Baker Lake, Nunavut

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Baker Lake
  • ᖃᒪᓂᑦᑐᐊᖅ
  • Qamani'tuaq
Baker Lake Community 1995-06-29.jpg
Baker Lake, 1995
Official Logo of the Halmet of Baker Lake.png
Canada Nunavut location map-lambert proj3.svg
Red pog.svg
Baker Lake
Canada location map 2.svg
Red pog.svg
Baker Lake
Coordinates: 64°19′10″N096°01′15″W / 64.31944°N 96.02083°W / 64.31944; -96.02083 [1] Coordinates: 64°19′10″N096°01′15″W / 64.31944°N 96.02083°W / 64.31944; -96.02083 [2]
Territory Nunavut
Region Kivalliq
Electoral district Baker Lake
  TypeHamlet Council
  MayorRichard Aksawnee
   MLAs Simeon Mikkungwak
  Total182.22 km2 (70.36 sq mi)
   Population Centre 1.57 km2 (0.61 sq mi)
18 m (59 ft)
 (2016) [5] [6]
  Density11/km2 (29/sq mi)
  Population centre
  Population centre density1,100/km2 (2,800/sq mi)
Time zone UTC−06:00 (CST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−05:00 (CDT)
Canadian Postal code
Area code 867

Baker Lake (Inuktitut syllabics: ᖃᒪᓂᑦᑐᐊᖅ 'big lake joined by a river at both ends', Inuktitut: Qamani'tuaq 'where the river widens') is a hamlet in the Kivalliq Region, in Nunavut on mainland Canada. Located 320 km (200 mi) inland from Hudson Bay, it is near the nation's geographical centre, and is notable for being Nunavut's sole inland community. The hamlet is located at the mouth of the Thelon River on the shore of Baker Lake. The community was given its English name in 1761 from Captain William Christopher who named it after Sir William Baker, the 11th Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company. [8] [9] [10]



In 1916, the Hudson's Bay Company established a trading post at Baker Lake, followed by Anglican missionaries in 1927. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police had been in the area for fifteen years before establishing a post at Baker Lake in 1930. In 1946 the population was 32, of which 25 were Inuit. [8] A small hospital was built in 1957, followed by a regional school the next year.[ citation needed ]

In 1979 the plaintiffs, the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Association and the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITK) in Hamlet of Baker Lake v. Minister of Indian Affairs, took the Canadian federal government to court for giving exploration licenses to mining companies in areas where the Inuit hunt caribou. Judge Mahoney of the Federal Court of Canada, recognized the existence of Aboriginal Title in Nunavut. [11] :653The plaintiffs, which included the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITK) were concerned that "government-licensed exploration companies were interfering with their aboriginal rights, specifically, their right to hunt caribou." [11] :653

Videos of elders sharing oral histories have been collected by Inuit students as part of the Nunavut Teacher Education Program. [12]


Federal census population history of Baker Lake
1991 1,186+17.5%
1996 1,385+16.8%
2001 1,507+8.8%
2006 1,728+14.7%
2011 1,872+8.3%
2016 2,069+10.5%
2021 2,061−0.4%
Source: Statistics Canada
[13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21]

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Baker Lake had a population of 2,061 living in 577 of its 661 total private dwellings, a change of

Baker Lake is home to eleven Inuit groups:


Many of the town's residents work in the Meadowbank gold mine for Agnico Eagle Mines Limited. [22] Much of the local infrastructure and logistics-related employment is based around aiding mineral exploration and mining efforts in the wider area. The main source of employment and growth in this sector is Canadian-based mining company Agnico Eagle Mines, which in 2010 began work at its Meadowbank mine site 110 km (68 mi) north of Baker Lake by road. [23] [24] The construction of the mine employed over 1,000 workers, over 30% of them were locals from the general area of the Kivalliq Region. Along with employing local people, the company helped build cellphone towers to get the community connected to Northwestel's cellphone service. The coming of workers from all across Canada also helped developing tourism in this community. There is also potential for a uranium mine, called the Kiggavik Project, which is being proposed by AREVA Resources Canada. [25]



Baker Lake in autumn 2009 BakerLake2009.JPG
Baker Lake in autumn 2009

Baker Lake features a subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification: Dfc) with short, cool summers and long, cold winters. Winters run from October/November until April/May with temperatures averaging between −21 and −25 °C (−6 and −13 °F). [26] In contrast to Fairbanks, Alaska on a similar parallel, May is a subfreezing month and June is chilly considering the long hours of daylight.

