Baffin Island is a humongous island situated within Canada’s province of Nunavut. It is the largest island in Canada but is the second largest on the planet. It is situated at more than 195,924 square miles across.
Although Baffin Island has a small population of 14,870, the island is often visited by nature lovers and those that are seeking adventure.
The widest and largest island of Canada is Baffin, Island. Its landmass covers 195,928 square miles across or 507,451 km² wide. It is connected with the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Labrador Sear, the Nares Strait, and the Davis Strait which are located near the Baffin Bay. When Smith Sound is navigable it allows some passage through to Baffin Island when it is not covered with icebergs.
History of Names and the Monstrously Large North Canada Baffin Island
Viking Heritage Name for Baffin Island
The largest island in Canada is home to nature preserves, parks, and wildlife. Helluland was one of the names given to the island, which means land of stone within Norse culture.
Some believe that Baffin Island is the same place where the Viking Sagas of Eric the Red took place within the 11th century.
It is believed that in the accounts within the Saga of Eric the Red, his son was able to reach Baffin Island. The Viking named Baffin Island and its surrounding areas as Vinland. This Vinland of the Viking culture is now named Nunavut.
Nunavut was thought to be the first area that the Vikings encountered after leaving their home in Greenland. As a result, some historical accounts, point to the Vikings being the first Europeans to explore the Americas.
Inuit Heritage Names for Baffin Island
The island was originally called Qikiqtaaluk by Inuktitut people as noted in the Inuit Heritage Trust maps.
This is significant because more than 84% of the population of Nunavut, which is the largest northern territory within Canada, are of Inuit heritage with Inuktitut considered to be their native tongue.
Long-standing names, such as Nunavut and Qikiqtaaluk are important to the Inuit culture, they are also known as Eskimos within the traditional American English language.
These traditional names have been preserved within the Inuit Heritage Trust maps that obtained their place in history with the creation of Nanavut in 1999 as a part of the governing territory of the Inuit people.
Queen Elizabeth’s Name and Baffin Island
The island was also given the name Queen Elizabeth’s Foreland by an English explorer named Martin Frobisher. Martin was given support from Queen Elizabeth to colonize the Baffin Bay, which she named Unknown Shore in Latin or Meta Incognita.
Martin went back to the Baffin Bay to mind ore which the queen believed would establish an additional source of wealth for her country. The island’s current name came to be through the exploration of William Baffin in 1616 who was originally trying to find the Northwest Passage.
Baffin Island Inuit Culture, Attractions, and Things to Do
The Inuit people of Baffin Island live within the largest area of the Arctic Archipelago and have so for thousands of years. As descendants of Thule, they migrated to the area from Alaska. There are three main cultures of Inuit people within the Baffin Bay.
These cultures include the Labrador Inuit, the South Baffin Island Inuit, and the Iglulik Inuit also known as Igloolik. Although there are some differences in dialect and culture, all Inuit cultures believe that oral history is important.
Things to Do in the Baffin Bay
Visiting the Capital City of Iqaluit, Nunavut
If you are visiting the capital city of Nunavut, then you will find plenty of things to do in Iqaluit. From St. Jude’s Cathedral and Apex Beach to the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum and the Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre there is much to do in this Artic city on Baffin Island.
The city of Iqaluit is also home to the Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park and the local souvenir shop called Rannva Design. Visitors to the area can also take a day trip with Tour Iqaluit. While others love to visit the areas Astro Theater or visit the Nunavut Brewing Company.
Nearby Cape Dorset Attractions
Although Cape Dorset is its own island, it is within the area of Baffin Island near the Foxe Peninsula. Cape Dorset is called Kinngait by the local Inuit natives and it is known as the area’s artisan community. Visitors enjoy artistic depictions of native wildlife, including whales and caribou.
Cape Dorset is home to the Cape Dorset Bird Sanctuary, West Baffin Eskimo Co-Operative, and Mallikjuaq Territorial Park. Visitors can also enjoy local music, food, and brew. The area remains one of the world-renown tourist attractions for world travelers.
Auyuittuq National Park – Auyuittuq National Park offers hiking along towering rocks and natural granite walkways. Visitors of this Baffin Island park can see glaciers and mountain views. The area is famous for the new Ulu Peak Day Trip, snowmobiling along the Arctic Circle, and backpacking within the Akshayuk Pass.
Sirmilik National Park – Sirmilik National Park is a hiker’s destination that features several types of terrain and scenery. This national park is famous for sea kayaking on Oliver Sound, hiking on Bylot Island, and you can see Baffin Bay Arctic wildlife near the floe-edge.
Katannilik Territorial Park – Katannilik Territorial Park is known for its meandering trails and cascading waterfalls. The park is famous for the Soper Heritage River which offers more than 460 square miles of trails that is a designated Canadian Heritage River. Soper is highly connected to Inuit culture.
World Wonders – The Northern Lights are one of the reasons why traveling to Baffin Bay is worth enduring the cold atmosphere. Specifically, Nunavut is where many visitors go to see the green lights of the Aurora Borealis.
Baffin Island is more than host to the cold Arctic air. It is home to spectacular the midnight sun, wildlife, and some of the best hiking within Canada’s northern province. Visitors of Baffin Island can view world wonders, national parks, and special historical and natural attractions.