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Operation Nanook

August 03, 2012

This month 1,250 members of the Canadian Armed Forces will conduct an annual operation in the arctic called Operation Nanook.

This year’s operation will be conducted in two locations: in the Western Arctic, in and around Inuvik and Tsiigehtchic, Northwest Territories, and in the Eastern Arctic in the Hudson Strait and Hudson Bay.
The western scenario will include the building of two temporary bases of operations, will feature close collaboration between local and federal officials, and will see the Canadian Forces in the air and on land, the news release said. The eastern scenario will focus on the approach of “a vessel of interest.”  Canadian Forces personnel will work alongside the Canadian Coast Guard, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Public Safety Canada, representatives from the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of Nunavut, as well as local officials from Tsiigehtchic, Inuvik and Churchill.

Last year’s Operation Nanook in Resolute Bay was suspended after the crash of First Air flight 6560 as it approached the Resolute Bay airport on Aug. 20.

The two main goals of the western mission, are to build a self-contained camp near Inuvik, and then to co-ordinate with other stakeholders during a fictional scenario that will take place around the community of Inuvik. Military personnel involved in the building of the military camp at the north edge of Inuvik near Old Navy Road began arriving Tuesday, and by the end of this week, 100 members are expected to be on the ground in the area. At its peak, there will be as many as 350 military personnel on the ground in Inuvik during the operation. The type of camp being built in Inuvik is called an RTC – a relocatable temporary camp.

Construction of the base – complete with its own communications system – is no small task. An estimated 100 sea cans will be shipped from Montreal to the camp site with supplies for the operation. The camp is expected to be completed by Aug. 10, at which point some of those 100 troops will travel to Tsiigehtchic to build a more austere camp, while others will stay in Inuvik and help with construction of the Children’s First Centre. The centre, which will house Inuvik’s early childhood and pre-school programs, is still short funding to finish the $4.4-million project. However, the Town of Inuvik has recently released the $2.3 million it pledged to help make the centre a reality. Without that funding, construction would not have gone forward in time to capitalize on the military’s donation of service.


The Canadian Armed Forces, while not tourists in the usual sense, do have a big impact on the local economy. This year their help with the Children’s First Centre will be helpful and appreciated.