Along the shores of the Queen Maud Gulf on the southeast coast of Victoria Island, nestled beside high hills, lies Cambridge Bay, the regional center for the Kitikmeot Region. The traditional name for Cambridge Bay, Iqaluktuuttiaq, means "one with plenty of fish", for the excellent fishing that can be found in lakes and rivers nearby.
Within walking distance of the community, you'll discover many archeological sites as you venture near the river to the northeast and further into the Mount Pelly and Ovayok Territorial Park area.
Cambridge Bay is a community of approximately 1400 people, the majority being Inuit. Although English is widely spoken throughout the community, Inuinnaqtun is the traditional language of the Inuit people of Cambridge Bay.
Over the centuries, Cambridge Bay was often used as a summer gathering place for the Copper Inuit (so called by the non-Inuit because they made many of their tools and weapons from copper). The Copper Inuit were attracted to the region because of its abundance of good hunting, notably seals, caribou and Arctic Char. Caribou and Char are local food staples to this day, and continue to provide work and income to the Inuit.
The Hudson's Bay Company arrived in 1921, late by Canadian standards. The company purchased the Maud, explorer Roald Amundsen's schooner, for use as a supplies and trading ship. This little piece of Arctic history was used for years before being left to sink into disrepair at the bottom of the harbour, where its hull can still be seen today.
The Distant Early Warning site, known as the DEW Line, started operations on February 15th, 1954. The DEW Line was designed and built during the Cold War as the primary air defense warning station, to be used in case of an over-the-pole invasion aimed at North America. Attack by enemy nuclear bombers and missiles from across the pole was considered a real threat to the security of the United States and Canada at that time. To provide early warning of such an attack, the DEW Line sites were established in a strategic pattern across the tundra of northern Greenland, Canada andAlaska. The DEW Line consisted of radar stations with overlapping radar coverage and the ability to detect aircraft and missiles within their areas of surveillance. The Distant Early Warning site in Cambridge Bay remains operative to this day, although its purpose has changed.
Arriving in Cambridge Bay
The DEW Line
Cambridge Bay is very fortunate to have two airlines, Canadian North and First Air, providing passenger air service to and from Yellowknife every day of the week. First Air offers jet service on Tuesdays and Thursdays; ATR planes are used on all other scheduled runs. First Air does not fly to Cambridge on Saturdays. Canadian North provides jet service into Cambridge Bay on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. First Air and Kenn Borek also provide scheduled flights to other destinations in the region. Various companies are available for private air charter requirements. Transportation means vary from trucks and SUVs to snowmobiles and ATVs. All points in town are within walking distance, if the weather chooses to cooperate. Taxi service is available during specified hours
One, two and three bedroom apartments are available. When you are assigned an apartment, be sure to ask if it is a furnished or unfurnished unit. A furnished unit includes complete bedroom, dining room, living room furniture, fridge, stove, and washer & dryer. Microwave ovens, televisions, stereos, and curtains are not included. Rent ranges from approximately $785- $1500 monthly and is deducted from your pay. Utilities such as water delivery, sewage pump out, power, telephone, and cable/satellite services are not included in your rent.
Both water and sewage services are provided by trucks on a regular basis and it is a good idea to use your water wisely. Upon arrival in Cambridge Bay, visit the hamlet office to have your service connected. The telephone number for the water and sewage delivery is 983-2186. Water and sewage services are available until 7:00 pm each evening.
First Air Flight
There are two schools in Cambridge Bay. Kullik Ilihakvik, the elementary school, offers Kindergarten through grade six. Kiilinik High School offers grades seven through twelve. The population of Kullik is approximately 250 students, 11 teachers, a language and cultural specialist, and guidance counselor. The average class size is 25 students per class (give or take a few). At Kullik Ilihavik, there is a computer lab of Macintosh, Internet-accessible computers, a gymnasium, library, and language/cultural area.
Kullik Ilihakvik is located in the Hamlet of Cambridge Bay in the central Arctic known as the Kitikmeot Region. We are a kindergarten to grade 6 school with approximately 240 students consisting of ten classrooms, fully equipped library, computer lab, large gym with stage, language cultural area and kitchen. Our school promotes cultural activities whenever possible and is moving towards bilingual education with support from our language instructor and bilingual teachers. We have a community school counselor, Program Support Teacher and Student Support assistants. Our school bus runs from October to April. Our school year is filled with special interest days such as Theme Days, On the Land Days and Sport Days. We are an active dynamic school in Western Nunavut.
Kiilinik High School is a fairly new school, having been completed in 2002. The student population at Kiilinik High School is approximately 250 students, with 13 teachers and a language and cultural specialist. The average class size at the
middle level is around 22 students with high school classes averaging about 15 students. Kiilinik High School has new facilities, including a home economics and industrial arts area, science labs, full-size gymnasium, art room, and mobile, wireless computers. Although the two schools are well resourced, you are
welcome to bring your own favourite resources. For most students, English is the first language spoken; however, to some
students, English is a second language.
To contact the schools:
Kullik Ilihakvik (K-6):
phone (867) 983-2510
fax (867) 983-2515
Kiilinik High School (7-12):
phone (867) 983-2726
fax (867) 983-2455
Junior High area of Kiilinik
Main Hall - Kiilinik
Kiilinik From Second Floor
Northern Store: Cambridge Bay has a Northern store. You can purchase groceries, clothing, music/movies, electronics, hardware, hunting, camping and fishing supplies. You can also place an order from the Selections catalogue for various types of merchandise ranging from clothing to snowmobiles to furniture.
