Kuujjuuaq (formerly Fort Chimo) is in the Nunavik region of Northern Quebec. It is the largest community in Nunavik, with a total population of 2,754 (2016 census). "Kuujjuaq" means "great river" in the Inuktitut language. After the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, a dam reduced the river’s flow.
Kuujjuaq is located on the west shore of the Koksoak River, about 50 km upstream from Ungava Bay, in the boreal forest. Black spruce and larch grow in the marshy valleys around the village. The annual migrations of the George River caribou herd pass through the region throughout August and September.
Inuktitut is commonly used, and many older people speak only that language. About 90% of the population is Inuit; anyone who is not Inuit is Qallunaat.
The village's hospital serves the population of Ungava Bay. The village has hotels, restaurants, stores, arts and crafts shops and a CIBC bank with 24-hour ATM.
Around 1830, the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) started the fur trade business in Nunavik by establishing a post on the east shore of the Koksoak River, about 5 km downstream from the present-day settlement. Inuit, Montagnais and Naskapi people came to trade at the post.
In 1942, a U.S. Air Force base (Crystal 1) was built on the west shore of the Koksoak River, where Kuujjuaq is now. The American presence between 1941 and 1945 sped up the development of the community. After the end of World War II, the United States turned the base over to the Canadian government. In 1948, a Catholic mission was established, followed by a nursing station, a school and a weather station. When the HBC moved upstream closer to the airstrips in 1958, it was followed by the remaining families that still lived across the river at Fort Chimo. In 1961, a co-operative was created.
In summer, expect bright sunshine, wind, rain and perhaps even snow. Pack long underwear, a fleece jacket, knitted hat, polarized sunglasses, insect repellent and protective clothing. Mosquitos can be particularly difficult in summer.
Snow can arrive as early as mid-September. In winter, blizzards can whip up in just a few hours.
Average regional temperatures:
- Winter: −23.6 °C (−10.5 °F)
- June: 6.8 °C (44.2 °F)
- July: 11.0 °C (51.8 °F)
- August: 10.4 °C (50.7 °F)
- September: 5.3 °C (41.5 °F)
With no roads connecting Kuujjuaq with the rest of Quebec, the only way into the town is through the airport.
- 1 Kuujjuaq Airport (YVP IATA).
- First Air, toll-free: . flies non-stop from Montreal daily (2½ hours), starting at $2400 roundtrip (fees and taxes included); from Ottawa (7 hours) Mon, Wed, Fri, starting at $3300 roundtrip; Iqaluit (1hr 10min) Mon, Wed, Fri starting at $540 roundtrip; and Rankin Inlet, Arviat and Baker Lake (Wed, Fri). (All fees and taxes included in prices shown.)
- Air Inuit, toll-free: . flies from Montreal (daily Mon-Fri, starting at $2100 roundtrip), and Quebec City (Mon, Wed and Fri, starting at $2025 roundtrip), and Sept-Îles (Sun, Tue, Thu, starting at $1750 roundtrip). On Mon, Wed and Fri, the flight from Montreal and Quebec City continues on to four other settlements in Nunavik: Kangirsuk, Quaqtaq, Kangirsuk, and Salluit. (All fees and taxes included in prices shown.)
- Ookpik Taxi, ☏ . Bobby Snowball, Proprietor
- Location et transport Tivi Inc., 5205 Airport Road, toll-free: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Offering a selection of four-wheel-drive pick-up trucks, SUVs, vans, station wagons and 12 passenger vehicles. Pick up your vehicle at the airport or at the company's business location.
- Johnny May's Air Charters, ☏ . Air charters for tourists.
- Old Chimo: original settlement a few kilometres downstream on the opposite shore.
- Atlantic salmon and sea-run trout fishing
- Caribou hunting
- The Town Hall is sometimes used as a movie theatre
- Amautik Reg’d, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Retail - camping supplies
- firstname.lastname@example.org. Adventure tourism , ☏ , ✉
- Polar Adventures Inc., ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- Northern Store/Quick Stop. Mon-Fri 8AM–8PM, Sat 8AM–5PM, Sun noon–5PM). Groceries, clothing, hardware and home products. Fast food and other cooked meals. Coffee and other beverages. Gas station.
- Old Chimo Restaurant, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Auberge Kuujjuaq Inn, 550 Airport St, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Dining room and restaurant (breakfast 8–10AM, lunch noon–1PM, dinner 5–8PM – Monday to Sunday). Bar (Mon-Thu 5–9PM, Fri 5–10PM, Sat closed)
- Kuujjuaq Cooperative Hotel. Dining room and fully equipped kitchen for guests. Common area includes big-screen cable television. Gift shop showcasing soapstone carvings and ivory jewellery $225/night.