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Chars not char

August 16, 2013

The Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) was first announced in the Government of Canada’s 2007. The planning phase is underway with construction to begin in the next couple of years.

Inuit knowledge and culture have played major roles in the design and function of the $142 million High Arctic Research Station planned for Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. An outdoor space recalling a Qaggiq, a massive communal igloo, will welcome guests to the station. Inside it is another public space for locals and researchers to sit and have tea. The grounds include five buildings: the main station, maintenance and field house, two tri-plexes, and a dorm for visiting scientists.

The mission of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station will support Arctic science and technology to:

a)Develop and diversify the economy in Canada’s Arctic;
b)Support the effective stewardship of Canada’s Arctic lands, waters, and resources;
c)Create a hub for scientific activity in Canada’s vast and diverse Arctic;
d)Promote self-sufficient, vibrant, and healthy Northern communities;
e)Inspire and build capacity through training, education and outreach; and,
f)Enhance Canada’s visible presence in the Arctic and strengthen Canada’s leadership on Arctic issues.

Once CHARS is operational, the intention is for it to serve as an anchor for this network of Arctic research centres. Overall, ARIF has affirmed that delivering on infrastructure projects in Canada’s North has particular challenges and requirements not found in southern Canada, such as:

-The long lead times required to plan for transporting supplies to remote locations during the short northern summers;
-Delays in shipping and construction due to weather that can impact the already short building season;
-The hiring of qualified project managers and contractors with knowledge and/or experience in Northern construction and sustainable/green technologies;
-The availability of local labour and the the high costs of shipping, materials and labour;
-Meeting land-claims obligations; and,
-The importance of securing community support

CHARS will take an integrated approach to its science and technology activities. These activities may include: monitoring and surveillance; research, modeling, and prediction; technology development and transfer; knowledge application; and training, education, and outreach as well as the logistics needed to ensure effective delivery. The science and technology undertaken by CHARS will be interdisciplinary and include natural, physical and traditional sciences, economic and social sciences, health and life sciences, the humanities, and engineering and technology development.

Construction is expected to take place between 2013 and 2017, with CHARS operational 2017 and onwards.


CHARS will be a major research endeavor in the arctic. It will buoy the CamBay economy during construction and operation. The federal government has been very generous to the north in funding projects such as this one.



Source: FGMDA/NFOE Architects from CBC.