Baker Lake, 1995
|Electoral district||Baker Lake|
|• Type||Hamlet Council|
|• Mayor||Richard Aksawnee|
|• MLAs||Simeon Mikkungwak|
|• Total||182.22 km2 (70.36 sq mi)|
|• Population Centre||1.57 km2 (0.61 sq mi)|
|Elevation||18 m (59 ft)|
|• Density||11/km2 (29/sq mi)|
|• Population centre||1,690|
|• Population centre density||1,100/km2 (2,800/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC−06:00 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−05:00 (CDT)|
|Canadian Postal code|
Baker Lake (Inuktitut syllabics: ᖃᒪᓂᑦᑐᐊᖅ 'big lake joined by a river at both ends', Inuktitut: Qamani'tuaq 'where the river widens') is a hamlet in the Kivalliq Region, in Nunavut on mainland Canada. Located 320 km (200 mi) inland from Hudson Bay, it is near the nation's geographical centre, and is notable for being the Canadian Arctic's sole inland community. The hamlet is located at the mouth of the Thelon River on the shore of Baker Lake. The community was given its English name in 1761 from Captain William Christopher who named it after Sir William Baker, the 11th Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company.
In 1916, the Hudson's Bay Company established a trading post at Baker Lake, followed by Anglican missionaries in 1927. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police had been in the area for fifteen years before establishing a post at Baker Lake in 1930. In 1946 the population was 32, of which 25 were Inuit. A small hospital was built in 1957, followed by a regional school the next year.
In 1979 the plaintiffs, the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Association and the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITK) in Hamlet of Baker Lake v. Minister of Indian Affairs, took the Canadian federal government to court for giving exploration licenses to mining companies in areas where the Inuit hunt caribou. Judge Mahoney of the Federal Court of Canada, recognized the existence of Aboriginal Title in Nunavut.:653The plaintiffs, which included the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITK) were concerned that "government-licensed exploration companies were interfering with their aboriginal rights, specifically, their right to hunt caribou.":653
In the 2016 Census, Statistics Canada reported that Baker Lake had a population of 2,069 living in 580 of its 667 total dwellings, a 10.5% increase from its 2011 Census population of 1,872. With a land area of 182.22 km2 (70.36 sq mi), it had a population density of 11.4/km2 (29.4/sq mi) in 2016.
Baker Lake is home to eleven Inuit groups:
- Ahiarmiut/Ihalmiut, originally from the north of Back River area, and from Ennadai Lake
- Akilinirmiut, originally from the Akiliniq Hills, Thelon River area of Beverly Lake, Dubawnt Lake, Aberdeen Lake
- Hanningajurmiut, originally from Garry Lake
- Harvaqtuurmiut, originally from the Kazan River area
- Hauniqturmiut, originally from Whale Cove's south, between Sandy Point and Arviat
- Iluilirmiut/Illuilirmiut, originally from Adelaide Peninsula (Iluilik), Chantrey Inlet area
- Kihlirnirmiut, originally from the Garry Lake area between Bathurst Inlet, Cambridge Bay
- Natsilingmiut, originally from Baker Lake area between Gjoa Haven, Taloyoak, Kugaaruk, Repulse Bay
- Padlermiut, originally from the Baker Lake to Arviat area
- Qaernermiut, originally from the lower Thelon River, Baker Lake, Chesterfield Inlet, Corbett Inlet areas, between Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove
- Utkuhiksalingmiut, originally from the Back River and Gjoa Haven/Wager Bay area
Many of the town's residents work in the nearby mines. Much of the local infrastructure and logistics-related employment is based around aiding mineral exploration and mining efforts in the wider area. The main source of employment and growth in this sector is Canadian-based mining company Agnico Eagle Mines, who in 2010 began work at their Meadowbank mine site located 86 km (53 mi) north of Baker Lake. The construction of the mine employed over 1,000 workers, over 30% of them were locals from the general area of the Kivalliq Region. Along with employing local people, the company helped build cellphone towers to get the community connected to Northwestel's cellphone service. The coming of workers from all across Canada also helped developing tourism in this community. There is also potential for a uranium mine, called the Kiggavik Project, which is being proposed by AREVA Resources Canada.