Summers are usually cool, short and rainy; but can be hot and sometimes humid; with a record high of 33.6 °C (92.5 °F). Under the Nordenskjöld formula for distinguishing polar from non-polar climates, however, Baker Lake's climate is polar (Köppen ET) because with a coldest-month mean of −31.3 °C (−24.3 °F), the warmest-month mean would need be above 12.1 °C (53.8 °F) to keep Baker Lake out of the polar category, while Baker Lake's warmest-month mean is only 11.6 °C (52.9 °F)—the lack of trees at Baker Lake vindicate this judgement. [27]

Climate data for Baker Lake (Baker Lake Airport)
WMO ID: 71926; coordinates 64°17′56″N96°04′40″W / 64.29889°N 96.07778°W / 64.29889; -96.07778 (Baker Lake Airport) ; elevation: 18.6 m (61 ft); 1981–2010, extremes 1946–present
Record high humidex −2.0−
Record high °C (°F)−1.7
Average high °C (°F)−27.7
Daily mean °C (°F)−31.3
Average low °C (°F)−34.8
Record low °C (°F)−50.6
Record low wind chill −72−70−66−58−42−23−6−10−23−47−59−64−72
Average precipitation mm (inches)6.2
Average rainfall mm (inches)0.0
Average snowfall cm (inches)7.4
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm)
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm)
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm)
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 29.897.6178.4233.7194.0284.2327.0199.690.154.243.816.11,748.3
Percent possible sunshine 17.741.049.251.733.945.253.539.222.917.822.312.033.9
Source: Environment Canada Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010 [26] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32]


Baker Lake is host to a variety of wildlife including caribou, muskox, Arctic hares and wolves, wolverines, sik-siks, geese and lake trout among others.[ citation needed ]

Arts and culture

Baker Lake is known for its Inuit art, such as wallhangings, basalt stone sculptures and stonecut prints. The community has been home to internationally exhibited artists such as Matthew Agigaaq, Elizabeth Angrnaqquaq, Luke Anguhadluq, Barnabus Arnasungaaq, David Ikutaq, Toona Iquliq, Janet Nungnik, Jessie Oonark, Ruth Qaulluaryuk, Irene Avaalaaqiaq Tiktaalaaq, Simon Tookoome, Marion Tuu'luq, and Marie Kuunnuaq. [33] [34]

The Jessie Oonark Arts and Crafts Centre, which opened in 1992, is a work area for the communities artists. It provides space for carving, print making, sewing and jewellery making. It is also home to Jessie Oonark Crafts Ltd. a subsidiary of the Nunavut Development Corporation, a Government of Nunavut crown corporation. [35] [36]



The settlement is served by Baker Lake Airport, linking it to the nearby coastal town of Rankin Inlet, about 35 minutes away by air. Calm Air serves the town with at least two flights daily. Every day there are connecting flights to Winnipeg.

As in every community in Nunavut, the roads are unpaved and do not connect with any other community in the territory.

Broadband communications

The community has been served by the Qiniq network since 2005. Qiniq is a fixed wireless service to homes and businesses, connecting to the outside world via a satellite backbone. The Qiniq network is designed and operated by SSI Micro. In 2017, the network was upgraded to 4G LTE technology, and 2G-GSM for mobile voice.


Baker Lake has a woman's shelter, health centre (Baker Lake Health Centre), dental clinic, heritage centre, visitor's centre, counselling centre, elders' centre, three hotels (Baker Lake Lodge, Iglu Hotel and Nunamiut Lodge), swimming pool, library, primary and secondary school (Rachel Arngnammaktiq Elementary School and Jonah Amitnaaq Secondary School), and youth centre.

There are three churches in the community, Anglican (St. Aidan's), Catholic (St. Paul's) and Glad Tidings.[ citation needed ]

See also

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  33. Artists and artwork represented at Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Further reading