SO COOL: Flying To The Canadian Arctic Is Easier Than I Thought

Filed Under: Travel

This all comes as a huge surprise to me. While I knew Canada is a great country with beautiful, varied landscape, I never realized how much commercial service there is to the Canadian Arctic, and that you can even score a great deal on these flights by redeeming miles.

A couple of years ago I had the chance to travel to Svalbard on the island of Longyearbyen, which is the world’s northernmost city. It was one of the most memorable places I’ve ever visited, and the 24 hours of daylight there in summer screwed with my mind (though I’ll certainly take it over the 24 hours of darkness that they have in winter).

Most of the Canadian Arctic is sparsely populated, and if I’m being honest, the extent of my knowledge of it up until this point was what I saw on airshows when taking transatlantic flights.

Resolute Bay? Yeah, I’ve actually heard of that, but never in a million years dreamed that it would be (sort of) easy and cheap to visit. While I knew about Canadian North Airlines and First Air (which have the slogans “Seriously Northern” and “Fly The Arctic”), I didn’t realize just how extensive their route networks were in Northern Canada.

For example, take a look at Canadian North’s routemap:

And here’s First Air’s routemap:

I am so fascinated. For example, last year Iqaluit Airport opened a new terminal, and this news report on it is awesome on many levels:

What do I notice?

  • While it’s totally logical that they refer to the rest of Canada as “the South,” as someone who has spent my entire life in warm climates, that’s hard for me to come to terms with
  • I love the things that they’re highlighting about the new terminal — “you can breath, and there’s fresh air, and you can walk and not bump into anyone or trip over anyone”

The catch is that flights to the Canadian Arctic are really expensive. Want to fly a simple roundtrip from Ottawa to Iqaluit? The cheapest fare is 1,340USD.

Or want to fly from Ottawa to Resolute Bay, which appears to be the Northernmost airport that either of these airlines fly to? That will cost you 5,635USD.

Yes, those are the lowest fares, and that’s insanity. In fairness, I imagine most locals get major discounts on flights and that’s just the price for the public since these are probably considered “essential” flights, but for most of us, that’s what flights will cost.

That brings me to what’s awesome, and what I wasn’t aware of — you can actually redeem Aeroplan miles on both Canadian North and First Air, and the prices are very reasonable. Best I can tell, pricing is the same as any of Aeroplan’s other partners, so a simple ticket within the lower 48 US and Canada will cost you just 12,500 miles one-way.

You can apparently even include the Air Canada segments to Ottawa on the same award. The catch is that these awards have to be booked by phone with Aeroplan, and award space can be tough to come by.

Now, in some cases the above may not be bookable on a single award, due to award availability, or due to long stopovers, but in general you should be able to go as far as you want for 12,500 miles, if flight schedules line up.

I’m probably going to spend way too many hours researching this, but before I do, has anyone been to the Canadian Arctic? Is there a destination that’s most worth visiting, and I assume that generally summer is the time to go, rather than winter? It looks like Resolute Bay gets 24 hours of daylight in summer, and 24 hours of darkness in winter.

I’d love some feedback on this, and then I’ll spend some time on the phone with Aeroplan to get all the details about booking these flights. While I hope to actually spend time in one or multiple of these destinations, I even just want to take one of these flights as an aviation geek.

Iqaluit actually seems to have some decent hotels, while Resolute Bay seems to have more limited options.

This is soooooo interesting to me, so someone please enlighten me!

(Featured image courtesy of Quintin Soloviev)

Comments
  1. Always wanted to go up there, and I knew you could redeem Aeroplan miles for it – just never got down to the specifics. Please Ben, please do all the research and I will follow your next post on the exact steps of how to book this – and that will be golden!

  2. Flew Canadian North from Edmonton to Yellowknife in economy a few years ago. Fantastic service and was fed a full dinner in economy. Remember having a delicious, warm bread pudding for dessert!

