Dorset Island

Dorset Island
Dorset Island

Dorset Island's Kinngait Hill and the hamlet of Cape Dorset, 1997
Dorset Island is located in Canada
Location in Canada
Location Hudson Strait
Coordinates 64°12′N 76°32′W / 64.20°N 76.53°W / 64.20; -76.53 (Dorset Island)Coordinates: 64°12′N 76°32′W / 64.20°N 76.53°W / 64.20; -76.53 (Dorset Island)
Archipelago Canadian Arctic Archipelago
Highest point Cape Dorset, 243 m (797 ft)
Territory  Nunavut
Region Qikiqtaaluk
Population 1,236[1] (as of 2006 census)
Ethnic groups Inuit

Dorset Island is one of the Canadian Arctic islands located in Hudson Strait, Nunavut, Canada. It lies off the Foxe Peninsula area of southwestern Baffin Island in the Qikiqtaaluk Region.[2] It is serviced by an airport and a harbour.[3]

The island was named after the statesman Edward Sackville, 4th Earl of Dorset.[4]



The island is 4 mi (6.4 km) long and 2 mi (3.2 km) wide, with its highest elevation 220 m (720 ft) above sea level.[5]

On the southern end of Dorset Island, at an elevation of 243 m (797 ft) above sea level, the mountain, Cape Dorset, projects into the Hudson Strait. It is part of the Kingnait Range (Kingnait, in Inuktitut, means "high mountains").[2][5] The cape represents the southern tip of the Foxe Peninsula. On September 24, 1631, Captain Luke Foxe named the landform "Cape Dorset" to honor his benefactor, Lord Chamberlain, Edward Sackville, 4th Earl of Dorset.[4]

Kingnait Hill, at 208 m (682 ft) high, is located on the island's north-west side. The shorter Eegatuak Hill is located 0.7 mi (1.1 km) north of the cape, on its eastern side, rising 99 m (325 ft) above sea level, and exhibiting a distinctive bowl-shape surmounted by a cairn.[3][5]

Mallik Island, directly to the north, is joined to Dorset Island by sand and boulders. A natural harbour exists in the peninsula formed by the southeast side of Mallik Island and the northwest side of Dorset Island with prevailing northwesterly winds at 10 to 15 knots, stronger in September and October. The anchorage may have heavy swell conditions and there is frequest fog during the navigation season of early August through mid-October. Ice break-up is around mid-July, and freeze-up occurs in early November. Winter ice thickness can be up to 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in).[5]

There are several other islands within 10 km, including Okolli Island and Sakkiak Island.[3]


In 1913, a trading post was established on the island by the Hudson's Bay Company. A Roman Catholic mission was located on Dorset Island during the period of 1938 to 1960.[6]

The first discovery of the remains of Dorset culture was on Dorset Island.[7] An ancient Paleo-Eskimo people, they flourished in this area for about 2,000 years, during the period of 1000 BC through 1100 AD. Present-day Dorset Islanders, Inuit who descend from the later Thule culture, refer to Dorset culture people as tuniit in their legends.[2]


Across from Mallik Island, on the northern side of Dorset Island is located the Inuit hamlet of Cape Dorset (also named Kingnait). It is approximately 7.2 mi (11.6 km) north of the mountain cape bearing the same name. Because the people of this community are known for their artisanship, including drawing, printmaking, and carving, the community of Cape Dorset is commonly referred to as the "Inuit art capital".[8]


The island and its surrounds are frequented by Arctic wolves, polar bears, and Arctic fox,[9] as well as caribou and Arctic hare. Seals appear regularly, as do beluga whale during their migration through by the island in October and April.[6]

Peregrine falcons, snowy owls, ptarmigan and ducks abound.[6] Ornithologists consider the island's cape a major entry way to the nesting area of the Blue Goose. In 1929, it was the departure point for naturalist Dr. J. Dewey Soper in his quest for locate the Blue Goose's Foxe Basin nest area.[2]

Mallikjuaq Territorial Park spans both Dorset Island and Mallik Island. Notable for its Thule culture, Dorset culture, and Inuit archaeological sites that date back as far as 3,000 years ago, it is reachable by foot from Cape Dorset at low tide, or by boat.[10]


  1. ^ 2006 census
  2. ^ a b c d "CAPE DORSET: Kingnait". Qikiqtani Inuit Association. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  3. ^ a b c "Dorset Island". Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  4. ^ a b Room, Adrian (1989). Dictionary of World Place Names Derived from British Names. Taylor & Francis. pp. 46. ISBN 0415028116. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Sector13.HudsonStrait". National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. pp. 14–15. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  6. ^ a b c "CAPE DORSET". Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  7. ^ "Cape Dorset (Kingnait) – ‘mountains’". Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  8. ^ "Cape Dorset News". Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  9. ^ "WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS IN TOWN". Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  10. ^ "Features". 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dorset Island — Sp Dòrseto salà Ap Dorset Island L Hadsono sąs., prie Bafino s., Kanada (Nunavutas) …   Pasaulio vietovardžiai. Internetinė duomenų bazė

  • Dorset Land District — Dorset Tasmania Location in Tasmania Lands administrative divisions around Dors …   Wikipedia

  • Dorset — Wappen Geografische Lage in England Geografie Status: Zeremonielle und Verwaltungsgrafschaft Region …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Dorset, Ontario — Dorset Dorset is a small community located on the boundary between the Lake of Bays Municipality in Muskoka District and the Algonquin Highlands Township in Haliburton County, Ontario, Canada. Dorset was originally called Cedar Narrows. In 1859… …   Wikipedia

  • Dorset-Kultur — Qulliq – zur Feier der Errichtung des Territoriums Nunavut am 1. April 1999 entzündet Demonstration von …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Dorset (Kultur) — Qulliq – zur Feier der Errichtung des Territoriums Nunavut am 1. April 1999 entzündet Demonstration von …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Dorset — For other uses, see Dorset (disambiguation). Dorset …   Wikipedia

  • Dorset culture — This article is about Pre Inuit culture in Arctic North America. For culture in the English county of Dorset, see Culture of Dorset, England. Remains of a Dorset stone longhouse in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut The Dorset culture (also called the Dorset …   Wikipedia

  • Dorset — Para otros usos de este término, véase Dorset (desambiguación). Dorset Condado del Reino Un …   Wikipedia Español

  • Dorset culture — ▪ archaeology Greenlandic  Kalaallit Nunaat        prehistoric culture of Greenland and the Canadian eastern Arctic as far south as present day Newfoundland. It existed from approximately 800 BC to AD 1300. Its name comes from excavations made at …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”