has a gravel runway suitable for jets such as Boeing 737s with special equipment to deal with gravel being thrown up. From Inuvik, scheduled flights are available with Aklak Air. The community gets few visitors so the tourism infrastructure is sparse. It has 2 hotels, both with restaurants, and 2 bed-and-breakfasts - none have Web sites:

  • the Tuk Inn has 18 rooms - phone 867-977-2381
  • the Pingo Park Lodge has 24 rooms - phone 867-977-2155
  • Tuktu B&B accommodates up to 5 people - phone 867-977-2280
  • Smitty's Bed and Breakfast (opened in 2011) has 4 rooms - 867-977-2777
Tours are offered by Ookpik Tours and Adventures, through Arctic Nature Tours in Inuvik.

Tuktoyaktuk has a well-equipped gocery store. The modern health center is staffed by 4 nurses, and medevac service to Inuvik hospital or beyond is available. In the winter, from approximately mid-December to the end of April, a 150-kilometer-long ice road provides access to the community, and each winter a few particularly hardy visitors arrive.

Things change often in Tuk and nobody (even NWT Tourism) seems to be able to keep up with current information. The Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk will be your best source of information: 867-977-2286

A description from Wikipedia.

University of Tuktoyaktuk
The "Tuk-U" shop has lots of souvenirs of this mythical institute of higher learning - the entire Web site is hilarious!

An aerial photo of the one of the largest pingoes near Tuk.

Pingo Growth and Collapse, Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula Area
A 53-page report by J. Ross Mackay.

Dempster Highway
A complete guide to the road, including an illustrated mile-by-mile road log.

A guide to the "gateway" community for Tuktoyaktuk.

Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk
Davis Simmons has 34 photos in his album.

Tuktoyaktuk Flag
A graphic and description from FOTW.

Invasion of the Beer People
In 1995, Molson Brewery flew 500 contest winners to Tuk for a "Polar Beach Party", the largest rock concert the North had ever seen.