Friday, April 9, 2010

Destination of the Week...

Qamani’tuaq, better known as Baker Lake, is the geographical center of Canada. Surrounded by hundreds of kilometers of tundra, Baker Lake is a great destination for those wanting to experience nature and learn about life in the Arctic. Qamani’tuaq means, “where the river widens.” The name is fitting, since many rivers flow into Baker Lake, including the Thelon and Kazan, which have been designated Canadian Heritage Rivers. Canoeists from all over the world come here to experience the challenge of paddling through the beauty and vastness of the Arctic. Many people have never heard of Baker Lake, Canada, but it is home to the largest movement of land mammals in the world. The massive Thelon Game Sanctuary is home to species such as Beverly Caribou, Wolves, Snowy Owls, Wolverine, Moose, Golden Eagles, Tundra Swans, and Humpback Whitefish. The Sanctuary was created in 1927, allowing this diverse ecosystem to evolve without interference for over 70 years. The river valley also supports a remarkable diversity of plants, including some that are unique to the Arctic. Baker Lake is also a great place to come and learn about the Inuit people and their heritage. One can visit the Inuit Heritage Centre, and view locally made art in the independent galleries. If you plan your trip to Nunavut correctly, you may find yourself engulfed in local traditions, like dog team races, a fishing derby, and the Terry Fox Run. If you’re looking for some local education, head to the Community Igloo and join the Inuit elders while they teach traditional knowledge and skills to the youngsters. You may come away knowing how to prepare caribou hide, craft hunting tools from local materials, and simply encompassing a newfound respect and knowledge of the land. The spectacular scenery in the Baker Lake area includes not only the unique wildlife, but also impressive waterfalls and, if you turn upwards, the Aurora Borealis in the night skies.

Baker Lake is approximately 320 kilometers (199 miles) inland from the West coast of the Hudson Bay, and can only be reached by plane, which makes getting there pricey, but also part of the adventure. A flight from Montreal, Canada is usually six hours, whereas travel from Vancouver will likely take a total of 24 hours. A flexible attitude is necessary for a trip into the Nunavut territory, because severe weather conditions are sure to change anyone’s travel plans. Though, once you’ve landed in the wide-open tundra of the Arctic, it will all have been worth it!

Click here for information on Nunavut, including how to get to Baker Lake!

Click here for official Canada visitor information!

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