Province/Territory: Nunavut

Shake off an Arctic Winter with a Spring Festival

  • 40 or more indoor and outdoor events
  • 60 percent of the city’s population are Inuit
  • 04 days of winter fun

Join the residents of Iqaluit as they shake off the cabin fever of a long winter during Toonik Tyme, an unpretentious, week-long community festival celebrating Arctic culture—old and new. Grab a puck and play pond hockey or strap on cross-country skis, harness yourself to a sled dog and join a “skijoring” race. Follow the sound of a rock band into a high school and find yourself in the middle of an Inuit jam session.

Kite-ski across frozen Frobisher Bay. Bait a line and go ice fishing. Play ice golf, hitting your fluorescent ball across the sea ice. Learn traditional Inuit string games and try your hand at carving a polar bear. Dance a jig to a fiery Northern fiddle and swallow your shyness to give throat singing a try. Savour a bowl of hot caribou stew or nibble muktuk (whale skin and blubber) at a community feast where you can listen to the elders’ storytelling and get them to teach you how to say ikkii (“it’s cold!” in Inuktitut).

Why you should visit
  • Dropping in with the crowds at the monthly “country food” market where fresh musk ox, caribou and Arctic char are sold.
  • Cheer on a snowmobile drag race across Frobisher Bay.
  • Watch polar bears emerge from block of ice during a sculpting competition.
  • Hear dogs yelp with enthusiasm during a dogsled race.
  • See Inuit carvers at work and buy a print or arts and crafts as one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
  • Bite into bannock bread warm from a skillet, garnish it with tundra blueberry jam and sip tea with Inuit hosts.

Weather

  • April days are already 16 hours long and often sunny with the daily maximum of -10°C, dropping to an average of -20°C at night.
  • Snow is not uncommon during any month of the year. Bring boots since April is one of Iqaluit’s snowiest months.
  • Discover local weather information. Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada's Canadian Climate Website.
Visitor information
  • Toonik Tyme takes place in Iqaluit every year.
  • Iqaluit has all the facilities of a provincial capital including banks, grocery stores, shops, a museum, and visitor's centre.
  • There are several hotels and B&B's in Iqaluit as well as restaurants, cafes and pubs.
When to go
Need to know
  • Wear comfortable boots and bring a warm and wind-proof parka, gloves, hat and layered clothing.
  • If you see a carving or piece of art you would like to buy, bartering is considered impolite; however, if you decline, the seller might drop the price.
  • Taxis operate on a flat rate system to take you anywhere in town – unless you head to the more distant community of Apex – and don’t be surprised if other passengers are picked up along your route. It’s a great way to get to know locals.
Getting Here
  • Nunavut’s communities are not connected to southern roads so it’s necessary to fly. Located minutes from the city which is located at the southern end of Baffin Island, Iqaluit International Airport (YFB) is easily accessible from Southern Canada.
  • The airport is only minutes by taxi or free hotel shuttle from downtown.
  • Iqaluit is small enough to walk around, otherwise plentiful taxis will take you where you want for a flat rate. The Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre also rents mountain bicycles.