Banks Island, the Canadian settlement at the edge of the world

Banks Island is part of the Arctic Archipelago, a remote group of islands far away from the Canadian mainland. It is further North than most Greenland’s settlements. It is inhabited by about 100 people, all concentrated in Sachs Harbour.

In fact, man isn’t the main mammal you’re likely to see on the island. Caribous, polar bears, and most of all muskoxen roam the area in large numbers. Oddly enough, Banks Island is also the place where a hybrid between a grizzly bear and a polar bear was first observed. Those hybrids are excessively rare and all seem to have originated from a single female polar bear in the area.

From here, Banks Island may look small, but it’s actually the fifth’s largest island in Canada. It’s a little smaller than Ireland.

Life on banks island is extremely challenging, as there are no trees growing under these latitudes. The only vegetation you may be able to find is the Arctic willow. It sounds like a tree but in reality it will only grow as high as a a few dozen inches.

Finally, Banks Island is the site of the shipwreck of HMS Investigator. In 1848, during the Northwestern Passage “Craze”, it was affreted to try and rescue Sir John Franklin, who had diseappeared. Unfortunately, the HMS Investigator suffered the same fate, and nothing was heard of it again, until almost 2 centuries later, in 2010, when the site of the shipwreck was finally found near Banks Island. The ship was incredibly well preserved.

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