Province/Territory: Northwest Territories

Arts, Music and Culture Under the Midnight Sun

  • 56 days of 24-hour daylight from late June to early August
  • 02 degrees above the Arctic Circle
  • 120 visual and performing artists under the Midnight Sun

Head north above the Arctic Circle to the town of Inuvik on the Mackenzie Delta in Canada’s Northwest Territories for a celebration of arts, music and culture during the Great Northern Arts Festival. For more than a quarter of a century this annual 10-day summer extravaganza has showcased the works of 120 Northern painters, sculptors, musicians and First Nations artists from across the country. Watch a Gwich'in woman create handmade Aboriginal dolls and see a polar bear emerge from a soapstone in the hands of a native carver. Buy a Northern original. Dance to Inuit hip-hop. Sign up for a workshop and make your own funky porcupine-quill earrings or moose-skin moccasins. Prowl Inuvik’s streets with its church that thinks it’s an igloo and the northernmost mosque in the world. Then dine surf-and-turf Arctic-style— char and caribou— before kicking up your heels to northern rock, throat singing and traditional drumming under the midnight sun in your brand new mukluks.

Why you should visit
  • Watch artists at work and hear about their experiences creating a vast and varied array of arts and crafts from across Northern Canada.
  • Mingle with talented, often little-known Canadian musicians and enjoy their tunes.
  • Learn to weave your own basket at one of many workshops.
  • Dance under the Midnight Sun.
  • Dine on caribou burgers and musk ox stew.
  • Visit a church shaped like an igloo, Our Lady Of Victory Church.

Weather

  • Inuvik is in the Canadian Arctic so be prepared for a wide range of weather conditions that can change quickly.
  • Summer weather varies from intense, 24 hour warm sun conditions to foggy, windy, cool days with possible rain showers, sleet, even snow.
  • The average daily maximum during summer months is 14°C, but temperatures ranging as high as 20°C or down to -3°C are not uncommon.
  • Precipitation is light - less than 150mm per year (6 inches) - mostly falling as rain or snow during spring and summer.
  • Discover local weather information. Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada's Canadian Climate Website.
Visitor information
When to go
  • The festival takes place every year for 10 days in mid-July.
  • Even if you miss the festival, Inuvik is a year-round hub of musicians, artists and art shops to browse with works from across the North including world class Nunavut arts and crafts.
Need to know
  • Wear comfortable boots and bring a warm and wind-proof jacket, gloves, hat and layered clothing.
  • There is no public transport, but taxis are plentiful and the town is compact enough for walking.
  • Bring sun screen and insect repellent.
  • If you see a carving or piece of art you like and would like to buy, try not to barter as it is considered impolite; if you decline, the seller might drop the price.
Getting Here
  • Inuvik Airport (YEV) is the arrival point for regular flights to and from Whitehorse, Yukon, and Yellowknife.
  • In summer there are flights directly from Germany to the Yukon that connect to Inuvik.
  • The Dempster Highway runs from Dawson City in the Yukon territory to Inuvik, an epic road trip across the Arctic Circle. Though a remote gravel road, it is well monitored to make it safe.