September 11, 2012
Rush hour in Rankin Inlet
People joke about single stop-light towns, but Rankin Inlet is a single stop-sign town, or just about. Here the stop signs, like everything else are dual language: English and Inuktitut, the Inuit language, both of which are spoken widely.
There aren't many cars in Rankin either—or across Nunavut, for that matter. Instead, most people own ATVs (four-wheelers in Southern speak) and skidoos (snow-mobiles). I have to keep reminding myself that everything that is in Rankin has to be flown in, or brought in on a big steam ship in the summer—cars included. And so cars and trucks become prohibitively expensive.
They are also a lot less practical. They aren't good as ATVs for driving on snow or for driving "out on the land," the tundra, which is where most locals go any time they get the chance. There is a single road leading out of town—and it ends 10 kms out.