Preceded by Basque fishermen, Jacques Cartier arrived at Île Brion in 1534; he named it in honour of the great French admiral. He christened the islands "Les Araynes" (arènes is a French poetry word for sand) because of the endless beaches of sand. Later French fishermen called them Îles Ramées.
Lying north of mainland Canada, the Arctic Archipelago consists of 94 major islands (greater than 130 km2) and 36,469 minor islands covering a total of 1.4 million km2. Apart from Greenland, which is almost entirely ice covered, the Canadian Arctic Archipelago forms the world's largest High Arctic land area.
La Grosse Île, or Île de Quarantaine, 2.9 km long by 1 km wide, is located 46 km downstream from Québec City in the ST LAWRENCE RIVER estuary. The island is a wooded Appalachian ridge sculpted by coves and capes. In 1646 the Île de Grâce was ceded to Governor Charles Huault de MONTMAGNY.
Balaklava Island, 8 km2, situated off the N coast of Vancouver Island, is located between Nigel and Hurst islands, and is flanked by Queen Charlotte Str in the N and Goletas Channel in the S. It is 15 km NW of Port Hardy, BC. This tiny island has a lighthouse at Scarlett Pt (1905) to aid shipping.
Circulation is generally anticlockwise; off Greenland, relatively warm, salty water moves north, while along Baffin Island, cold, fresher water originating from the Arctic Ocean flows south. Icebergs, formed by calving off the Greenland glaciers, appear year-round, but are most numerous in August.