  3. You forgot Air North, Yukon’s airline! It offers the most service and connections to Yukon. There’s also Air Inuit which services Northern Quebec. As far as I understand it, the reason for the extensive route network and the bread and butter of Air North, First Air and Canadian North’s business models is actually cargo. There’s no highway network for most of those communities in Canada’s Northern territories so they rely on airplanes bringing in everything.

  4. The Yukon is gorgeous, though also the least “exotic” of the options. I suppose flying Ottawa-Yellowknife-Whitehorse would make for an interesting trip report, though (or maybe wait until WestJet Premium debuts and fly them to YEG, then Yellowknife-Whitehorse on First Air). Whitehorse also has a fair number of hotels and tourist facilities as a major stop on the Alaska Highway.

    The only other place I’m somewhat familiar with in that part of the world is Churchill, Manitoba. It’s actually a fairly popular tourist destination for spotting polar bears in Hudson Bay.

  5. A couple of notes, none of these northern Canadian airlines have a business class. Also Canadian North and Air North have announced a merger. Not sure how that will affect their frequent flyer programs.

  6. I used Aeroplan miles to fly from Ottawa to Iqaluit last August. It was only 15K one round trip per person, but it took a while for the space to open up (I used expertflyer to track award space). I ended up having to book my own flight to Ottawa from Philly because there was no award connecting flights available on the dates to Iqaluit.

    I found Iqaluit to be extremely interesting and it ignited some interest in visiting other places in the Canadian Arctic. The Inuit History and Art museum in Iqaluit is really cool and it’s a great place to buy locally produced Inuit art which I really came to enjoy.

    Some other highlights:

    1. Kayak tour through Inukpak outfitters in the neighboring town of Apex (walkable from Iqaluit). It was August but there were huuuuge icebergs in the bay and it was awesome to explore them and even have lunch on top of an iceberg.
    2. Seeing/hearing the sled dogs all throughout town as they become a bit feral during the summer.
    3. Taking pictures of stop signs in Inuktituk and hearing the language from the locals.
    4. Most of the buildings don’t have windows because it’s so cold and dark there half of the year. The airport looks like a snow globe.

    There is no need for a rental car as you can walk every road in the area within an hour. Taxis are a flat rate anywhere you need to go and you can just say the number of a house and they will know it.

    In terms of tourism, the area is more of a winter destination because of sledding and northern lights, but summer was pretty interesting. The population in Iqaluit is a lot of Canadian govt. workers and social services coordinators, and you can kind of get the sense there is a lot of poverty there and even homelessness. ‘Traditional’ food and cultural activities are not easily accessible but if you spend more time there you should find something.

    Highly recommend going especially if you can get that award space!

  7. Although not quite “north”, I would suggest a trip to Churchill during the polar bear season.

  8. Air Canada flies from Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories and they also fly from Vancouver to Whitehorse in the Yukon. I found that award space on Air Canada’s own flights are much easier to come by compared to Canadian North. While I have never been up there I have always wanted to and almost booked a trip to Whitehorse. From my research in my opinion I think the most interesting of the territories is the Yukon. Besides Ottawa, a lot of the northern airlines also fly often to Edmonton as its the closest major city to the north, so I would assume award space would be better from there.

  9. “While it’s totally logical that they refer to the rest of Canada as “the South,” as someone who has spent my entire life in warm climates, that’s hard for me to come to terms with.”

    Huh? You don’t have a concept of North and south because you grew up somewhere warm? I don’t get it!

  10. Anyone know why they fly to/from Ottawa but not Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver? Seems like if they were going to pick a “southern” city to fly to, it would be one of those or all of them.

  11. @Alex: Lots of the travel is government travel. YOW is the capital city so they are linking the Canadian capital with the territorial capital. If you need to add on the flight to YYZ/YOW, that is simple and easy to do. 4N flies YXY-YVR and AC also operates seasonal YZF-YVR, so YVR is linked quite well.

  12. ““While it’s totally logical that they refer to the rest of Canada as “the South,” as someone who has spent my entire life in warm climates, that’s hard for me to come to terms with.”

