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ABOUT KIMMIRUT

Kimmirut was chosen as the site of an Anglican Church in 1909 and the Hudson’s Bay Company set up a trading post here in 1911. The previously uninhabited site is now home to about 425 people, of which approximately 91 per cent are Inuit. However, nearby visitors may find archaeological evidence of habitation by earlier Dorset people.

Formerly known as Lake Harbour, the hamlet of Kimmirut prides itself on its warm, friendly people and traditional indigenous Inuit culture and way of life. Kimmirut, which means “a heel” in Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit, is named after a geological feature resembling a heel located across the Inlet opposite the community.

Many of Kimmirut’s residents participate in subsistence harvesting, hunting caribou, seal, fish, whale, walrus and migratory birds. The hamlet also fosters a vibrant arts and crafts community, which includes carvers and jewellers who incorporate local gem stones in their work.

Tourism is an important part of Kimmirut’s economy as well, with cruise ships visiting in the summer, and numerous eco-tourism opportunities for the more adventurous traveller throughout the year. While visiting Kimmirut you'll see some of the most incredible tides in the world, reaching 11 meters in the summer months. In the winter, when the bay is frozen, you'll notice dramatic ice walls during low tide.

Many nomadic Inuit families took up permanent residence here during the 1950s and 1960s and the community remains a relatively traditional one with many still participating in subsistence harvesting and traditional arts and crafts activities. Buildings from this early era, including the first RCMP post (1915), the Hudson’s Bay buildings and the Anglican Church are still standing and make for an interesting walking tour.

An outdoor enthusiast’s playground, Kimmirut is also the southern gateway to the Katannilik Territorial Park Reserve, which takes in the whole of the Soper Heritage River watershed. Canoeists, kayakers, rafters and hikers can take advantage of the Soper Valley’s temperate climate and experience the area’s abundant plant and animal life. Visits to the Katannilik Park Visitors Centre and Soper House Gallery – named for government scientist and artist Dewey Soper who built the house in the 1930s – are musts for anyone touring the community.

Kimmirut is named for a marble outcrop located opposite the community and many unusual minerals and gemstones have been discovered on nearby marble hills. Precious and semi-precious gems such as sapphire, spinel, scapolite, tourmaline, iolite, apatite, zircon, moonstone, garnet, diopside, pargasite and lapis lazuli have been discovered here. The geological setting of Southern Baffin Island, where Kimmirut is located, is analogous to productive gem mineral occurrences created by the collision of India with Asia (eg. Afghanistan, Myanmar and Vietnam).