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Also known as the Inuvik region, the Western Arctic covers the northwest corner of the Northwest Territories and Banks Island, encompassing the heart of the Mackenzie Delta, bordered by the Beaufort Sea, traversed by the mighty Mackenzie River. Access to the NWT’s most northerly region is by road via the Dempster Highway #8 through the Yukon or by air connections from Whitehorse, Yukon or Calgary, Edmonton and then Yellowknife. Communities include Inuvik, Fort McPherson, Tsiigehtchic, Aklavik, Tuktoyaktuk (Tuk), Paulatuk and Sachs Harbour.
The Inuvik region is a land of contrasts that include mountains, tundra, lakes, rivers, pingos and forests. Outdoor adventure includes camping, fishing, hiking, canoeing, rafting, nature watching and hunting.
Territorial parks are located at Tetlit Gwinkjiik Park, Gwich’in Territorial Park, Jak Territorial Park and Happy Valley Territorial Park.
Main attractions in the Inuvik region include the Dempster Highway, the world famous Igloo Church in Inuvik, Albert Johnson’s Grave in Aklavik, Tuktuk Nogait National Park near Paulatuk, Aulavik National Park on Banks Island and Pingos around Tuk. The landscape around Tuk is one of the most unusual in Canada. Vast areas of lake-strewn tundra create a terrain that would be monotonously flat but for the presence of hundreds of ice hills called “pingos” (from the Inuvialuktun word pingujjaluit meaning “the things which thrust upwards”).
Special events include: Inuvik’s Sunrise Festival, held on or about January 5, which celebrates the first sunrise after a month of darkness, carnivals that celebrate the arrival of spring in March such as the Mad Trapper in Aklavik, Kingalik Jamboree in Holman, Muskrat Jamboree in Inuvik, and the Beluga Jamboree in Tuktoyaktuk. Inuvik also celebrates the longest day of the year with Midnight Madness in June. Fort McPherson hosts their annual music festival, Midway Lake Festival in August and Inuvik hosts the annual Great Northern Arts Festival in July.