Banks Island is Canada's 5th largest and the world's 24th largest island. It is part of Canada's Northwest Territories (Arctic Archipelago). The island has length 380 km (236 mi), width 290 km (180 mi), total area 70028 km2 (27038 mi2) and population under 200. The island is separated into 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. The 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 mi / 523 km to the 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 (the Amundsen Gulf and the Beaufort Sea) and partially on tourism (including cruise ship passengers).
Having North America's largest goose colony, the island held 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.
Aulavik National Park is on the island's north end. Its headquarters are in Sachs Harbour. Banks Island is served by the Sachs Harbour Airport. Pilots have to bring their own pumps to require 100LL avgas (aviation gasoline/fuel). The oil and natural gas industry in the Beaufort Sea provides jobs for some of the town's residents.
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 mi) from Sachs Harbour.