Google Street View has gone north of the 60th parallel to map the Victoria Island town of Cambridge Bay and its environs. Situated in the Arctic Archipelago, the village is the farthest north in Canada the Internet giant’s street-capturing crew has ever ventured.
The usual Google motor vehicle will give way to a sturdy camera-fitted tricycle capable of navigating the unpaved streets and rough terrain around this settlement of about 1,500 people. The mapping, aided by local Inuit residents, concludes Aug. 24, and will feature such landmarks as the Old Stone Church, inaugurated in 1954 by Fr. Andre Steinmann, a Roman Catholic missionary.
The story goes that the church’s builders used seal oil, sand and clay for mortar and insulated its walls with caribou fur. The story also goes that Steinman, a free-spirited, culturally sensitive Oblate priest managed to coax not a few of the Inuit residents away from “the straitlaced Anglicans” into Catholicism. The church was burned by vandals in 2006.
The federal government has announced that it will spend more than $142 million over the next six years to design and build a High Arctic research centre near Cambridge-which will definitely put this Nunavut hamlet on the map.