We Don’t Live In Igloos And Other Myths Of The North
Canada is a big country. You don’t need to tell us twice. We get that Inuvik looks like a long way away from … well, everything! But aside from some minor differences (some may even say benefits!), life in the Arctic is not much different than anywhere else in our beautiful country.
Located 200 km north of the Arctic Circle and less than 100 km south of the Arctic Ocean, many people would look at a map and assume a lot about Inuvik. We have listed five of these myths of the North below. Take a look and learn how many of them are not totally accurate.
It’s always below freezing in the Arctic.
We can’t sugar-coat this myth; it does get very cold in the Arctic. In Inuvik, it is common for temperatures to dip below -40 °C in the winter. It’s nothing you can’t handle if you dress for the weather.
But is it always below freezing? No, that’s not the case.
In the summertime, temperatures usually hit a high of 30°C in June, July and August with the help of the midnight sun. There have been multiple times when Inuvik is the warmest place in all of Canada!
There are no cars – people in the North travel only by dog sled.
In Inuvik, we have a couple dog sled teams but for the most part they are used for recreational purposes.
Those who have a team could easily travel around town to do their grocery shopping, but that’s not something we have seen in a very long time. Most people drive using cars, trucks or even their snowmobiles in the wintertime.
Dog sledding is mainly saved for our visitors who want to experience the Mackenzie Delta in a unique way.
You can’t fly or drive to the Arctic.
While this would be true for many communities that call the Arctic home, it is nowhere near the truth when considering Inuvik.
Located at the end of the Dempster Highway, Inuvik is accessible year-round by any type of vehicle. The highway only closes when the Peel and Mackenzie Rivers freeze in the fall and breakup in the spring.
As for flying, Inuvik welcomes flights daily from Edmonton, Yellowknife and Whitehorse. You can fly to our town from almost anywhere in North America with just a one-night layover.
Everyone in the North lives in an igloo.
The ability to build an igloo has been passed down by the Inuvialuit over many generations. Even though many people living in Inuvik may know how to build one, no one actually lives in an igloo.
Much like a snowman, they are sometimes made for fun or built during one of our winter festivals.
Everyone in Inuvik lives in a house – just like you would anywhere else in Canada. The only difference – ours have to be built on pilings to keep heat away from the permafrost.
It’s always dark in the Arctic.
In Inuvik, we do experience 30 days of complete darkness. But this only means the sun never appears over the horizon. We still see light in the sky during the middle of the day – it just does not last very long.
But on the other hand, in the summer months between June and August, we are blessed with 56 days of continuous daylight. This means the sun never sets below the horizon. The midnight sun makes our summers seem very long!