Pond Inlet

Early History

The North Baffin area is scattered with archaeological Thule sites (Thule are the ancestors to the present day Inuit have who arrived in the eastern Arctic about 1, 0000 years ago). There are also archaeological sites identified as Dorset, an earlier population known as Tuniit to the Inuit. In any case, it is evident that Inuit people have inhabited the North Baffin for many generations, living in small camps located in good hunting grounds around Eclipse Sound and up Navy Board Inlet.

In those days summer and winter camps differed according to the animals to be hunted each season. The Inuit lived in sealskin tents in the summer and igloo's and sod huts roofed with sealskin and moss in the winter. Travel by dog team and sled in the winter. Kayak and Umiak with seal skin cover.

European Contact

The name "Ponds Bay" was first given to the land about 5 km east of the present settlement in1818.

John Ross, a British explorer, named the area after John Ponds, at that time the Astronomer Royal. The first white settlers to the community moved the name over to town's present location but there was no Inuktitut name for this site, the Inuit referred to it as Mittimatalik, meaning "Where Mittima is buried" (referring to a grave that us

e to be located beside a large rock that is located beside Joshua Katsak's residence) The Inuit got stuck with the Inuktitut name.

In 1906-07, Captain Joseph Bernier, Leader of the Canadian Government expedition sent to establish sovereignty over the Arctic Islands.

In the summer of 1921 Hudson's Bay Company established a post at Pond Inlet, about 13 km west of Igarjuar.

Robert Janes was the second mate of Captain Bernier in Bernier's earlier trips. In 1916 Robert Janes came back to the region and took up residence at Tulukkaan about 25 kilometres west of the present community of Pond Inlet; there he traded in furs, but the story ends unhappily. For three (3) years in a row he had waited in vain for the ship that was to renew his store, but lender had given up on him. It was therefore an embittered and desperate man who decided early in 1920 to return south, planning to take with him the greatest possible number of furs on the journey of thousands of kilometers.

But then, Janes had become violent, and a serious concern to the Inuit living in the area. Fearing for safety of their wives and families while they were away hunting, and as a result of some nasty incidents, the Inuit deci

ded to kill Janes before he killed them. This plan was carried out at Cape Crawford near Arctic Bay and his body was transported back to Pond Inlet.

As a result of the murder, the R.C.M.P. sent Staff Sergent A.H. Joy to investigate the matter in 1921. A court trial was held with the Inuit and the several visiting southern officials present. A local man, Nuqallaq, was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in Stoney Mountain Penitentiary near Winnipeg, Manitoba. After only few months in jail, Nuqallaq contracted tuberculosis and was returned to Pond Inlet to spend his last days. Robert Janes body was reburied about 1 km west of the settlement. His grave can still be seen today, beside another trader.

Location

The community of Pond Inlet is located in North eastern tip of Baffin Island on the south shore of eclipse Sound, facing the magnificent mountains of Bylot Island. At 72º 41' 81" North and 77º 58' 82" west, Pond Inlet is 644 km (400) miles above the Arctic Circle. The nearest communities are Arctic Bay to the west and Clyde River to the south. Iqaluit, the capital of the new Nunavut territory and the nearest major center, is located 1062 km (600 miles) to the south.

Population

The population in 2001was approximately 1300 people, of whom about 95% are Inuit and more than 60% are school-aged or younger. The first language of most residents of Pond Inlet is Inuktitut. Many people, however, also speak English. The major employers are the Toonoonik Sahoonik Co-op, the Hamlet, the Housing Association, Northern Stores and the Government of Nunavut.

Climate

Pond Inlet is not covered with snow all year round. In July the mean high temperature is 10ºC and the mean low is 1ºC. At this time, considerable Arctic vegetation appears; the lakes are ice-free and the creeks and brooks are running. The record high for July was 20ºC (70ºF). The average annual rainfall is 6 cm in the summer months, followed by an average annual snowfall of 108 cm through the fall, winter and early spring, giving a total annual precipitation of 17 cm (about 7 inches).

The winter temperatures will vary, warming slightly just before a storm. The January means high is -28ºC and the mean low is -40ºC. February is the coldest month and the lowest temperature recorded was -54ºC. Any wind will increase the rate of heat transfer, this means the exposed skin will freeze much more quickly when it is windy. Due to the mountainous terrain around Pond Inlet, high winds are not frequent; however winds storms, when they come, may last for three or four days. The weather is most unsettled in the late spring during ice break-up and in the fall freeze-up.

Daylight & Darkness

While the hours of light and dark may be unusual for the visitor to Pond Inlet, the changes are rapid but not sudden.

Even on the 21st of December (the shortest and darkest day), a faint strip of light can be seen above the southern hills at midday. Depending on clouds, the sun will last be seen above horizon on November 11th each year, although the hours of twilight linger for some time after that. This light gradually dwindles until the winter s

olstice.

After the New Year, the light begins to increase markedly. By the last week of January the top mountains are touched with sunlight, and on the second of February the sun peeks above the horizon for a few moments. Although northerners are used to this period of darkness, the first sight of the sun is awaited anxiously and its return is greeted joyously.

Once the sun is back, daylight increases by a good 20 minutes a day until equal day and night is reached at the vernal equinox. By mid-April the nights are no longer totally dark. From mid-may to the end of July the sun does not drop behind the mountains of Bylot Island, and we truly have a 24-hour day; this is the famous "midnight sun", a sight truly worth seeing.

Flowers

Common Flowers to be seen during the summer are: saxfrage, arctic heather, cinquefoils, chickweed, fireweed, louseworts, arctic poppies, arctic cotton, and even dandelions!

Wildlife

The Pond Inlet-Bylot Island area offers many opportunities for viewing

wildlife (although of course, animals and birds do not always arrive "on demand"). Some of the animals that you may see are caribou, arctic hare, wolves, arctic fox and lemmings. Marine mammals include ringed, harp, and bearded seals, belugas, narwhals, the magnificent bowhead and the killer whale. Fishing in the area is mainly for arctic char and land lock char.

Many birds can be seen during the summertime. Sightings are common for gulls, fulmars, kittiwakes, murres, red-throated loons, sandpipers, jaegers, ravens, and snow buntings.