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"Uptown" neighbourhood of Pangnirtung. April 2006
"Pang", "Switzerland of the Arctic" [1]
Canada Nunavut location map-lambert proj3.svg
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Canada location map 2.svg
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Coordinates: 66°08′40″N065°42′55″W / 66.14444°N 65.71528°W / 66.14444; -65.71528 [2]
Territory Nunavut
Region Qikiqtaaluk
Electoral district Pangnirtung
  TypeHamlet Council
  MayorLynn Mike
   MLA Margaret Nakashuk
 (2021) [5]
  Land7.98 km2 (3.08 sq mi)
23 m (75 ft)
 (2021) [5]
  Density190.6/km2 (494/sq mi)
Time zone UTC−05:00 (EST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (EDT)
Canadian Postal code
Area code 867

Pangnirtung (or Pang, also Pangniqtuuq, in syllabics: ᐸᖕᓂᖅᑑᖅ IPA: [paŋniqtuːq] ) is an Inuit hamlet, in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of the Canadian territory of Nunavut, located on Baffin Island. The community is located about 45 km (28 mi) south of the Arctic Circle, and about 2,700 km (1,700 mi) from the North Pole. Pangnirtung is situated on a coastal plain at the coast of Pangnirtung Fjord, a fjord which eventually merges with Cumberland Sound. As of January 2022, the mayor is Lynn Mike. [3]



There is some confusion about the village name. Residents say the real name is Pangniqtuuq, which means "the place of many bull caribou". [7] Early in 2005 residents voted against officially changing the name of the village to the native one, as Pangnirtung has achieved an international reputation. Its residents have created high-quality traditional arts in sculpture, as well as adaptation of themes and design in printmaking and weaving.

Pangnirtung is nicknamed the Switzerland of the Arctic , or simply Pang. [8]


The Inuit and their ancestors, Paleo-Eskimo, have inhabited the area for thousands of years, perhaps up to 4000 years. [9] Their cultures became well-adapted to the climate and environment.

Contact with European Canadians has been limited to less than the last century. In 1921, the Hudson's Bay Company established a trading post in Pangnirtung. Two years later, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police erected a permanent office. The first government-appointed teacher arrived in 1956. The first administrative office was established in 1962.

Since then, numerous Inuit have achieved success with marketing their traditional arts. They transformed traditional drawing skills to produce lithographs and other forms of prints, allowing reproduction and wider distribution of their work. Other artists have made sculptures and carvings in local stone. Since the government established a weaving studio in 1970, many Inuit have learned to weave and are producing tapestries and other works that find an international market. [10]


Federal census population history of Pangnirtung
1991 1,135+13.0%
1996 1,243+9.5%
2001 1,276+2.7%
2006 1,325+3.8%
2011 1,425+7.5%
2016 1,481+3.9%
2021 1,504+1.6%
Source: Statistics Canada
[5] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19]

In the 2021 Canadian census conducted by Statistics Canada, Pangnirtung had a population of 1,504 living in 396 of its 456 total private dwellings, a change of

Economic development

The community operates a turbot fishery. In 2008, the federal government budgeted for the construction of a harbour. [20] Pangnirtung Fisheries Limited operates a packing plant to process local turbot catches. [21] Founded in 1992 during peak summer operations the company has over 40 employees during peak season. [22]

Auyuittuq Lodge is the hamlet's only hotel, which comprises 25 rooms, shared facilities, a dining room, and a lounge.

Local services

Power is supplied to Pangnirtung via standalone diesel generators operated by Qulliq Energy.

