Nunavut's capital, Iqaluit (ee-kal-oo-eet), feels like a different country. All the signs are in Inuktitut and you'll hear it widely spoken in the street. This, scruffy, dusty, colorful Arctic town, with its spectacular natural setting around the bay and its moon-base buildings, houses a fascinating mixture of Inuit professionals, politicians and dropouts, Johnny-come-latelies from around Canada (and beyond) drawn by high salaries from government and construction jobs, enormous SUVs with elaborately courteous drivers limited by a few short kilometers of road, and barking dogs contesting territory with huge bossy ravens. It's surprisingly cosmopolitan, a good introduction to the region, and has good places to stay and eat, as well as some wilderness-lite to explore on the outskirts of town.


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