Baker Lake features a subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification: Dfc) which is very close to a polar climate (Köppen ET); with short, cool summers and long, severely cold winters. Winters run from October/November until April/May with temperatures averaging between −21 and −25 °C (−6 and −13 °F). In contrast to Fairbanks, Alaska on a similar parallel, May is a subfreezing month and June is chilly considering the perpetual daylight.
Summers are usually cool, short and rainy; but can be hot and sometimes humid; with a record high of 33.6 °C or 92.5 °F. Under the Nordenskjöld formula for determining polar vs. non-polar climates, however, Baker Lake's climate is polar because with a coldest-month mean of −31.3 °C (−24.3 °F), the warmest-month mean would need be above 12.1 °C (53.8 °F) to keep Baker Lake out of the polar category, and Baker Lake's warmest-month mean is only 11.6 °C (52.9 °F) and the lack of trees at Baker Lake vindicate this judgement.
|Climate data for Baker Lake Airport|
|Record high humidex||−2||−4.7||1.2||4.1||13.5||30.5||37.8||33.4||26.1||9.5||1.7||1.0||37.8|
|Record high °C (°F)||−1.7
|Average high °C (°F)||−27.7
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−31.3
|Average low °C (°F)||−34.8
|Record low °C (°F)||−50.6
|Record low wind chill||−71.5||−70.5||−66.1||−58.5||−42.3||−23.5||−5.8||−10.2||−23||−46.9||−59.2||−64||−71.5|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||6.2
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||0.0
|Average snowfall cm (inches)||7.4
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm)||5.5||6.6||7.4||7.2||7.5||7.6||9.5||12.2||12.9||12.9||9.6||8.1||107.0|
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm)||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.1||2.3||6.8||9.4||12.2||10.4||2.4||0.0||0.0||43.8|
|Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm)||5.8||6.8||7.8||7.3||6.1||1.5||0.0||0.2||4.1||11.6||10.3||8.4||70.0|
|Average relative humidity (%)||65.1||64.1||66.8||75.4||81.4||67.4||58.8||65.3||73.7||83.3||74.1||67.6||70.2|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||29.8||97.6||178.4||233.7||194.0||284.2||327.0||199.6||90.1||54.2||43.8||16.1||1,748.3|
|Percent possible sunshine||17.7||41.0||49.2||51.7||33.9||45.2||53.5||39.2||22.9||17.8||22.3||12.0||33.9|
|Source: Environment Canada Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010|
Arts and culture
Baker Lake is known for its Inuit art, such as wallhangings, basalt stone sculptures and stonecut prints. The community has been home to internationally exhibited artists such as Matthew Agigaaq, Elizabeth Angrnaqquaq, Luke Anguhadluq, Barnabus Arnasungaaq, David Ikutaq, Toona Iquliq, Janet Nungnik, Jessie Oonark, Ruth Qaulluaryuk, Irene Avaalaaqiaq Tiktaalaaq, Simon Tookoome, Marion Tuu'luq, and Marie Kuunnuaq.
The Jessie Oonark Arts and Crafts Centre, which opened in 1992, is a work area for the communities artists. It provides space for carving, print making, sewing and jewellery making. It is also home to Jessie Oonark Crafts Ltd. a subsidiary of the Nunavut Development Corporation, a Government of Nunavut crown corporation.
The settlement is served by Baker Lake Airport, linking it to the nearby coastal town of Rankin Inlet, about 35 minutes away by air. Calm Air serves the town with at least two flights daily. Every day there are connecting flights to Winnipeg.
As in every community in Nunavut, the roads are unpaved and do not connect with any other community in the territory.
