Kuujjuaq, Quebec Canada

Discover Kuujjuaq, Quebec: A Historical and Touristic Overview

Kuujjuaq, Quebec, formerly known as Fort Chimo, is a historical gem nestled at the mouth of the Koksoak River on Ungava Bay. This former Hudson's Bay Company outpost has evolved into the largest northern village in the Nunavik region of Quebec, Canada. As of the 2021 census, it boasts a population of 2,668 and serves as the administrative capital of the Kativik Regional Government.

The Evolution of Kuujjuaq, Quebec's Name

Kuujjuaq, pronounced [kuːtjuɑq] in Inuktitut, translates to "Great River". The village was initially founded as Fort Good Hope in 1830, but the name was changed to Fort Chimo in 1831. This change was inspired by the Inuit language word saimuuq, meaning "Let's shake hands", a common greeting locals used with the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) fur traders. The name was officially changed to Kuujjuaq on 5 February 1980, reflecting the Inuit name for the Koksoak River. The village has also been informally known as Koksoak and Washgagen.

A Glimpse into the History of Kuujjuaq, Quebec

The first Europeans to interact with the local Inuit were missionaries from the Moravian Church who arrived on August 25, 1811. The Hudson's Bay Company established a permanent station on the east shore of the Koksoak River in 1830, attracting trade from the Inuit of the surrounding territory. The fort was closed in 1843 and did not reopen until 1866.

During the Second World War, the United States Army Air Forces established the Crystal 1 weather station and an airfield in the area. The Canadian government took over the base in 1944 and 1945, establishing Naval Radio Station Chimo as part of the Canadian Supplementary Radio Activities (SUPRAD) system in 1948. The site was eventually adapted as the Kuujjuaq Airport, which now includes a Nav Canada air-traffic control facility.

The Geography of Kuujjuaq, Quebec

Kuujjuaq lies 48 km upstream from Ungava Bay. The community has a close relationship with the river, which regularly changes the local landscape and strongly influences traditional summer activities. The boreal forest is present around Kuujjuaq, with patches of black spruce and larch standing in marshy valleys. The village also witnesses annual migrations of the George River caribou herd.

The Climate of Kuujjuaq, Quebec

Kuujjuaq has a cold subarctic climate, with temperate summers and cold winters. The Hudson Bay to its west freezes in November, eliminating maritime moderation from westerlies and subjecting Kuujjuaq to severely cold winds. The influence of the Labrador Current contributes to a sizeable snow tally for a climate that cold. Kuujjuaq has been affected by global warming in recent decades, similar to other Arctic locations.

Demographics of Kuujjuaq, Quebec

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Kuujjuaq had a population of 2,668 living in 973 of its 1,253 total private dwellings, a change of -3.1% from its 2016 population of 2,754. With a land area of 289.97 km2, it had a population density of 9.2/km2 in 2021.

Transportation in Kuujjuaq, Quebec

Kuujjuaq is the transportation hub of the entire Nunavik region, with ocean access and two runways at the Kuujjuaq Airport. The Avataq cargo ship delivers cargo once a year, and a new beach port has been built north of the town. There are no roads to outside the region, but there have been proposals to build a road link from the south, linking to the Trans-Taïga Road and providing access to Schefferville.