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Topic – Living in Iqaluit

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Read about Iqaluit, or click on the play button below to listen aloud.

Living in Iqaluit

Iqaluit is the capital city of Nunavut, a territory in Canada’s far north. What is it like living in this community close to the Arctic Circle? Life in Iqaluit is a mix of traditional and modern culture.


The population of Iqaluit is between 7000 and 8000 people. Because the city is growing so quickly, the population is always changing. Most people in Iqaluit are Inuit who speak the traditional language of Inuktitut, though many also speak English.


During the summer months, the daytime temperature is usually about 12°C, though sometimes it gets much warmer. Daytime temperatures during winter are about –20°C, though it can get much colder at night. To stay warm in winter, many people wear winter coats called parkas. Some people wear traditional parkas made of caribou or sealskin. Most people wear modern-style parkas filled with feathers.



In June, there are nearly 24 hours of daylight each day. The sun sets, but does not disappear completely. In December, there are only six hours of daylight each day.


Like their ancestors, some Inuit in Iqaluit eat traditional foods, such as caribou, muskox, whale, and a fish called Arctic char. Grocery stores carry most of the same foods you expect to find in any grocery store. Food prices in Iqaluit are high, since many foods need to be brought in from far away. Restaurants offer traditional foods, as well as modern favourites such as burgers and pizza.


The houses in Iqaluit are similar to houses in any city, though you will not find houses made of brick. There are also tall apartment buildings. Because the city’s population is growing quickly, many people who move to Iqaluit have to stay in a hotel until they can find a home to buy or rent.

Modern Media

Internet service, cell phone service, and cable television are all available in Iqaluit. It would be difficult to connect people to the Internet with underground cables, so people in Iqaluit get their Internet signal from a satellite orbiting in space.


Several different festivals take place each year in Iqaluit. Here are some examples:

  Toonik Tyme is a spring festival that includes dogsled races and igloo-building competitions.

  At the Arctic Food Celebration, you can taste whale blubber, caribou stew, and Arctic char.

  Nunavut Day takes place on July 9 each year. People celebrate Nunavut with traditional games and music, and lots of good food.

Fun Fact: In Iqaluit, there is a road called Road to Nowhere. This road goes a few kilometres out of the city, then suddenly stops—in the middle of nowhere!

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