Resolute | The Canadian Encyclopedia



Resolute, Nunavut, incorporated as a hamlet in 1987, population 198 (2021 census), 183 (2016 census). The Hamlet of Resolute is located on the south coast of Cornwallis Island in the Arctic Archipelago, near the middle of the Northwest Passage. It is the second most northern community in both Nunavut and Canada and is far enough North that the sun never sets in the winter.


The area around Resolute has seen human habitation dating back to 1500 BC, with the Pre-Dorset (“Saqqaq”) people and later the Dorset (“Tuniit”) and Early Inuit people.

In 1947, Canada and the United States built a High Arctic Weather Station and airstrip at Resolute. A Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) base was built in 1949.

Modern Inuit habitation of the area only started around 1953, following the High Arctic relocation of many Inuit people (see Inuit High Arctic Relocations in Canada). During the Cold War (see Canada and the Cold War), in an attempt to assert strategic sovereignty in the High Arctic, the Canadian Government relocated several Inuit families from Northern Quebec to various locations in the High Arctic. In 1955, more Inuit families were relocated to Resolute from Pond Inlet. These Inuit families were promised improved living conditions and plentiful wildlife. They discovered upon arriving that this was not the case. Though they were told they could return home within a few years, this turned out to be misleading, and many families who were initially relocated to Resolute continue to live there today.

Present Day

Today, Resolute has one of the best High Arctic airports, thus serving as a starting point for many expeditions heading for the North Pole.

Resolute is also known for wildlife like seals, walruses, polar bears, migratory nesting birds and beluga whales.

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