David Nanook and the Wrottsley River Valley, Boothia Peninsula, 1975

Images of the Canadian Arctic
1974-1976by Don H. Meredith

In 1974, after completing my field and course work for my Ph.D in Zoology at the University of Alberta, I took employment with Renewable Resources Consulting Services Ltd., to join a team of biologists studying the distribution and behavior of caribou and muskoxen in relation to the building of a proposed gas pipeline (Polar Gas Project*) in the High Arctic of Canada.

That first year, we mainly flew aerial surveys to determine the distributions of the two species. The surveys were based out of Resolute (Qausuittuq) on Cornwallis Island in the High Arctic Archipelago. We also set out some camps to investigate caribou habitat.

In 1975, I spent six weeks in a camp on the Boothia Peninsula to determine the migration patterns and movement to calving areas for Peary caribou. David Nanook, an Inuk from Spence Bay (Taloyoak), was my assistant. I learned many things from David about the Arctic, the culture of his people, and how to live and survive in this unforgiving environment.

[*The Polar Gas Pipeline was to run from Canada's High Arctic to Montreal and markets south. With the discovery of cheaper gas in the south, the project was abandoned.]

The summer of 1976 found me once again in the Arctic, this time working for another biological consulting firm, LGL Limited, in relation to protecting a research camp from marauding polar bears. Enroute to the camp, I spent some time with LGL's marine biology crew and visited the graves of the first casualties of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition (1845-48).

The following are just some of the images from those summers. They were scanned from 35 mm film slides:

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