    “Huh? You don’t have a concept of North and south because you grew up somewhere warm? I don’t get it!”

    Then let me explain it to you. As someone who grew up in warm places, (Fla etc) the idea of a winter in Toronto (average Jan high being 31, and average Jan low of 20) being “the South” is hard to comprehend. 🙂

  13. @Lucky:

    I am born, raised, and live in Canada and I have never heard anyone refer to it as “Arctic Canada” before. The title of your post “Canadian Arctic” sounds much more normal.

    I have flown 4N from YYC-YEG-YXY return YXY-YYC. Whitehorse is beautiful and I am actually looking at going back and even heading up to YDA this time.

    I have also flown the YOW-YFB-YRT-YZF-YEG-YYC ‘over-the-top’ route on 5T (back then 5T also served YYC). That was a cool trip. The YRT airport is awesome to visit and I bought one of their famous ‘Rankin Inlet, Nunavut – So expensive I could only afford half a cup’ coffee mugs in the airport shop. Unfortunately my full day in Yelllowknife was a little lackluster due to the weather. Well, I guess I will just have to go back! Next on my list is going down the Nahanni River starting at Virginia Falls. So I would fly into YFS.

    Another dream trip is to head out to YHK and get out on the open tundra. I actually joined the YHK facebook page for some ideas and may go next spring.

    Finally, my friend and I would also love to visit Auyuittuq National Park.

    The only issue we have is getting time off from work (lol) as some of these destinations are very seasonal. Also, it will be interesting to see if Aeroplan still partners with 5T and 7F once they split from Air Canada in 2020.

  14. Spent about 6 weeks in Pond Inlet & Iqaluit ten years ago. Pond Inlet, in particular, is breathtakingly beautiful and I highly recommend it.

    Most of the planes that fly from YOW to Iqaluit are 737 combis (at least back then that was the case). But the inflight meals were really memorable and probably the best I have been served on a domestic flight.

  15. Robert Hanson – Hmmmmm, I know Florida doesn’t have the best reputation for intelligence but that’s somewhat concerning…

  16. I am surprised. You actually want to fly somewhere where every REAL avgeek wants to fly….it isn’t odd as ANA, Etihad, Swiss, American or Qatar business…thumbs up for your real avgeek adventure! Go get it!

  17. I second all the other commenters who say you should go for it! Blog about it so the rest of us can make the trip too. (After which, have you considered checking out the other side of the globe and going really, really far south to Antarctica?)

  18. @Callum
    Do you not understand simple humor. Just saying that they view the south of Canada as the warm place and we view Canada as the North cold place.

    Lucky was just having a little fun in his statement. Irony.

    JEEEZ some of you guys take everything so literal.

  19. Tom – I didn’t fully grasp the joke no, as “the south” is also the warm area of the US, and if you go further south than Florida it does indeed get warmer. If the point was people who live in hot places think a warm place is cooler but people who live in cold places think a warm place is warmer – HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!

    Why you think I have a major issue with this I have no idea. Do you only comment on matters of great importance? It was just a meaningless aside… I can assure you that this phrase has not ruined my entire day!

  20. @Callum

    Yes I get it. No harm meant South is of course warmer in Canada or US. I know Lucky just worded it poorly in making his observation. But I still sort of knew what he meant.

    Sort of a Yogi Berra quote

  21. Lucky this is so awesome! I’ve been looking at doing a tour with a company called Arctic Kingdom Expeditions. As you can imagine, they are expensive, and the flights are expensive, so I never imagined I could use points. Learning about this option makes this trip feasible – it will be the dream of a lifetime to see narwhals and polar bears!

  22. Excellent tip Lucky about using Aeroplan points to explore Canada’s Far North!

    Pond Inlet at the northern tip of Baffin Island is especially intriguing. It overlooks Eclipse Sound and the mountains of Bylot Island, a migratory bird sanctuary. This small, predominately Inuit hamlet of about 1,600 persons is picturesque — it is located near scenic fiords, inlets, glaciers, ice caves and drifting icebergs plus Canada’s Sirmilik National Park and the Tamaarvik Territorial Park. Pond Inlet is a also a great place to see large pods of narwal.

