Cape Dorset Island (Nunavut, Arctic Canada)

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Arctic - Antarctica


64.23225 N, -76.54448 W

  Port Map

Dorset Island (aka Cape Dorset Island) is located in Hudson Strait (Nunavut, Arctic Canada), off the Foxe Peninsula (southwest Baffin Island). Dorset Island is serviced by the Cape Dorset airport and has a harbour located on the northern shore. Within 10 km (6 ml) from Dorset there are several other isles, the largest of which are Mallik (to the northwest), Okolli (to the southwest) and Sakkiak (southeast of Okolli). Mallik Island (to the north) is joined to Dorset by sand and large boulders. 

  • The island has population of around 1,500, a total area of 143,5 km2 (55,4 ml2), length of 6,4 km (4 ml), width of 3,2 km (2 ml) and highest elevation point (Kingnait Hill, in the northwest) 208 m (682 ft).
  • Cape Dorset island was named in September 1631 by Captain Luke Foxe (1586-1635) to honor his benefactor Edward Sackville (Lord Chamberlain of the Household, and 4th Earl of Dorset).
  • Cape Dorset harbour is a natural harbour waterway formed by the Mallik's southeastern and Dorset's northwestern coasts. This anchorage area may have heavy wind conditions and often fogs during navigation season (early August - mid-October). Ice break-up occurs in July, freeze-up - in November. Ice thickness in the winter is over 1 m (3 ft).
  • In 1913, the Hudson's Bay Company established on Dorset a trading post. The island also had a Roman Catholic mission in the period 1938-1960.
  • Current-day Islanders and Inuit people - descendants of the Thule people (refered to as tuniit).
  • Cape Dorset is an Inuit hamlet (aka Kingnait). The settlement is located approx 11,6 km (7,2 ml) north of the same-named mountain cape. Local Inuit people are well known for their craftsmanship, including carving and drawing.
  • The island's wildlife is represented by Arctic wolves, Arctic foxes, Arctic hare, polar bears, caribou (reindeer), seals and seasonally - beluga whales (in April and October). The list of birds includes Peregrine falcon, snowy owl, rock ptarmigan, ducks, also nesting blue gooses.
  • The islands Dorset and Mallik form the Mallikjuaq Territorial Park, notable for its Inuit archaeological sites and the Dorset culture dating back as far as 3000 years ago, The park is reachable from Cape Dorset town (by foot at low tide) and also by boat.

Cape Dorset Island cruise terminal

Cruise ships to Dorset Island dock (anchor) at Cape Dorset - port town on the northern coast, located at Cape Dorset harbour.

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