Please note that several NWT communities are still under evacuation alerts or orders due to the wildfire situation: see more information about the affected communities.
Don’t let its history as a peaceful fishing village fool you. Aklavik has always been a hub of the Western Arctic. Gwich'in and Inuvialuit traditionally gathered here to trade, and this community of some 600 people is still a diverse town. It’s home to Inuvialuit, Metis, Gwich'in and non-Indigenous cultures.
Close to the Richardson Mountains, Aklavik, which means “Barrenground Grizzly Place,” rests on the western flank of the Mackenzie Delta, just 1.6 degrees above the Arctic Circle. For much of the 20th century, this was a major centre of the Arctic. It was home to 1,600 people and featured two hospitals, schools, a bakery, churches, trading posts, a sawmill and a theatre.
Unfortunately, Aklavik was prone to flooding and NWT administrators recommended moving all residents and businesses in 1958 to a new modern northern town, dubbed Inuvik. But many locals refused to leave their ancestral land, earning the town’s motto, “Never say die.”
Visitors to Aklavik can take part in the Trapper’s Rendezvous over Easter weekend, or check out some history with a visit to the grave of the Mad Trapper himself.
Aklavik can be reached all year by air, or via the winter road from Inuvik.