Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, incorporated as a hamlet in 1981, population 1,324 (2016 census), 1,279 (2011 census). The hamlet of Gjoa Haven is located on the southeast coast of King William Island, off the mainland Arctic coast, and just over 1,320 km northwest of Iqaluit. Channels and bays in the area are icebound for most of the year. It derived its name from Roald Amundsen, the first person to navigate the Northwest Passage. He wintered there and called the site after his ship, the Gjoa.
The area is the traditional territory of the Netsilik Inuit, who set up summer and winter hunting and fishing camps there. Permanent settlement began in 1927 when the Hudson’s Bay Company moved a trading post from nearby Douglas Bay to present-day Gjoa Haven. A competitor set up a short-lived post in the 1930s.
Fishing, hunting and carving are the sources of livelihood of the mostly Inuit population. The community is also noted for its production of distinctive Inuit wall hangings. Evidence of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition has been found within the hamlet’s boundaries. (See also Franklin Search.)