Visit the icy retreat of Cape Dorset in northern Canada for an unforgettable experience of the native Inuit culture and way of life. This charming hamlet on the north side of Dorset Island is known as the Capital of Inuit Art, and offers plenty of opportunity to get a feel for the rugged beauty of Canada's vast northern reaches.
There's more to this small community than first meets the eye – whether you're looking for an eyeful of the local art and culture, or want to learn more about the native wildlife that thrives here, even despite the cold seas, snow fields and barren plains.
Read More Mallikjuaq Historical Park
Walk the Arctic tundra of Mallikjuaq Island to get a true feel for the natural beauty it has to offer. Alongside the bright bolts of colour created by the area's wild flowers in the summer, the area's avian wildlife thrives, and native Inuit hunters have return here year after year for the natural bounty on offer. Hiking on Dorset Island will reveal beautiful lakes, serene ice formations and picturesque waterfalls, all nestling within the rocky expanse of this peaceful, secluded patch of the world.
West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative
The Inuit art of Cape Dorset is the best-known of its kind in the world, thanks in part to the reputations of artists like Pudlo Pudlat who once worked here and later went on to win international acclaim – Pudlat's prolific body of work has since found homes in many galleries across Canada. Here at the artistic co-operative, otherwise known simply as the Print Shop, you can find the artists creating their unique prints, carvings, illustrations and figurines in-situ at the studio and browse the adjoining gallery to see other completed works by local artisans.
Dog-sled and nature tours
Visitors to Cape Dorset in the summer may the chance to take a guided excursion around the bay and further afield, where they can find out all about the local wildlife which adapted to survive in the cold climate of the tundra. Pay a visit to island once the snow falls, however, and you might get the chance to see this frozen land as it should be seen – taking an exhilarating tour of the island by snowmobile or dog-sled.
Shopping in Cape Dorset
Art makes up a huge part of the local economy here, and you won't want to pass up the chance to take home some of the best examples of modern Inuit art and craft. Pieces include marble carvings as well as prints and illustrations on a wide range of subjects, from more traditional statuettes of Arctic wildlife like owls, deer, foxes and bears; to charming imagery of the Inuit people themselves, and unique artistic interpretations of their life in the 21st century.
Eating out in Cape Dorset
As a hamlet in the Arctic reaches, there are limited options when it comes to dining out – but with warm, locally-run businesses throughout town you can be sure of a truly memorable trip in the food stakes. There are a handful of inns and hotels where you can enjoy a good hot meal during your Arctic adventure, or pop into a local café-bakery for a quick snack and a cup of something warming and delicious.