Igloolik, meaning “place of houses” in Inuktitut, is a small town located in Nunavut’s Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin) Region, on a small island in Foxe Basin just off of the Melville Peninsula. It is just north of the community of Hall Beach, at N69 23' W81 48'
The present community of Igloolik dates back to the late 1950’s and the federal government’s increased administrative interest in the Arctic. By the mid-1960’s a school, nursing station, and RCMP detachment were permanently established, as well as an Anglican Mission (1959) and the Igloolik Co-operative Ltd. (1963). The community was incorporated in 1976 .
Information about the area’s earliest inhabitants comes mainly from the numerous archaeological sites on the island, some dating back more than 4,000 years. Many Igloolik residents are descended from members of the Qidlarssuaq migration from Greenland in the 1800’s. First contact with Europeans came when the British Navy ships Fury and Hecla, under the command of Captain William Edward Parry, wintered in Igloolik in 1822.
The island was briefly visited in 1867 and 1868 by an American explorer, Charles Frances Hall, in his futile search for survivors of the lost Franklin Expedition.
In 1913, Alfred Tremblay, a French-Canadian prospector with Captain Joseph Bernier’s expedition to Pond Inlet, extended his mineral exploration overland to Igloolik, and in 1921, a member of Knud Rasmussen’s Fifth Thule Expedition visited the island. The first permanent presence of outsiders in Igloolik came after the establishment of a Roman Catholic Mission in the 1930’s. By the end of the decade, the Hudson’s Bay Company had also set up a post on the island.
As with other settlements in the eastern Arctic, Igloolik grew rapidly as Inuit families from surrounding camps moved into the community to access services offered by the government.
Igloolik is now home to two video production organizations: Igloolik Isuma Productions Inc., an independent company specializing in Inuit cultural programming and a local office of the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation. The film, Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner was filmed in Igloolik.