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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′52″N065°41′58″W / 66.14778°N 65.69944°W / 66.14778; -65.69944 Coordinates: 66°08′52″N065°41′58″W / 66.14778°N 65.69944°W / 66.14778; -65.69944
Territory Nunavut
Region Qikiqtaaluk
Electoral district Pangnirtung
  TypeHamlet Council
  MayorStevie Komoartok
   MLAs Margaret Nakashuk
  Land7.77 km2 (3.00 sq mi)
23 m (75 ft)
 (2016) [4]
  Density190.6/km2 (494/sq mi)
Time zone UTC−05:00 (EST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (EDT)
Canadian Postal code
Area code(s) 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. 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 Stevie Komoartok. [2]



There is some confusion about the village name. Residents say the real name is Pangniqtuuq, which means "the place of many bull caribou". [6] 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. [7]


The Inuit and their ancestors have inhabited the area for thousands of years, perhaps as long as 4,000. 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. [8]


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
[9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18]

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Pangnirtung recorded 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. [19] Pangnirtung Fisheries Limited operates a packing plant to process local turbot catches. [20] Founded in 1992 during peak summer operations the company has over 40 employees during peak season. [21]

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 stand alone 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. [22]

Water, sewage, and garbage services are provided by the municipality of Pangnirtung. Water trucks fill up at a reservoir adjacent to the hamlet and is delivered 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. [23]

For emergency services it is protected by the 14 member Pangnirtung Fire Department. [24] The fire service uses one pumper with one older reserve from one station. Policing is provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Pangnirtung Detachment [25] attached to V Division. [26]

Mini C, The North West Company (Northern Store), Pangnirtung Inuit Co-op and Co-op Express are the only local retailers and grocery options. [27] [28] 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 [29]

Gas for cars or snowmobile is done at the Quickstop or the Co-op.


There are two schools in Pangnirtung: [30]

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: [31]


Basic medical services are available at the Health Centre. Four beds are available for assessment only, with advance care via medevac to Iqaluit. [33]

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. [34] [35] Iglunga, now uninhabited, is an Inuit hamlet to the west.

Pangnirtung panorama.jpg
Panorama of Pangnirtung Fiord in winter

Small craft harbour

In 2009 Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper proposed building a new modern harbour in Pangnirtung to support the region's turbot-fishing industry. [36] [37] [38] 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. [39] 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 receded, 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. [40]

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.

Notable residents

See also

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  1. Why Pangnirtung, Nunavut is called the Switzerland of the Arctic
  2. 1 2 Welcome to Pangnirtung!
  3. Results for the constituency of Pangnirtung at Elections Nunavut
  4. 1 2 "Census Profile, 2016 Census". Statistics Canada. 8 February 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-03.
  5. Elevation at airport. Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 16 July 2020 to 0901Z 10 September 2020.
  6. Qikiqtani Inuit Association - Pangnirtung Profile Archived 2011-05-10 at the Wayback Machine
  7. "Frommer's: Nunavut". John Wiley & Sons., Inc. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  8. Cross, L. D. 2003. "Woven, Not Carved: The Pangnirtung Tapestries Are Northern Art with Global Appeal", Arctic. 56: 310-314
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  19. "Nunavut Ministers Lobby for Federal Fishery Support". Dollars and Sense: Northern Business and Economy. 2008-06-03. Archived from the original on 2009-02-14. Retrieved 2008-08-21.
  20. Pang fish plant languishes with anglers in short supply
  21. Thieves steal thousands of dollars from Pangnirtung fish plant
  22. "Power". Hamlet of Pangnirtung. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  23. "Municipal Services". Hamlet of Pangnirtung. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  24. 'They will always be welcome at our fire house'
  25. Pangnirtung detachment Nunavut
  26. Nunavut divisional headquarters
  27. Northern Stores Locator
  28. Groceries
  29. Banks
  30. Schools
  31. Churches
  32. Arctic Anglicans seek fresh new recruits in England
  33. Much-delayed health centre opens in Pangnirtung
  34. Auyuittuq National Park
  35. Angmarlik Visitor Centre
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  40. "Pangnirtung's small craft harbour opens | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-04-23.

Further reading