It’s easy to spend a whole day walking around town, checking out the unique considerations involved in living above the Arctic Circle. Utilidors, for example, snake around town, linking businesses and houses and passing right through the middle of the schoolyard. These conduits contain water, heat, and sewerage pipelines and are raised above the ground to prevent problems associated with permafrost.
Inuvik’s most famous landmark is Our Lady of Victory Church, commonly known as the Igloo Church (174 Mackenzie Rd., 867/777-2236) for its distinctive shape. The church, on Mackenzie Road, is not always open; ask at the rectory for permission to enter. The interior is decorated with a series of paintings by Inuvialuit artist Mona Thrasher, depicting various religious scenes.
A few blocks to the east is the Aurora Research Institute (191 Mackenzie Rd., 867/777-3298, Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–5 p.m.), one of three support facilities for scientific projects throughout the Northwest Territories.
West along Mackenzie Road is Ingamo Hall, a three-story structure built with more than 1,000 logs. The best views of the delta are, naturally, from the air, but the next best thing is to climb the 20-meter (66-foot) observation tower in Jak Territorial Park, six kilometers (3.7 miles) south of downtown.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition