Hall Beach (pop. ~
700), is a small Inuit community in the former eastern Northwest
Territories of Canada (Nunavut as of April 1, 1999) and is located at the north
eastern tip of Melville peninsula at the shores of Foxe Basin, a narrow strait across from
Also referred to as a hamlet because of its size, Hall Beach
holds the distinction as one of the few permanently populated communities north of
the Arctic Circleat
68 deg. North and 81 deg. West. The main occupation of the populace here is hunting,
fishing and Inuit crafts. The hamlet boasts a local hotel, two stores - Northern and
Co-op, a public school, two churches and an RCMP detachment. It also
contains a commercial-grade airport which can accommodate large jetliners. The official
written and spoken language here is Inuktitut, with English being understood
and spoken by most people in the community.
Hall Beach was created in
1957 when the Cold War triggered the establishment of a chain of
Distant Early Warning (DEW)
radar sites. The DEW line was centered along the 70th parallel to
monitor Canadian air space in the far north. Now
Fox-MAIN, the Hall Beach
radar station, uses the more advanced North Warning Radar System that has
replaced the archaic DEW line technology. The outdated twin 120 foot tall
tropo scatter dishes now serve as landmarks for aircraft and hunters.
More information on DEW line
can be found here.
In the early 1960s, any Inuit families abandoned camp life and moved to
the community to take advantage of government housing programs, health
care and opportunities for work and education. In 1953, no one lived in
the area on a permanent basis. By 1960, there were 300 qallunaat (white
people) living on the site and about 260 Inuit were beginning to settle in
the area. Now, Hall Beach counts around 650 residents.
Since the community is located above the Arctic Circle, during the year, it experiences
the phenomenon known as Arctic Day and Arctic Night. During
the months of July and August, the sun continuously and tirelessly circles above the
horizon, not setting for about two months. This is the best time of the year for some
great fishing and hunting. During the months of December and January, the region
experiences the Arctic Night which again lasts about two months. Actually, the area never
realizes a true night as there is some residual reflection of the sun below the southern
horizon. This is termed as the Arctic Light and very
characteristic of these latitudes. During the long Arctic day, in the months of July and
August, the push is on for fishing and hunting. The world-renowned Arctic Char(Salvelinus alpinus) and Trout are caught off the shores of Foxe
Basin and Hall Lake. Hunting on the tundra is usually for the Caribou (of
reindeer family), assorted birds such as ptarmigan, ducks and geese. Foxe Basin also
yields Seal and Walrus meat and when eaten raw, referred to as
Muktuk. Walrus tusks are used as raw material for creation of local art objects
such as carvings. During the winter and summer months, the hamlet is visited by an
occasional Polar Bear or Nanuk. Arctic Hare and Arctic
Fox(Alopex lagopus) abound, changing their pelt colours from brown and
blue-gray in the summer to snow-white in the winter. We also have a permanent winter
settlement of Ravens, specially adapted to the winter cold. These big black
birds can be seen hovering for hours in the blustery, -70C winds.
One of my favourite
summer activities is to go to the beach and, besides fishing, look for
fossils. There is a great abundance of Trilobites, sponges and an occasional
bird egg (see:
A GUIDE TO THE EIGHT ORDERS OF TRILOBITES).
Hall Beach is located in what is known as the Arctic Platform geological
province. Structurally (tectonically), the area is part of the Foxe Basin of
the southeastern Arctic Platform. The rocks here are of Ordovician age, or
about half a billion years old .
