Gjoa Haven is located on the southeast part of King William Island, 300 kilometers above the Arctic. The physical geography of Gjoa-Haven and King William Island is very flat rolling hills, with sandy, dolomitic soil. Gjoa-Haven was established in the 1960’s by qabluunaq’s. This area of the central arctic is located on the Northwest Passage and is difficult to navigate by ship because of year round ice. When Knud Rasmussen travelled through the area in the 1940’s many Inuit had not seen a ‘kabloonaq’ or white man before.. When you travel by Ski-Doo, it is difficult to tell if you are travelling on frozen ocean, land, river or lake.Gjoa-Haven is a dry community which means you cannot bring any liquor into the community. Gjoa-Haven holds a plebiscite every 5 years to vote yes or no to Gjoa-Haven to be wet or dry yes for wet (to have alcohol in community) and no for dry (no alcohol).
There are two stores in Gjoa-Haven and a doughnut shop where you can buy munchies between 8pm and 11pm! There are two stores in Gjoa Haven. There is the Northern Store where there is a post office too and the Co-op where it is community owned. There is also a Hotel where you can stay if you come for work or just to visit that is the Roald Amundsen Hotel that is owned by the Co-op and is has about 30 -50 guest rooms. There is also a Health Center so if you don’t feel like yourself you can contact the health center and if it is after hours you can ask to speak to the nurse on call. Finally for sports you can go to the local gymnasium where they play sports like soccer, volley-ball, basketball, badminton, and floor hockey. If you want to get in shape you can go to the Gideon Memorial Community center to get some exercise from the bow-flex, weights or just to stretch around and do yoga ,also there are activities you can do to like ping pong, Inuit games, watch a movie or just to hang out. And there is an Arena if you want to play hockey, go public skate or just to watch hockey!
There is a lot of wildlife on the island but we mainly go for caribou, geese, and musk-ox. We go hunting by snowmobile, boat and outboard motor or ATV’s. As for the weather we have massive snow blizzards which the temperature with the wind-chill can reach minus 60 degrees Celsius and the winds can gust up to 90 km an hour.
This should be most of the things you should know about the little community of Gjoa-haven oh and our population is about 1500 to 2000 people which half of the community is under the age of 22.
Gjoa-Haven is a family oriented community. We help each other in any way possible, for example…When we have a “big catch” like a polar bear or musk-ox which we rarely get! We try to give some to the elders first and then the rest of the community. I was adopted to my grandparents. I grew up in a pretty traditional inuit way! No I dont live in an igloo, although we still keep many of our traditions. Im very proud to have been raised in the inuit culture. We can go out hunting anytime, anywhere we want to and get country food. Caribou, fish, and geese are very abundant on the land sometimes polar bear and musk-ox as well.We get to go out camping using snowmobile, noat and ATV’s. We dont get stuck in traffic jams or get speeding tickets. There is hardy any pollution , it quiet and peacefull (unless you have carvers trying to sell you carvings 😀 ). And you can go and tour the lands and oceans providing you have a guide, while touring you can hunt or fish if you have a license (which resident dont need). The way Gjoa Haven has made me the person who I am today is for sure being raised to be friendly and reach for my goals. As the elders pass on their knowledge of the inuit history down to generations we can pass it on to our grandchildren. It makes me happy to know that growing up in the north makes me connect to ther people easier although we are shy we are quite friendly and we seem to always have a smile on our faces! I love the north and its lands oceans and most of all the people! .For the bad part of living in the north is that you would have to fly out for medical attention also we have to wait for dentist to come in every three months. We have no bank branches so we takje alot longer to get a debit card or client card. We do have some resources but not alot we dont have a public library to go and study in quietness there are no places to shop for clothing (just the two stores which fashions are out of date). There are not alot of bad reasons to live up here so come and enjoy the scenery th efriend;y people and make some friends.