About Baker Lake

Baker Lake (or Qamani’tuuq), is situated inland at the huge, widening at the mouth of the Thelon River, in Nunavut’s Kivalliq Region. At 64.3 N 96.08 W, it is near the geographical centre of Canada.

Until the mid-1950s, most Inuit still lived on the land in areas surrounding Baker Lake. The Utkuhiksalingmiut came from the Back River; the Hanningajurmiut from the Garry Lake area; the Akilinirmiut from the Thelon River area around Beverly Lake; the Qairnirmiut from the lower Thelon River, Baker Lake and Chesterfield Inlet; and the Harvaqtuurmiut from the Kazan River area. These groups and other in land groups, share a history of life lived almost exclusively inland. They all relied on the resources of the barren lands, mainly caribou and fish.

A nursing station (or health centre) was built in 1956 and a federal school was established in 1957. At that time Inuit began to settle in Baker Lake in order that children could attend school and also as a result of some years of starvation due to a change in caribou migration patterns. In 1962, houses were built by the Department of Northern Affairs and Natural Resources. Although some Inuit families were still on the land in the 1960s eventually all those in the area moved into the town.

Total Population: 2,096