Canada’s Best Small Towns – Rankin Inlet Nunavut, Ft Smith NWT & Yukon’s Dawson City

[excerpt from The Great Canadian Bucket List]

Nunavut – RANKIN INLET Credit: Rankin Inlet

With fewer than 2500 people, the hamlet of Rankin Inlet is the second most populous community in Nunavut. Although Iqaluit defeated Rankin to become Nunavut’s capital, Rankin Inlet is well known for its artist community, particularly in ceramics, print, carvings, casting and painting. Rankin serves as the business and transportation hub of the Kivalliq region, and offers services absent from many northern communities. These include cell phone service, cable, satellite, recreational facilities (golf, volleyball, indoor arenas and outdoor fields). The surrounding landscape is largely untouched, with the Iqalugaarjuup Nunanga Territorial Historic Park a popular spot for hiking, fishing and bird watching. The community comes together for craft shows, square dances, Pakalluk Time (a town festival) and Christmas activities.

Northwest Territories: FORT SMITH 

Fort Smith

Fort Smith a multicultural community surrounded by boreal forest, with a population of 2500.   The town sits at the gateway of Wood Buffalo National Park, the largest national park in Canada, and one for the Bucket List.  Townsfolk enjoy summer activities amongst pristine beauty, including kayaking, hiking, biking and golfing.  For rafters, the Slave River presents some of the most challenging rapids on the continent.  Sitting on the banks of the Slave River, community spirit is stoked with the South Slave Friendship Festival in August and the Wood Buffalo Winter Frolic in March, attracting artists and musicians from around the territory.  Visitors are also drawn to the Forth Smith’s Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre.


Dawson City

Dawson City was once the largest city west of Winnipeg and north of San Francisco, known as the Paris of the North.   The 1898 Klondike Gold Rush brought tens of thousands of prospectors to this small town, most of which returned penniless, their fate immortalized in the legendary poems of Robert Service.  Today, with a population of around 1300, the well-preserved town is home to several national historical sites, and draws thousands of tourists visiting Yukon or Alaska. Visitors can still pan for gold, or visit heritage homes and museums.  Dawson City’s Downtown Hotel is also home to the Sour Toe Cocktail, the most infamous drink of the North (and on The Great Canadian Bucket List)


via Canada’s Best Small Towns – The Great Canadian Bucket List.


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