Fuel is imported via tanker and stored in a tank farm near the Pangnirtung Airport. The purchase of diesel fuel is the responsibility of the government of Nunavut. [23]

Water, sewage, and garbage services are provided by the municipality of Pangnirtung. Water trucks fill up at a reservoir adjacent to the hamlet and deliver seven days a week. Sewage is pumped out and treated at the municipal treatment plant. Garbage is picked up five days a week and transported to a landfill that slowly deteriorates due to Arctic temperatures. [24]

For emergency services it is protected by the 14-member Pangnirtung Fire Department. [25] The fire service uses one pumper with one older reserve from one station. Policing is provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Pangnirtung Detachment [26] attached to V Division. [27]

Mini C, The North West Company (Northern Store), Pangnirtung Inuit Co-op and Co-op Express are the only local retailers and grocery options. [28] [29] KFC Express, Pizza Hut and Co-op Express are the only fast food restaurants in the hamlet. Perishable goods are shipped by air and all other items by sealift when waters are ice-free.

Banking is done through the Co-op or money orders [30]

Gasoline for cars or snowmobiles is done at the Quickstop or the Co-op.


There are two schools in Pangnirtung: [31]

Post secondary-studies opportunities can be made through Nunavut Arctic College's Community Learning Centre.


Aksayuk Arena is a sports and recreational centre.


Like all Nunavut communities Pangnirtung is a fly-in community with no road access to the rest of Nunavut. Pangnirtung Airport provides the only viable means of access. There are gravel roads in the community and residents use SUV's, pickup trucks, 4-wheel ATV's and snowmobiles.

Places of worship

Two churches can be found in Pangnirtung: [32]


Basic medical services are available at the Health Centre. Four beds are available for assessment only, with advance care via medevac to Iqaluit. [34]

Nearby Pangnirtung

Pangnirtung is the nearest town (1 hour by boat) to Auyuittuq National Park and the location of one of two park offices, the other is in Qikiqtarjuaq. Located near to the Parks Canada office is the Angmarlik Visitor Centre. [35] [36] Iglunga, now uninhabited, is an Inuit hamlet, just south of Iglunga Island, is about 65 km (40 mi) to the west.

Pangnirtung panorama.jpg
Panorama of Pangnirtung Fiord in winter

Small craft harbour

In 2009, the then Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, proposed building a new modern harbour in Pangnirtung to support the region's turbot-fishing industry. [37] [38] [39] Harper received a warm welcome with many residents gathered at the airport to greet him. The town's 1,500 residents listened as Harper announced that $17 million worth of harbour construction promised in the last two budgets would get under way in the fall of that year. [40] Harper said the greatest potential for the hamlet's future lies in the inshore turbot fishery. The shortfalls of the previous harbour were a big problem for fishermen: When the tide ebbed, the harbour turned to mud.

The work on the harbour was completed in September 2013. The entire project ended up costing about $40.5 million. The improvements to the harbour include a fixed wharf, breakwater, marshalling area, sea lift ramp and a dredged channel and basin. The improvements will allow residents to unload their catches faster by allowing smaller crafts to dock easily and safely. [41]

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.

The 2022 Canadian Inuit science fiction film Slash/Back was filmed in Pangnirtung. It was directed by Nyla Innuksuk in her feature debut, and starred largely local actors recruited for the film.

Notable residents

See also

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  20. "Nunavut Ministers Lobby for Federal Fishery Support". Dollars and Sense: Northern Business and Economy. 3 June 2008. Archived from the original on 14 February 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
  21. Pang fish plant languishes with anglers in short supply
  22. Thieves steal thousands of dollars from Pangnirtung fish plant
  23. "Power". Hamlet of Pangnirtung. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  24. "Municipal Services". Hamlet of Pangnirtung. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  25. 'They will always be welcome at our fire house'
  26. Pangnirtung detachment Nunavut
  27. Nunavut divisional headquarters
  28. Northern Stores Locator
  29. Groceries
  30. Banks
  31. Schools
  32. Churches
  33. Arctic Anglicans seek fresh new recruits in England
  34. Much-delayed health centre opens in Pangnirtung
  35. Auyuittuq National Park
  36. Angmarlik Visitor Centre
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Further reading