Canada’s national parks are gateways to nature, adventure and discovery and Quttinirpaaq is no exception. Quttinirpaaq National Park is the northernmost destination in Parks Canada’s network of protected spaces. It lies roughly 800 kilometres from the North Pole, on Northern Ellesmere Island. Thanks to Google Street View, Parks Canada can now guide you through parts of this third-largest national park in the country.
In the summer of 2016, a few team members threw on the Google Trekker and walked over some of the Park’s incredible terrain. Wilderness and extreme isolation are the best ways to describe this area, where fewer than 50 people set foot each year. The Park’s name itself translates to “the top of the world” in Inuktitut.
With treks along the ocean shoreline, climbs up to lofty ridges, strolls beside glacial meltwater rivers, and scrambles at the foot of monumental glaciers, the resulting imagery is truly spectacular — a digital reflection of one of the world’s most remote locations.
After reaching out to the nearby hamlets about the opportunity to be captured on Google Street View, the team took a short trip to Grise Fiord, Canada’s northernmost community. Resolute Bay, the gateway to most High Arctic adventures, was also brought to Street View with the help of ATVs.
Internet access and bandwidth can be challenging given the remoteness of these locations. The local communities graciously hosted the team at an event to watch the Street View imagery of their homes and the Park in an offline, highlight reel presentation. The team shared behind-the-scenes stories of what it was like to capture the imagery and the amount of effort required to capture images of these communities and make them available online.
On October 12, 2017, all the content that was produced to support the launch — YouTube video of the capture, digital animations, stunning photography, blog posts, and a “best of Street View” gallery — was released to the world through the media. The response has been undeniably positive.
Parks Canada arranges scheduled charter flights from Resolute Bay during the summer taking visitors to Tanquary Fiord. Single seats are available on the charter flight for experienced and independent travellers. Parks Canada has also partnered with Black Feather, The Wilderness Adventure Company, to offer a two-week, guided backcountry experience in the Park. Black Feather offers two different trips while in Quttinirpaaq — the Ad Astra Trek and Ellesmere Basecamp and Photography. Limited seats are available for these iconic experiences.
For two weeks in the summer you could also be the camp cook. If you’re interested in volunteering with Quttinirpaaq National Park, Parks Canada offers an exciting opportunity to be a Chef at the Top of World! Charter flight costs are covered from Resolute to the Park and there is, of course, free time to explore the area while you are there. Each spring, Parks Canada accepts applications for this chance of a lifetime. We hope you enjoy your visit to the top of the world in Quttinirpaaq National Park.
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Street View Gallery: https://www.google.com/streetview/#quttinirpaaq-national-park-nunavut-canada
Parks Canada: http://pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/nu/quttinirpaaq