    Dress warm. Today’s high temperature in the community was 4 C (39 F). The record low is -54 C (-65 F).

  23. @lucky I can give you a quick run-down, I was up in Iqaluit last year for a week, and I’ll be going back up for 2 weeks at the end of September.

    Most of the flights are from Ottawa because of government, for instance they actually fly up specialists on rotation to provide medical care, etc. As Iqaluit is the capital of Nunavut, it makes sense to link them. re: prices, yeah, beneficiaries of the land claims accord do get some discounts but they’re not nearly as big as I thought they’d be, like 10-20%. From what I heard last time, people there actually do what you suggest, and redeem their Aeroplan miles.

    All fresh produce has to be shipped up by plane, and all dry stuff gets shipped up by boat once a quarter. People fly down to Ottawa a few times a year, go to Costco, fill up crates and ship them up to themselves.

    Redemption is a bit harder than it may appear.
    7F – First Air – class ‘X’ is not searchable on ExpertFlyer and Aeroplan doesn’t even have direct inventory access so they have to long-sell, which they definitely do for you but expect quite a wait.
    5T – Canadian North- class ‘W’ is searchable on ExpertFlyer but Aeroplan has access to one less seat than shown, so it would need to show W2 or higher to book 1 seat.

    On the plus side you can combine it with other Air Canada flights (but not Star Alliance).

  24. Anyone know if the Winnipeg – Churchill route is operated by First Air or Calm Air or if they are eligible to redeem with miles? Keep seeing contradicting info? Would like to see the polar bears.

  25. I flew from Phoenix to Seattle to Edmonton, spent the night, then on to Yellow Knife then Resolute. I was participating in a NASA expedition on Devon Island. We stayed in Resolute a few days at the Canadian polar operations base there, before flying by Twin Otter to Devon Island to land on a river bed. I remember the commercial flight to Resolute, they flew a modified 737 (I think), with the front half of the plane cargo and the back half passengers, only one class of service. The plane was also modified to land on a dirt runway. Air Canada I think. The food was awesome and so was dessert. Then the stewardess came around with a bottle of cognac and was pouring drinks for folks. Super fun!

  26. The rail line between Gilliam and Churchill has not yet reopened. Since there are no roads into Churchill, the primary way to get there is by air.

    There are two options to reach Churchill by air. First is to travel from Winnipeg to Thompson by VIA train and overnight in Thompson. Then fly the next day from Thompson to Churchill with Calm Air. The second option is to fly direct from Winnipeg to Churchill with either Calm Air or FirstAir. Calm Air has added additional freight flights to ensure that locals and tourists are stocked with food and supplies despite the rail closure.

    BTW, the prime viewing time for polar bears in Churchill is October and November. That is when the bears move from their summer habitat on the tundra to hunt seals on the pack ice that forms every winter on Hudson Bay.

  27. I suggest you fly on the 737 and the prop of whatever airline you choose. I’ve heard good things about Air North and First Air, haven’t heard much about Canadian North. It would be really cool to see a review of the 737-200 with one of these airlines, as they are some of the last in service.

  28. Jeez, I’ve been trying to talk SO (who is Quebecois) to take a trip to see Labrador (probably on a cruise of some sort) and I can’t even get that far. Can’t imagine if I suggest we go THAT far north. Can’t wait to share this article!

  29. Unfortunately these flights have been on my bucket list for years but now with Lucky telling the “world” whatever limited availability there was for reward flights has probably evaporated.

    One of the ‘hidden expenses’ is the cost of accommodations on arrival. Obviously no Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Expresses. The prices tend to be equivalent to some high end warm beach resorts which was a bit of a deterrent.

    I guess we should be booking now for 2019.

