“Looks like a caribou”
Our biggest town above the treeline, “Tuk” juts boldly into the Arctic Ocean. Over the years it has served as a base for Inuvialuit caribou and beluga hunting, a DEW Line radar site, and a centre of oil and gas exploration. Today it welcomes visitors, who tour the nearby “pingo” hills, sample traditional foods (like muktuk!), and, of course, cool their heels in the chilly sea. Access is by air and a new all-weather highway to Inuvik which opened in November, 2017.
Elevation: 5 metres
Name means: “It looks like a caribou”
Setting: On a low peninsula jutting into Kugmallit Bay, part of the Arctic Ocean, at the eastern tip of the Mackenzie River Delta
Former name: Port Brabant
Languages: Inuvialuktun, English
Getting there: By air or all-season road from Inuvik
Founded In: 1928, when a Hudson Bay Company post was constructed here, attracting large numbers of Inuvialuit
Claims to fame: First Indigenous community in Canada to official revert to its traditional name (in 1950); inspiration for the popular “Tuk U” novelty t-shirt
Visit for: Beluga Jamboree (mid-April); Pingo Music Festival (mid-August); dipping your toe in the Arctic Ocean
Best daytrip: To the top of nearby 49-metre-high Ibyuk Pingo, the second-tallest pingo in the world, which grows two centimetres per year
Best expedition: Polar bear or caribou sporthunting with an Inuvialuit outfitter; boating with a local guide to the commercial whaling ghost town of Herschel Island
Historic highlight: Site of the 1995 Molson Ice Polar Beach Party, featuring bands like Metallica and Hole
Notable local: Nellie Cournoyea, first female premier of a Canadian province or territory
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