Member Co-ops Qikiqtaq
Qikiqtaq Co-operative Association Limited
Gjoa Haven, NU X0B 1J0
Ph: (867) 360-7271
Fax: (867) 360-6018
Incorporated in 1966, this Co-op serves its members by operating a hotel, retail store, cable TV, fuel delivery and property rentals.
About Gjoa Haven
Alternate Name: Ursuqtuq
Local Meaning: Lots of Blubber
TIME ZONE: Mountain
About the Community
The story of the search for the Northwest Passage is best told from this community. Located on King William Island, the region’s channels and bays are ice-choked for much of the year. Also known as Ursuqtuq, the community’s English name is taken from Amundsen’s small ship, the Gjoa. The Inuit here are Netsilik Inuit and are known for their seal-hunting prowess. The major activities in today’s community are hunting, fishing, and arts and crafts. A self-guided walking tour of the area describes the search for the passage. Guided historic tours may be arranged to interpret the ill-fated Franklin expedition of 1845, and the Amundsen story. Overland and boat tours in the summer, snowmobile and dog team trekking in the winter allow visitors to experience historic King William Island and the Northwest Passage in the traditional Inuit manner.
Coming events – Summer 2003:
Sailors from Norway, museum artifacts and a British documentary are parts of party plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of explorer Roald Amundsen sailing the Northwest Passage. Amundsen took nearly three years, but he became the first explorer to cross the Northwest Passage in his ship Gjoa from 1903-06.
The hamlet is going to erect a cairn and plaque on the site of Amundsen’s observatory building to celebrate the anniversary with the visitors.
Activity is already fast and furious, with elders building two traditional kayaks to greet the boat. A CD-ROM is being recorded to collect interviews with elders on what life was like when Amundsen came through here. Less-solid plans include a return visit from a French crew who in 2000 were the first in their nation to sail through the Northwest Passage. The hamlet is also trying to invite grandchildren of Amundsen to come up for a visit. Another project is to enhance the community heritage centre’s budding museum with artifacts on loan from the Norwegian maritime museum in Oslo.