  30. You can also do the same and visit the Arctic in the US. Alaska has daily service to Barrow (above 71 degrees north latitude) which is well into the Arctic. I’ve gone in the summer and in the winter. One and two day trips with room, meals and tours are available in the spring and it cost me about $500 per person including everything. Just the flight cost me about $300 each in the winter. You can go from Anchorage or Fairbanks and it is a wonderful place to visit. I even have pictures of myself laying on the Arctic ocean in July.

  31. Going to YYQ for belugas and polar bears next week. Only 7.5k Aeroplan miles each way from YWG. Grise Fjord airport (YGZ) is actually north of Resolute, and because I left Resolute one time to fly there, I missed the chance to hop on a C141 to Alert, the most northerly permanent airbase anywhere! The Canadian AF guys who had routed through Resolute said “Why weren’t you there on the way up? We totally would have brought you!” Of course the Resolute airport staff had neglected to mention the military flight when I was chatting them up about how far north could I go…

  32. Are airports in Canada better designed than in US for eg transiting and connecting? And are immigration officers more civilized and educated?
    I might consider a trip.

  33. @Ben/Lucky

    On behalf of First Air, thank you for your interest!
    Canada’s Arctic is definitely one of Canada’s best kept travel secrets. If you need any assistance in booking your trip or information on Aeroplan routes, please feel free to contact our reservations department at 1-800-267-1247.

    Our Route network is the most extensive in the Arctic. People tend to forget that by destinations served we at First Air are the third largest Airline in Canada.

    Iqaluit’s new airport (which opened this past fall) is the perfect gateway to experience the Arctic!

    A few answers to some of the questions:

    As a clarification, @Justin mentioned that Air North and Canadian North announced a merger, in fact it’s us (First Air) and Canadian North that recently announced a merger. He wonderred what that would mean for the frequent flyer programs, We will continue to have Aeroplan as a supported program and we will continue the Aurora Rewards program currently under Canadian North.

    Another poster asked how come we don’t fly to Toronto, Montreal etc.. In fact we do fly to Montreal from Iqaluit and Kuujjuaq. Ottawa as has been mentioned has always been the Arctic connection hub!

    Our fleet consists of Boeing 737-400 in either full passenger or in combi configurations. (these are the aircraft that takes you North from Ottawa or Montreal) From there we fly ATR42-500 and -300 to the communities. Our Jet service includes warm meals and our very own warm cookies and “special” Northern coffee (Coffee with Irish Liqueur)

    As suggestions for Destinations:

    Pond Inlet as has already been mentioned is absolutely stunning as are: Pangnirtung, Clyde River, Arctic Bay and Qikiqtarjuaq (all of which follow the eastern shore of Baffin Island) The Eastern shore of Baffin Island is home to some amazing mountain ranges including Mount Thor the world’s highest vertical drop! But really we could list all of our destinations in our network as each offer a unique taste of the Canadian Arctic!

    Thank you for your interest and the research you’ve already done!

    Fly the Arctic

    First Air

  34. Calm Air is bookable using Aeroplan miles. You have to call Calm Air directly and provide your Aeroplan information, and then they separately contact Aeroplan to finalize the booking. It took about a day for me to get Winnipeg to Churchill ticketed (7.5K Aeroplan miles each way).

    As far as I could determine at the time of booking, these flights are not combinable with Air Canada flights on a single award.

    First Air flights, however, can be combined with Air Canada and you can take advantage of a free stopover. For instance: USA – Ottawa (Air Canada only) – Iqaluit (stop) – Resolute Bay and back is bookable for 25K Aeroplan miles.

  35. Also of interest to everyone on the forum here. We currently have a 2X miles reward promotion. If you Book by July 31st and travel before September 15th, you will earn 2X miles. (you must register for the promotion prior to booking your flight.

    details can be found here:

    https://firstair.ca/aeroplan/

    Fly the Arctic

  36. so it’s been decided then? the best redemption is Air Canada from SYD to Resolute Bay? and who do you transfer points to and from? lots of research. glad you’ll have answers soon. looking forward.

