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Arctic Blast 2001

Education Curriculum & Lesson Plans

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Start: Churchill, Manitoba on the southern border of Nunavut, Canada

Finish: Grise Fiord, northernmost village of North America

Distance: 2500 + miles

Duration: February - May, 2001

Temperature: Somewhere between -60 and + 20 F

On February 12, 2001, team Arctic Blast and 20 polar huskies will depart from Arviat (Arq-viat), the most southern settlement in the new Canadian Territory of Nunavut. Via the magnetic North Pole the team should reach Grise Fiord (Gree-sa-fee-ORD), the northernmost inhabited village in North America, by the end of May. The distance traveled will be almost 2,500 miles, which is the same as pulling a sled from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles, California... or from Copenhagen, Denmark to Morocco in Africa!
The temperatures will hover between -60 and +20 F (- 50 and - 5 C). On Hudson Bay in February, the team will only have about 5 to 6 hours of daylight.  Day length will increase quickly as the team travels north and by the end in May enjoying 24 hour daylight in the Arctic midnight sun.

School Programs

The barren treeless terrain of the high arctic, features an abundance of ice-capped mountains and glacier-crowned fiords, offering some of the most spectacular scenery in the western hemisphere. Crossing through mountain passes, the team will most likely find themselves in waist deep snow, whereas on the sea they will be traversing pans of solid and broken ice, open leads, and pressure ridges.
The Arctic Blast 2001 explorers will venture into extremely remote areas, never before brought into the classrooms with such vivid detail.
  • Arviat
    The Southernmost settlement of Nunavut this historic village is still identified on most maps by its former name   Eskimo Point. An important trading post since the late 1600's, it was early on influenced by western culture and is today particularly proud of its traditional knowledge.
  • Whale Cove [Tikirarjuaq]
    Untouched, it's people are still traditionally connected to Nature - relying on subsistence living, following the rhythms of the seasons.
  • Rankin Inlet [Kangiqliniq]
    The gateway is the area west of Hudson Bay and regional center for the Kivalliq region with deep roots in mining. Sitting on the large inlet, it is known for severe wind storms forcing the team onto the tundra.
  • Baker lake [Qamanittuaq]
    At the geographical center of Canada, Baker Lake is Canada's only inland Inuit community.  It is the place of unique traditional living and historically very different from anywhere else in the Arctic. This is the last re-supply point for more than a month! The team will have to follow a sparse, ancient Inuit trail from here.
  • Taloyak [Spence Bay]
    Taloyak is in the heart of the Northwest passage and the most northern community of the Canadian mainland.  It is a small community largely sustained by the abundance of seal in the area, and the always nearby, polar bears. This section contains the  longest haul and most mountainous part of the trip and leads to the dreaded Lancaster Sound.
  • Lancaster Sound
    As the historic entrance to the Northwest Passage, it's shifting ice and open water is a startling challenge for the expedition.

    This area contains the high Arctic's greatest concentration of wildlife. Polar bears, walruses, ringed and bearded seals, thousands of beluga whales, hundreds of giant bowheads, and pods of rare narwhals sporting six foot long (2m) ivory tusks make it an arctic marine oasis like no where else on Earth.
  • Beechey Island
    This historic island is host to the mysterious remains of John Franklin's doomed 1845 expedition. One hundred and twenty nine men died at this spot.


  • Resolute [Qausuittuq]
    Home to major weather and research stations, it is the jumping off point for most North Pole-bound explorers.
  • The Magnetic North Pole
    The point from which the Earth's magnetic field radiates.  Conventional compasses can no longer function because of the strong magnetic force.

    From here, the team and their cutting edge communication equipment (Thrane & Thrane) will beam the first ever live transmission.  Classrooms around North America will have access to the broadcast.
  • Grise Fiord [Aujuittuuq]
    Our final destination!!!  Grise Fiord, population 104, is the northernmost village of North America.  It is nestled in a spectacular area of mountains, glaciers, and fiords and is one of the most scenic villages in all of the arctic.

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