Sachs Harbour

Sachs Harbour

Ikaahuk – “Place to which you cross”

Population: 128

Our northernmost community, this tiny Inuvialuit settlement is the only outpost on Banks Island, Canada’s fifth largest. The island is home to more than half the world’s muskoxen, plus Aulavik National Park, the epic Thomsen River, bird sanctuaries, the famed HMS Investigator shipwreck, and, possibly, a few “pizzlies” – hybrid polar bear/grizzlies like the one that was identified here in 2006. Access is by air from Inuvik.

Location: 71°59′ N, 125°15′ W
Elevation: 86 metres
Population: 135
Named for: The Mary Sachs, a vessel in explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson’s Canadian Arctic Expedition of 1913
Traditional name: Ikaahuk
Setting: On the treeless southwestern coast of Banks Island in the High Arctic
Record high/low: 26.0°C / -52.2°C
Languages: Inuvialuktun, English
Ethnicities: Inuvialuit
Getting here: By air from Inuvik
Founded in: This is the ancestral territory of the Inuvialuit. Sachs Harbour's roots as a permanent settlement date to 1929, when three Inuit families from the Mackenzie Delta sailed here to harvest valuable pelts form the area's flourishing white fox population. An RCMP post opened here in 1953
Claim to fame: The world’s first confirmed “grolar bear” – a grizzly/polar bear hybrid – was killed here in 2006
Best expedition: To nearby Aulavik National Park, home to the Thomsen River, the northernmost commercially guided river in the world
Don’t miss: Seeing muskoxen. Banks Island is home to three-quarters of the world’s muskox population


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