  37. Do the Demster Highway! 700 km of gravel road and one hotel and gas bar in the middle! Best to rent a SUV 4×4 in case you get a flat tire!

    Also best to visit mid to end of august when the mosquitoes wont eat you alive!

  38. @Lucky
    A bit OT, what are your thoughts about environmental problems connected to flying? Since you fly more in a year than a “normal” person would do in a lifetime? Do you ever think about this? For example these ‘exotic’ places in north Canada won’t stay like that if we continue in the same way as today. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts about the subject.

  39. There is an error in the opening of your article. The village of Longyearbyen is on the island of Svalbard, not the other way around!

  40. It is extremely dangerous to travel in the Arctic. Polar bears attack at will. Frostbite awaits even the tiniest sliver of exposed skin. Eskimos pounce and try to nose kiss every stranger.

  41. I traveled there in 2016 with some colleagues. We actually found our several private flyers charter and/or rent out their props to fly into the area. That’s what we ended up doing for a significantly lower cost.

  42. To clarify, by “there” in my previous post, I was referring to Resolute Bay, Inuvik, and the surrounding locale at both bases.

  43. The Winnipeg to Churchill route on Calm Air is a sweet spot among many. I flew there last November for a week of polar bear spotting. Cost was just for 7,500 Aeroplan miles each way. You have to plan way ahead to nab capacity-controlled seats during the limited peak seasons.

    These routes are why we collect Aeroplan miles. Remote destinations have always called me and Aeroplan is the only currency that works in the Far North, except for cash.

  44. Hi Ben, reading your post I remembered a TV programme I saw a while ago. ‘Ice Pilots’ (in the unlikely case you do not know it) is a real-life series about Buffalo Airways, located in Yellowknife. Although I am sure they do not participate in any miles programme, it might still be interesting for any av geek as they still operate a DC-3 on a regular flight.
    For more recommendations for Yellowknife in particular:
    http://m.spiegel.de/reise/fernweh/yellowknife-in-kanada-fuenf-tipps-fuer-kaelte-fans-a-1074509.html

  45. I traveled to Resolute Bay in the early 90’s, flying out of Montreal.

    The first attempt was unsuccessful due to weather conditions. At the time, flights would land on the permafrost and there was no radar. We made it up to Iqualuit before second leg of the flight was canceled due to weather conditions.

    Word amongst the passengers was that, legally, the airline either had to get us to the terminus of the route or return us to the point of origin. What commenced was a game of liars poker, where the airline offered us inducements like hotel and meal vouchers to return to Montreal, but only if we took the bait for Montreal. Of course, when we touched down in Montreal, all that was forgotten.

    I had been videotaping the highlights of promises kept, promises broken and promises reconsidered. Video shaming is a valuable tool for navigating the modern age.

    ———————————

    The second flight was the charm. I landed in Resolute in the middle of August. I stayed for a few days at a BnB run by this indian guy (subcontinent) and his canadian wife. There was a fairly steady turnover of guests. It had a very international vibe.

    If you weren’t expeditioning (hunting, kayaking, ATV or snowmobiling) there wasn’t much to do. You needed a license to bring in beer. And whiteout was now being sold from behind the counter because the local kids had started huffing it.

    The B&B owner conducted a van tour of the town that consisted of a trip out to a Thule polar bear trap, a trip to the wreckage of a crashed B-29, a pass by of some radio dishes/radars run by the Canadian government. Overall, a circuit of maybe 10-15 miles.

    It was on the way back to the BnB that I witnessed the most sublimely absurd expression of western tourism in my life:

    The driver of the van spotted a solitary lemming skittering across the fresh snow. He stopped the van, which disgorged all the passengers, mostly Sierra Club types in spiffy Northface, hungry for a wildlife candid. They had traveled so far and had not seen any real wildlife. This was their last chance for a “money shot” to complete the travelogue. Basically, they were were descending on the lemming for a group hug.

