This is our guide to visiting Rankin Inlet, part of our series of crowd-sourced Nunavut community travel guides. If you would like to write a guide for your community, please send us an email! This guide was written by Anubha Momin. Rankin Inlet is a community of just over 2,500 people located in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut. As the regional capital, it is know as the gateway to the Kivalliq and remains the political and business centre of the region. Despite its territorial importance, Rankin Inlet, like most Nunavut communities, is not set up as a tourist destination; keep this in mind when planning your work or holiday travel to the town.
In terms of climate, Rankin is known for having both chilling winters and glorious summers; that being said, hospitable and friendly Rankinmiut will keep you feeling warm all year.
Where to Eat
One of Rankin Inlet's newest hotels has a restaurant that serves up your usual favourites, like afresh Greek salad and their signature Wild Wolf burger (two beef patties, bacon, and cheese on a bun). But the Wolf also has something a little special: authentic Thai food using ingredients imported from Thailand. I recommend the Wild Wolf for dinner; try their specials! Price: $18-25 for dinner
The Siniktarvik Hotel's restaurant offers decent food at somewhat steep prices, but the best service hours of any restaurant in Rankin Inlet. For this reason, it's my recommendation for breakfast before 10:00. Also a good place for lunch specials! Price: $18-28 for breakfast
Red Top Variety Shop
This is my favourite place to eat in Rankin Inlet, for ambience, service, and seriously good snacks. Red Top is also very, very reasonably-priced: $3.00 for a chili cheese dog, $8.00 for a milkshake, $6.00 for a small Flurry (pictured below; try the Skor flurry!). I only wish more communities (including Iqaluit) had friendly corner shops like the Red Top.
Where to Sleep
The Wild Wolf offers spacious rooms with wifi and pretty views. Hotel guests also have access to the restaurant (noted above) and a hair salon. As the newest accommodations in town, the Wolf's lodgings are in much better condition than any other hotel (Siniktarvik and Turaarvik, both of which I would not recommend).
Every time I've been to Rankin Inlet, the Nanuq Lodge has been booked up - a testament to its reputation as the city's best accommodations. This bed and breakfast boasts cozy rooms decorated with local art, daily fresh continental breakfasts and evening snacks, and the knowledge of helpful staff who can set up local tours or adventures. Check out Nanuq Lodge's brochure for more information.
With two locations in the Kivalliq (Rankin Inlet and Arviat), Katimavik Suites is a family-owned business that offers suite-style living for those planning longer stays in the region. Katimavik offers a continental breakfast and conference facilities as well.
What to Do
See the giant inukshuk. Built in 1991, this large stone structure overlooks the town (header photo) and is a defining feature of Rankin Inlet.
Visit the Matchbox Gallery. What began in 1987 as a cross-cultural workshop space has grown into a museum that showcases the unique ceramic artwork of the Rankin region. The gallery is also home to the amazing Kangirqliniq Centre for Arts and Learning, an arts and literacy initiative that began in 1995. Visitors can purchase Rankin's famous ceramic works, as well as jewellery, stone, and other art from various artists. Contact the gallery for opening hours.
Take a boat ride to Marble Island. About an hour's boat ride away from Rankin Inlet, Marble Island is a quartzite island teeming with wildlife and local legends. Non-Inuit can only access this island with a local guide; contact Unainuk Boating Tours to book a trip!
Stay fit at the Rankin Inlet Fitness Centre. This brand-spankin' new fitness centre was only opened in March, but already has over 169 regular members. Visitors can drop use RIFC's convenient drop-in option ($10 per visit, or $40 for 5 drop-ins) for access to nautilus equipment, weights, and other fitness gear. The best part about RIFC is that it is run as a not-for-profit that is staffed by young Rankinmiut. RIFC also partners with social groups or institutions, like the Rankin Inlet Health Facility, to provide employment and mentorship. Opening hours are 12:00-21:00, every day; join the Rankin Inlet Fitness Society Facebook page to learn more.
Watch a hockey game! Rankin Inlet is the hometown of Jordin Tootoo and a hockey town through and through. Be it intramural, regional, or just pick-up, it seems like the whole town comes out to watch the puck drop, and you can, too!
What are your favourite things to see and do in Rankin Inlet? Let us know in the comments!