Attached to the Northern is the Quick Stop, which is a fast food outlet serving KFC, Pizza Hut, and submarine sandwiches, as well as movie/DVD rentals.
The Co-op Store: as with the Northern, you can purchase groceries, some clothing, music/movies, electronics, hardware, hunting, camping and fishing supplies, furniture, snowmobiles, ATVs, etc. Orders can also be placed for large ticket items. If you need to fill up your vehicle, gasoline and diesel pumps operate outside the building.
Food and other items at both stores can be very expensive. Here are some examples of food costs:
Bread - $2.69 to $5.19
Produce- prices vary according to season, but substantially higher than the cost in southern Canada
2L of Milk - $7.49
Meat - prices vary, but are substantially higher than the cost in southern Canada.
Eggs - $4.49
2L Pop - $6.49
**Most produce is available all year round, though the quality is not always guaranteed.
Kitikmeot Foods: our meat processing plant, where you can purchase traditional food such as fish, caribou and muskox in various forms (jerky, steaks, roasts). Prices are high, but it is well worth tasting some traditional country foods.
Kitikmeot Supplies: this hardware store sells building supplies, automotive, electrical appliances, naphtha, and office/business supplies. You can also place orders for various types of merchandise, such as furniture, snowmobiles, ATV’s, and automobiles.
As a result of high food prices in the north, many people place food orders with various companies in Yellowknife and Edmonton. Orders can usually be placed 2-3 times a week, and will come up via airfreight. It is your responsibility to pick
up your orders from the various cargo depots or have it delivered at $10/box.
People also place orders to come up once a year - August/September - on the barge, via NTCL (Northern Transportation Company Ltd.) These may include case lots of food or cleaning supplies, furniture, appliances, and vehicles. Again orders are placed with various southern companies, and delivered on the barge at the end of the summer. You have to contact the individual companies for their barge order deadlines usually sometime in June, or the first of July.
Here is a list of some of the companies you can order from:
Northern Store (Hay River, NT)
Phone (867) 874-6545
Fax (867) 874-2544
Independent Cash & Carry (Enterprise, NT)
Phone (867) 984-3002
Fax (867) 984-3005
The Grocery People (Edmonton, AB)
Phone (780) 451-0882
*For boat and sailing details and schedules, call NTCL at (867) 983-2472. It is very important to place your order before the cut-off times.
There is a Royal Bank in Cambridge Bay. For those who do not bank with RBC, normal banking activities can be done over the phone, Internet, or through mail. The bank has a full-service ATM machine that can be accessed until 10:00 pm each evening. Cheques can be cashed at the Co-Op and Northern Stores in
addition to the bank. Visa and MasterCard are accepted. There is a cash machine inside the Northern Store that can be used for withdrawals only.
For phone service, call Northwestel at 1-800-661-0493. A residential line costs $35 per month. A long distance calling plan is available for $25 per month.
CBC radio broadcasts on an FM station, which is interrupted at intervals during the day with local programming. There is a local radio station, CFBI, which broadcasts various types of music along with community announcements.
Cable is provided in Cambridge Bay through the Co-op Store. Many people have Bell ExpressVu satellites because they offer more channels. Order the largest size dish if you choose to buy a satellite.
Internet service is available at the school or the library free of charge. There is also a community access, or CAP site at the Hamlet office. Polarnet offers dial-up Internet services to residents of the Kitikmeot communities. At this time the
connection is rather slow, compared to Internet services in southern Canada; we hope this changes in the near future. Call the local Internet provider at 983-2176.
The Canada Post Office is open from 8:30am to 5pm. Allow two to three weeks for letter or parcel delivery in Canada. Express Post is available, and will significantly cut down on the time of delivery.
The Nunavut Power Corporation supplies the town with diesel driven electricity. Power service is well subsidized and fees vary depending on your residence, consumption, and household. A typical power bill can cost anywhere from $50 to $150 per month. To set up your electricity account, call Nunavut Power Corporation at 983-7100, or 1-800-491-8127.
The Health Centre is open weekdays from 9am to 5pm, staffed by registered nurses who treat routine health problems. Nurses are also on call for emergencies. A mini-hospital is being built in Cambridge Bay.
Contact the Health Centre at 983-2531.
Serious medical conditions, procedures, or emergencies are flown to Yellowknife or Edmonton.
The RCMP has a detachment in Cambridge Bay.
To contact the RCMP call:
For Emergencies - 983-1111
General Enquiries - 983-0123
There are also community by-law officers, employed by the hamlet, who regularly patrol the community.
For recreational activities, Cambridge Bay has an arena, game hall, curling rink, seasonal pool, playgrounds for children, outdoor basketball courts, and a baseball diamond. The school gyms are used by the community for activities in the evenings and on weekends. Activities include soccer, floor hockey,
basketball, and volleyball. The Hamlet operates a weight room which has some fixed weights, bike, rowing machine, treadmill, free weights, and a punching bag.
Omingmak Frolics is a community event held on the third weekend of May that features a competitive seal hunt, talent show, snowmobile races, children's games, cooking and tea boiling, ice chiseling and fishing contests.
Outdoor activities such as hiking, hunting, fishing, and snowmobile riding are popular. Many teachers either purchase a skidoo or bring one with them to go out exploring on the land. For hunting and fishing licenses, call the department of sustainable resources.
Royal Bank in Cambridge Bay
Domes and Boats at the DEW Line
Kullik School Library
Kullik School Library
Display at Kullik Ilihakvik
Hare in the Fall
Signs in Mount Pelly Territorial Park