The weather in this part of the world varies greatly between the summer months and the
rest of the year. For about ten months of the year, the temperature seldom reaches above
zero degrees centigrade, with an average mid-winter temperature of -30C. During December
and January, temperature can dip down to -70C. As the local saying goes "any
weather is good weather as long as you can walk outside". This cannot be
closer to the truth for us here. During the summer months of July and August, the
temperature varies from -2C to +18C. In the summer, a phenomenon called Sun Dogs
* can be observed. This is the result of sunlight reflection and produces rare, diamond-like
duplicates of the Sun. This region is also very active with Aurora Borealis
or Northern Lights. At these latitudes, the Aurora displays are nothing less than
Hall Beach is located in an area of the Eastern Canadian Arctic known as Nunavut, [Inuktitut, = our
land], now a part of the Inuit territory, embracing 1,994,000 sq km of the
former eastern NORTHWEST
TERRITORIES (approx. 60% of the entire N.W.T.). The area has a population of about 20,000,
over 85% of which is Inuit. An agreement signed in 1991 by Canadian and Inuit leaders
transferred 349,650 sq km of land to the Inuit. In
1992 residents of the Northwest Territories voted to approve the creation of Nunavut. The
capital of Nunavut is Iqaluit (former Frobisher Bay), located on the southern tip of Baffin Island.
called mock suns or false suns, sun dogs form when incoming sunlight is
refracted through suspended ice crystals in the atmosphere, creating the
image of two brilliant spots on either side of the sun.
Photos Click on
each thumbnail photo to enlarge (except for the Handy Cam images)
Hall Beach in 1992
Two young girls in
downtown Hall Beach.
The town by the Foxe
Huskies outside a
house. The Inuit do not allow their Huskies inside the house at all.
They stay outside the whole year.
Resolution Video capture from my JVC GR-SZ7 Super VHS Handy
Des Groseilliers beer mug I bought as souvenir when
visiting the ship
Noah Siakoluk (1924-1997)
1994 black soapstone canoe carving. The paddle is made from
ivory. This is one of his best works.
Noah from Hall
Beach village was a frequent visitor to Fox-M trying to sell us his artwork. In the beginning he used gray
soapstone that frankly did not look that great. He did not speak any
English so his grand-daughter did the interpreting for him. A few
months later, Noah produced his first black soapstone carving below.
I was so happy that he would be able to sell his carvings to more
Beach (Fox Main)
North Warning Radar Site in 1994. The Hall Beach
village is in on the horizon, right. Beyond is the
located between Melville Peninsula and Baffin
atop the large tropo scatter "billboard" pointing
Thule, Greenland (in the center left are two lateral
From Larry Wilson's page:
"Vertical (north to
south) drops included the 100KW AN/FRC-101, a 515
nautical mile tropo scatter FM link between Hall
Beach Canada and Thule AB Greenland, and the 612
nautical mile 10KW AN/FRC-47 CW drop between Cape
Dyer Canada and Thule AB. These shots were among the
longest single-hop tropospheric scatter shots used
We used this photo for our
Christmas cards. They sold like hotcakes. Click on
the image below to enlarge it.
The small round antenna dishes to
the right of the radome are about 30 ft across. They used to
link to FOX-1 on Rowley Island between Hall Beach and Baffin
Island only 60 miles or so to the East.
Click on each
thumbnail photo below to enlarge
west from one of the 125ft high lateral tropo
scatter "billboards". I took a number of photos here from
at the radar site from one of the 125ft high lateral tropo
scatter "billboards". On the left are latteral dishes that
talked to the adjacent West radar site.
In the foreground are the fuel
storage tanks, at the center left is the lower camp with the
Hall Beach airport. On the horizon is the Hall Beach Village and
Foxe basin which is partly free of ice. 1994 photo.
eastward of Foxe Basin from one of the 125ft high lateral tropo
northeast to Foxe Basin and the dock and beach house used for yearly
Our two satellite
Looking south towards the radar site.
View of radome and the
power house (black).
View from radome of the
two "trains" and all weather bridge running between them.
The living module train is visible. Take a look at the gleaming
as they appeared in 1963.
with blustery winds
sweeping across the site.
Looking towards the
airport. Blue ARMCO buildings are in the front and the airport
hanger in the back. Hall Beach village is on the horizon.
