Home Destination Focus Kugluktuk


67.82515°N, -115.09517°E

© Tessa Macintosh

Kugluktuk, formerly known as Coppermine, is located at the mouth of the Coppermine River where it feeds into Coronation Gulf. Kugluktuk, the most westerly community in the territory, is in the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut and has a population of approximately 1,400 people.

Kugluktuk has a unique microclimate that extends a narrow band of stunted boreal forest trees northwards towards the Arctic Ocean. Because the tundra is close to the treeline, a variety of wildlife can be viewed in the area, including grizzly bears, wolverines, and moose, as well as tundra wildlife such as muskoxen, caribou, foxes, and wolves.

Quintessential Kugluktuk experiences:

  • Stop by the Kugluktuk Heritage Visitor Centre and Museum, featuring a exhibition of Copper Inuit history and a gallery of contemporary art works and unique local crafts
  • Celebrate the return of spring at the annual Nattiq Frolics with traditional Inuit games, dancing, feasting, seal hunting contests, and snowmobile races
  • Explore the Coppermine River from Kugluktuk to Bloody Falls and back by canoe, kayak, boat, or raft

The language most often in use is Inuinnaqtun, which is a dialect of Inuktitut. In Inuinnaqtun, Qurluktuk (Kugluktuk) means, “place of moving water”. Upriver from the hamlet is the beautiful Kugluk cascade, also known as Bloody Falls, an ancient fishing and hunting location that is now a territorial park of historic cultural importance.

The Inuit of Kugluktuk are Copper Inuit, descendants of the Thule. The Copper Inuit were so named because they sourced copper from the Coppermine River, an important resource for everyday life and trade. Kugluktuk copper was found throughout the Arctic, traded from group to group. This valuable resource, plus the local climate and abundance of hunting and fishing were the same historical reasons why the Dene First Nations lived in the area.

The Hudson’s Bay Company established a post in 1927. With the provision of electric power, formal schooling, and nursing services in the 1960s, Kugluktuk became a modern settlement with a significant permanent resident population. Kugluktuk was incorporated as a hamlet in 1981. The hamlet has since grown into a creative and cultural hub that continues to celebrate its unique language, Inuinnaqtun, of which it boasts the largest population of native speakers in Nunavut.

The people of Kugluktuk rely heavily on their traditional economy of hunting and fishing to feed and clothe their families for cultural and nutritional well-being.

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