Repulse Bay Tourist Attractions
AccessBy plane: From Winnipeg via Churchill or Eskimo Point and Rankin Inlet to Repulse Bay (Naujaat).LocationForming the most north-easterly point of mainland Nunavut (designated an independent territory in 1999), is the Melville Peninsula, over an isthmus just 70 km (43 mi.) wide separating Hudson Bay from the Gulf of Boothia.
Repulse Bay (Naufaat) lies on the south side of the isthmus exactly on the Arctic Circle (marked by an arc of stones at the airfield).HistoryThe "European" chapter of this part of Canada's history opened in 1741 when Captain Middleton sailed into the deep bay - known to the Inuit as "Naujaat" (5 gulls' nesting place) - in search of the Northwest Passage. In his disappointment Middleton christened the bay Repulse. In the mid- 19th c., Roses Welcome Sound, with Repulse Bay at its northern end, was a much frequented British and American whaling ground, many Inuit (called "Avilingmiut") being employed as "scouts" on the whale boats. Their local knowledge proved to be of inestimable value. When the American explorer Hall arrived here around 1864 an Inuit from Repulse Bay was able to draw him an astonishingly accurate map of Foxe Basin (between the Melville Peninsula and Baffin Island) which was of inestimable value. The same traditional experience, handed down from generation to generation, is still made use of today by Inuit tourist guides. Until 1954 Repulse Bay was simply a Hudson's Bay Company (H.B.C.) settlement (H.B.C. standing, so it is said, for "Here before Christ"!) and a Catholic mission.EconomyNow there are about 500 inhabitants, virtually all of them Inuit. While a subsistence economy based on hunting still survives, Arctic tourism has also brought new opportunities for employment. Thus the wealth of flora and fauna on land and sea continues to support the Inuit way of life, albeit in a rather novel manner.
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