The two Weather station
Large tropo scatter
"billboards" pointing north to Thule, Greenland. I took a number of
photos from the left "billboard".
(golf ball). On the left are latteral dishes that talked to the adjacent West
On the left is one of the 125ft high lateral tropo scatter "billboards" and to the right is the satellite dish
for Telesat Canada that provided telephone communications for
Hall Beach. I used to maintain their system for some extra cash.
An Inuksuk on the beach
Another view of the Inuksuk, this time
from atop the frozen surface water of Foxe Basin.
I love this shot of the
sun piercing the ice flow close to the beach.
One of the natives going
hunting. Since the Foxe Basin has really swift flowing currents,
some of the hunters have been stranded on chunks of ice that broke
off from the beach and had to be rescued.
Fossils found along
the beach. These include
trilobites, sponges, fish skeletons and some plants.
We used to get occasional "guests"
visiting the area. During the summer, polar bears were seen
roaming around the radar site and the village. Here is one trying to
get into someone's bedroom at one of the radar sites. This is not my
photo and I can't find the source any more.
Hall Beach Thule Archaeological Site, inhabited between 1000 and 300
These were winter houses built of sod over a framework of stones and
whale bones. Thuleare
the ancestors to the present day Canadian Inuit who arrived in the
eastern Arctic about 1,0000 years ago. There are about 7 dwellings
at this site.
See also: Uncovering history at Hall Beach. By Karen Mackenzie,
Northern News Services. Published Monday, August 27, 2007.
on each thumbnail photo to enlarge (except for the Handy Cam
Looking east from one
of the dwellings toward the two 125ft high lateral tropo scatter
into a dwelling entrance.
head (?) at the archaeological site.
to a dwelling on the left.
Discarded Meat Cutting Tools made from
Caribou Bone - Age unknown.
The cutting edge on both tools is worn out. The lateral marks on the right
tool are interesting.
Click here for bigger picture.
[Many of these tools can be found along the beach]
Resolution Video capture from my JVC GR-SZ7 Super VHS Handy
Cam. Sept. 9 & 17, 1995.
entrance with large Whalebones. There is a clearer photo
here on Flickr. Another photo is
View of Foxe Basin
with the Annual Re-Supply Ship from the archaeological
Another Dwelling on top of the
photo and scattered whalebones.
Ancestors of the Inuit, the Thule People, camped here in houses
made of sod, stone and whalebone.
They lived in the Arctic from about 1000-300 years ago and
hunted land and sea mammals.
The ruins of their houses can show us much about their way of
life. Please do not disturb this old place.
These fragile remains are protected by the Northwest Territories
Removing artifacts or altering structures destroys unique
information from the past.
Note: On. Feb. 3,
2015, Brian Jeffrey's Trip
Report below brought a tear
to my eye as I remembered
the years I spent at FOX-M.
Return to the DEWLine
– Trip Report,
Hall Beach 2012 "On July 29, 1960, 19
year old Brian (Simon)
Jeffrey stepped off DC-4 CF-IQM
at Hall Beach NWT, FOX Main,
to begin a three year career
as a radar technician (Radician)
in the FOX Sector of the
Distant Early Warning Radar
Line (DEWLine). Fifty-two
years later, July 2012, 71
year old Brian Jeffrey
stepped off ATR-42 C-FIQU to
return to Hall Beach NU,
still FOX Main, to fulfil
his dream of physically
strolling down memory lane."
Inuit Logistics (PAIL) Pan Arctic Inuit Logistics Corporation
(PAIL), in a 50/50 joint venture with ATCO Frontec Corp. of Calgary,
operates and maintains the Canadian portion of the North Warning
System on behalf of the Department of National Defence (DND). As of
December 1, 2001 the PAIL/ATCO Frontec joint venture has performed
these operations through a jointly-owned company, Nasittuq
NORTH WARNING SYSTEM (NWS).
