Paulatuk, Northwest Territories Canada

Discover Paulatuk, Northwest Territories: A Historical and Touristic Overview

Paulatuk, a hamlet nestled in the Inuvik Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada, is a place of rich history and vibrant culture. Located adjacent to Darnley Bay, in the Amundsen Gulf, Paulatuk is a community that has been inhabited since roughly 1000 CE. The hamlet's name, Paulatuuq, translates to "place of coal" in Siglitun, a nod to the coal discovered in the area in the 1920s.

The Historical Journey of Paulatuk, Northwest Territories

The area has been home to various human civilizations, including the Thule and Copper Inuit. In recent times, it has become part of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. Paulatuk was officially incorporated as a hamlet in 1987 and celebrated the 50th anniversary of its settlement in 2015.

Demographics of Paulatuk, Northwest Territories

According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Paulatuk had a population of 298 living in 81 of its 100 total private dwellings. This marked a 12.5% increase from its 2016 population of 265. With a land area of 63.58 km2 (24.55 sq mi), it had a population density of 4.7/km2 (12.1/sq mi) in 2021. The 2016 census listed 235 people as Indigenous, all of whom were Inuit (Inuvialuit). The two principal languages spoken in Paulatuk are Inuinnaqtun (Inuvialuktun) and English.

Community Life in Paulatuk, Northwest Territories

European settlement in Paulatuk began with the opening of a Roman Catholic Church trading post. In the 1950s, a Distant Early Warning Line site was built about 95 km (59 mi) to the northwest at Cape Parry, on the Parry Peninsula, providing a wage-based income for the community. Today, the local store is part of The North West Company. Hunting, fishing, and trapping are major economic activities, but in recent years, art printmaking has played an increasing role in the local economy. The Smoking Hills, located about 105 km (65 mi) west on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, are a scientifically interesting object, as they are diminishing the pH value of the water areas. Tuktut Nogait National Park is located to the east of the community, and Parks Canada maintains an office in the community.

Services in Paulatuk, Northwest Territories

Paulatuk is serviced by a two-member Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment and a health centre with two nurses. Phone services are provided by Northwestel, with Internet by SSI Micro and their AirWare service. The community is part of the Beaufort Delta Education Council, and schooling is available up to Grade 12 at the Angik School. There is also a community learning centre operated by Aurora College. The community is not accessible by road, but there is an airport, Paulatuk (Nora Aliqatchialuk Ruben) Airport, and flights into the community are provided by Aklak Air from Inuvik three times a week. In the summer, floatplanes can use the Paulatuk Water Aerodrome, and an annual sealift is provided by Northern Transportation Company Limited from Hay River.

Climate of Paulatuk, Northwest Territories

Paulatuk experiences a subarctic climate (Dfc), narrowly avoiding being a tundra climate (ET) due to July having an average temperature above 10 °C (50 °F). Rainfall is in limited amounts and confined to the months of June - September because all other months don't have an average temperature above freezing, which would be warm enough for rain.