    I’m not sure the lemming saw it that way. From the lemmings perspective, it appeared like eight to 10 people were trying to kill it and eat it. It dodged and weaved, darting and pivoting like a ball in a pachinko machine. The lemming eventually eluded its pursuers, darting around a snowy knoll.

    The rest of the time was spent walking around the very compact village or interacting with the other guests at the BnB.

    That included 3 random guys from the Benelux countries slagging germans for being so arrogant . “Alles is besser in Deutchland”

    A mopey grad student conducting a study of reasons for Arctic tourism who couldn’t wrap her head around the notion that someone could travel to Resolute Bay as a goof. You had to have “serious”motivations.

    Some guy from New Hampshire who insisted on calling everyone “flat-landers” because he grew up in a state with a few hills.

  46. @Charles Valey: Flights to Alert on Royal Canadian Air Force are very difficult to get, unless you are on an official mission. I have excellent contacts to them and they made several amazing things available to me – but not a trip to Alert (so far).

    I understand that they are severely capacity constraint on these flights, due to essential staff and supplies. Also, anyone not belonging to the station staff has to fly back on the same plane. And finally, you also need security clearance (which I did have when I tried to get there).

  47. Of course you will do much research before your trip, but a few tidbits –

    Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, Svalbard has the feel of a well mannered town on the frontier. There are fine restaurants and nice places to stay. If you are looking for similar, then Yellowknife, Whitehorse and Dawson fit the bill. Those places are very different from most Arctic communities in Nunavut. While Iqaluit has a population of almost 7000, most of the places mentioned above are closer to 1000. Just 200 people reside in Resolute. The communities are isolated, with no road access. Accommodations can be basic but expensive, and meal choices can be limited. (Make sure you try the Muktuk, which is whale or seal blubber). The scenery can be stunning and the people wonderful, but you need flexibility. Stuff happens, shipments get delayed and planes are cancelled due to weather.

  48. I visited Yellowknife, Resolite and Cambridge in August 2015. Our first attempt to get from Yellowknife to Resolute was waved off on approach due to fog and we had to ditch to Cambridge. On our second attempt, a few days later, we actually sat in Yellowknife for hours waiting on a weather window to attempt another landing at Resolite. We got lucky and made it in. Yellowknife is a jumping off point for quite a bit of outdoor adventure. Resolute is incredibly sparse. The locals carry rifles around town in case of polar bears. There was (wonderfully) a lot of ice in the harbor when I was there. I must admit, 737s on gravel runways are cool. From Resolute, I jumped aboard a NatGeo vessel for a few weeks as we made our way up to the 79th parallel and then down to St. John.

  49. Thanks for using my photo!

    I’m actualy from New York, but I found a relatively good price on a round trip ticket to Iqaluit and back! I’m a trip reporter myself, so I made a video on them 🙂

  50. Visiting Iqaluit was a trip of a lifetime! Hearing the safety briefing in English, French and Inuk was a sign I was in for an adventure. There was a huge snowstorm (September 2017) and First Air cancelled, but luckily I booked on Canadian North which made it through, but with the caveat that passengers were on the hook should they decide to turn back to Ottawa. The people of Iqaluit are friendly and the Northern Lights displays are so huge you can’t get them all in one photo (I took 360 video instead). Definitely book lodging as soon as you can. The Frobisher and Discovery hotels are often booked since the Arctic Hotel was turned into student residences. But a new hotel is being built. I walked to Apex to see the Hudson’s Bay fur trading post. HB is the oldest chain in North America (and are still in Canadian shopping malls to this day). I was only there for 3 days, and it was still weird to see trees again as we touched down in Ottawa. Everything in Iqaluit is expensive, except The Storehouse bar and restaurant in the Frobisher Hotel. Not only are the prices reasonable, but they served perhaps the best pizza I’ve ever eaten. You can rent a car but there is no need as everything is so walkable. Note all the pipes are above ground because of the permafrost. A very fascinating place and not to be missed. I look forward to your trip report!

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