E. Bollinger, SSgt, 353CTS/QAE. 1991.
NWS is a joint US / Canadian program designed to replace thirty-one
Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line radars, located across northern
Alaska and Canada. Fifteen GE AN/AN/FPS-117 long-range radars (LRR)
are already in place, and thirty-nine UNISYS AN/FPS-124 Unattended
Radars (UARS) will be installed. Three other LRRs have been
installed at new sites on the Eastern Labrador coast. Maintenance
Control Facilities (MCFS) will be collocated with the Alaskan
Regional Operations Control Center (ROCC) and Canadian Sector
Operations Control Center (SOCC) to provide remote control of UAR
sites. A satellite communications network will provide connectivity
between the LRPS, UARS, MCFS, and the ROCC/SOCCs. UL-IT
Ground-to-Air-to-Ground (G/A/G) radios installed at LRRs provide
G/A/G communications between the Alaskan and Canadian ROCCs/SOCCs
and aircraft in those regions.
Big Picture: DEW Line by National Archives and Records
Role of Army Transportation Corps in
Arctic shown on "THE BIG PICTURE" -- The complex, far-flung network
of preparedness by which America keeps itself ready to fend off
attack is the story behind this THE BIG PICTURE film presentation.
Beyond the United States, far to the North, stretches the latest
link in the gigantic network of sight and sound, the remote radar
stations of the Distant Early Warning System which we call the DEW
Hall Beach was named after
Charles Francis Hall (1821-1871),
American explorer who led three expeditions to the Arctic (1860-1862, 1864-1869, and
1871). He camped in this area during 1864-1867 while searching for the remains of the
A peninsula of eastern Northwest Territories, Canada, between
Foxe Basin and an arm of the Gulf of Boothia. It is separated from Baffin Island by a
It derives its name after Herman Melville (1819-1891) American writer whose
experiences at sea provided the factual basis of his allegorical masterpiece Moby Dick
(1851), considered among the greatest American novels.
Baffin Island, our neighbour island, and the fifth-largest island in the world,
derives its name after William Baffin (1584-1622) English explorer who led
several expeditions (1612-1616) in search of the Northwest Passage.
An arm of the Atlantic Ocean between the Melville Peninsula and
Inuit: In Inuktitut signifies
Real People and wrongly referred to
by some as the Eskimos.
Some useful tips for ships attempting to anchor off Hall Beach (Information for the Mariners) HALL BEACH (Position: 68 46N 81 13W)
Normal procedure is to set out anchors one hour before low water, then wait for
slack water to swing into position, about 2 1/2 hours after low water. Tidal streams are
erratic with small tides. Mariners must be prepared to leave in strong Easterly winds.
Almost impossible to stay in position with heavy seas, swell or if ice starts moving into
There is usually ice to the North from Fury and Hecla Strait, any N'ly winds bring ice
South. Most ice stays out about 1 mile offshore.
The recommended date for Sealift is the first two weeks of September.
The wreck of the EDGAR JOURDAIN has never been located since it disappeared
in 1982: 1980: The Canadian coastal
freighter EDGAR JOURDAIN was built at Collingwood in 1956 as MONTCLAIR.
The ship had been a pre-Seaway trader to the lakes and returned as b)
PIERRE RADISSON in 1965, c) GEORGE CROSBIE in 1972 and d) EDGAR JOURDAIN
beginning in 1979. It was wrecked at Foxe Basin, off Hall Beach in the
Canadian Arctic, after going aground. The ship was abandoned, with the
anchors down, but disappeared overnight on December 15, 1982, while
locked in shifting pack ice. It is believed that the vessel was carried
into deeper water and, at last report, no trace had ever been found.
Order of Arctic Adventurers
(For a larger view, click on the above image). The
certificate would be issued to anyone who visited the Canadian Arctic
above the Arctic Circle.
Hall Beach is located at: 68.7772° N, 81.2242° W.
since June 27, 2015
September 20, 2015
Creation Date: Sun, Jan 28 1996
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