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Reindeer in herds that darken the horizon. Lonesome mountains clad in red and yellow. Canada's greatest river delta, where the Mackenzie explodes into a thousand tendrils. High Arctic islands, tramped by muskoxen and encircled by whales. And proud peoples – the Gwich'in and Inuvialuit – following lifeways both timeless and new.
Weird and wonderful, the pingos of the Arctic coast are among the North’s best-loved attractions. Engorged by ice, these lofty domes swell from the shores of the Beaufort Sea, towering over the tundra. The second-highest pingo on Earth, 49-metre-high Ibyuk, is just on the outskirts of Tuktoyaktuk.
Possibly the North’s most iconic, most photographed structure, the Our Lady of Victory church in downtown Inuvik is a bleach-white cylinder capped by a silvery dome, imitating the Inuvialuit snow-houses of old. The inside features paintings by local artist Mona Thrasher.
Driving the Dempster is pretty any time of year, but at the end of August it becomes a roadtrip through a day-glo wonderland. The tundra of the Richardson Range ignites with scorching reds and luminous yellows – a sweeping autumn kaleidoscope, transfixing to behold.
Where the North’s greatest river crowds toward the sea, it splinters into a skein of woods and waters – a labyrinthine estuary, supporting all manner of fish, fowl, whales, bears and caribou. This is also one of the North’s richest human landscapes, bustling with an ancient cultural tapestry. Tours are available from Inuvik and other Delta communities.
One of Canada's most remote national parks, Tuktut Nogait lies on the flanks of the Northwest Passage, protecting the calving grounds of Barrenlands caribou, along with Arctic char, wolves and a high density of raptors. The park is famous for the Hornaday River and its signature cascade, 23-metre-high La Roncière Falls.