Arctic - Antarctica
-16 °F / -26 °C
Banks Island is the Canada's 5th largest and the world's 24th largest island. It is part of the Canada's Northwest Territories (Arctic Archipelago). The island has length of 380 km (236 ml), width of 290 km (180 ml), total area of 70028 km2 (27038 ml2) and population of around 150. The island is separated to the east from Victoria Island (Canada's 2nd largest) by the Prince of Wales Strait and to the south from mainland Canada by the Amundsen Gulf. Beaufort Sea is to the west. The M'Clure Strait (to the northeast) separates it from the islands Prince Patrick and Melville.
- Sachs Harbour (population around 100) is located on the southwestern coast General cargo and food supplies are brought to the village by barges (during summer months) and the whole year-round via flights from Inuvik (approx 325 ml / 523 km to southwest). Sachs Harbour is served by its own airport and is the island's only permanent settlement. It is named after the Mary Sachs ship (part of the 1913's Canadian Arctic Expedition).
- The town's economy is largely based on hunting (including trapping), also on ice fishing (Amundsen Gulf and Beaufort Sea) and partially on tourism (including cruise ship passengers).
- Having the North America's largest goose colony, the island helds every spring a goose hunting tournament.
- On Banks Island live 3/4 (over 68,000) of the world's musk-oxen population (a buffalo-like mammal living only in Arctic Canada and Greenland). Polar bears, barren-ground caribou and birds can also be seen on the island.
- The Aulavik National Park is on the island's north end. Its headquarters are in Sachs Harbour.
- The oil and natural gas industry in Beaufort Sea provides jobs for some of the town's residents.
- Banks Island is served by the Sachs Harbour Airport. Pilots have to bring their own pumps to require 100LL avgas (aviation gasoline / fuel).
The list of "Canada top 10" largest islands (world rank in brackets) includes: Baffin Island (5), Victoria Island (8), Ellesmere Island (10), Newfoundland (16), Banks Island (24), Devon Island (27), Axel Heiberg Island (32), Melville Island (33), Southampton Island (34) and Prince of Wales Island (40). All of them (excepting Newfoundland - in Newfoundland-Labrador) are located in the Nunavut- Northwest Territories of Arctic Canada.
Banks Island is among the landmarks along the Northwest Passage route.
Banks Island cruise terminal
Cruise ships to Banks Island dock (anchor) at Sachs Harbour - on the southeastern coast. Some ships may also stop at Jesse Bay (aka Jesse Harbour) on the island's northwestern coast. Jesse Harbour is located approx 175 km (110 ml) from Sachs Harbour.