The community has been served by the Qiniq network since 2005. Qiniq is a fixed wireless service to homes and businesses, connecting to the outside world via a satellite backbone. The Qiniq network is designed and operated by SSI Micro. In 2017, the network was upgraded to 4G LTE technology, and 2G-GSM for mobile voice.
Baker Lake has a woman's shelter, health centre (Baker Lake Health Centre), dental clinic, heritage centre, visitor's centre, counselling centre, elders' centre, three hotels (Baker Lake Lodge, Iglu Hotel and Nunamiut Lodge), swimming pool, library, primary and secondary school (Rachel Arngnammaktiq Elementary School and Jonah Amitnaaq Secondary School), and youth centre.
There are three churches in the community, Anglican (St. Aidan's), Catholic (St. Paul's) and Glad Tidings.
- "NunatsiaqOnline 2013-12-03: NEWS: Nunavummiut vie for council positions in upcoming hamlet elections". Retrieved 26 October 2016.
- Results for the constituency of Baker Lake Archived 2013-11-13 at the Wayback Machine at Elections Nunavut
- "Statistics Canada: 2016 Census Profile". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
- "Census Profile, 2016 Census". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
- Elevation at airport. Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 16 July 2020 to 0901Z 10 September 2020.
- "Sandy Lunan, Hudson's Bay Co. Factor, baking his own bread, Baker Lake, Northwest Territories, 1946". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
- "Hbc Heritage – Heritage Home". Retrieved 26 October 2016.
- Baker Lake history
- Elliott, D. W. (1980). "Baker Lake and the Concept of Aboriginal Title". Osgoode Hall Law Journal. York University. 18 (4): 653–663.
- "NTEP-Baker-Lake – home". Retrieved 26 October 2016.
- "NunatsiaqOnline 2010-06-20: NEWS: Mine's alchemy turns Nunavut poverty into hope". Retrieved 26 October 2016.
- "Operations – Agnico Eagle Mines". Retrieved 26 October 2016.
- "AREVA Resources Canada – AREVA Group". Retrieved 26 October 2016.
- "Baker Lake A". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010. Environment Canada. Climate ID: 2300500. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
- Artists and artwork represented at Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Canada
- Heller, J.; Heller, N. G. (2013). North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century: A Biographical Dictionary. Routledge. ISBN 9781135638825.
- "Jessie Oonark Crafts Ltd". Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2010-01-16.
- "Nunavut Development Corporation". Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2010-01-16.
- Baker Lake Residents' Association, and Mary McCulloch. Baker Lake, N.W.T., 1870–1970. Baker Lake, N.W.T.: Baker Lake Residents' Association, 1971.
- Kardosh, Judy. Works on Cloth Imagery by Artists of Baker Lake, Nunavut. Vancouver: Marion Scott Gallery, 2002. ISBN 0921634366
- Klassen, R. A. Drift composition and glacial dispersal trains, Baker Lake area, District of Keewatin, northwest territories. Ottawa: Geological Survey of Canada, 1995. ISBN 0660160870
- Krebs, Charles J. The Lemming Cycle at Baker Lake, Northwest Territories, During 1959–62. 1964.
- Miller, A. R. Uranium Geology of the Eastern Baker Lake Basin, District of Keewatin, Northwest Territories. [Ottawa]: Energy, Mines, and Resources Canada, 1980. ISBN 0660107074
- Renewable Resources Consulting Services. Study of the Effects of Resource Exploration and Development on Hunting and Trapping on the Traditional Economy of the Inuit in the Baker Lake Area. Edmonton: Renewable Resources Consulting Services, 1977.
- Baker Lake Official Website
- GN Info Packages - Nunavut Communities.pdf Baker Lake at the Government of Nunavut
- Video wiki where elders share Baker Lake's oral history
- Historical photos of Baker Lake
- Encyclopedia Canada: "Inuit Printmaking: Baker Lake"
- Agnico–Eagle Mines Ltd., Meadowbank Site Overview