Alert is the northernmost settlement in the world. Canada. description and photo



The town of Ayrth is the northernmost settlement in the world. It is located on Ellesmere Island, in the province of Nunavut in Canada. It is only 837 km from the North Pole. The settlement attracts tourists with its natural features.

What is interesting about the town of Alert?

In 2005, there were only about 5 people permanently living in this town, not counting military personnel (that’s about 70 more people who were working at the Canadian military base). In 2011, there were no people left here other than military and research personnel. In 2016, there were 60 permanent residents in the settlement.

The settlement got its name from a British ship that arrived here in 1875. In 1950 a meteorological station was erected there, and in 1958 a U.S. military base was built.

In the village of Alert the climate is arctic, which implies extremely harsh conditions. The temperature maximum, recorded in July, is +7 ºС. Winter lasts almost all year round, the average temperature in February is -30 ºC.

International Space Station Alert - a settlement with an interesting history

Attractions of Alert

The settlement is famous for its unique natural conditions. This region has 4 months of night, then the next 4 months the sun shines, but the angle of its rise does not exceed 30º above the horizon. There is snow for 10 months of the year. You can see the amazing vehicles that move around the city: it is equipped with caterpillars, like tanks.

The presence of attractions in this village is largely due to its history. Among the most notable sites are the following:

  1. Five Eyes Base. which was once established due to the proximity of the Soviet Union. It is a kind of intelligence alliance from English-speaking countries. Workers at this facility at first there were about 200 people, in the 90s they were reduced to 74.
  2. The scientific stations are Environment Canada (meteorological station) and the Observatory for Observations of Atmospheric Phenomena.
  3. A memorial dedicated to the people who died in a plane crash in 1950. In addition, there are 9 crosses along the runway that also commemorate the tragedy.
  4. Sign of the city, which shows the huge number of settlements and the distance to them from Alert. For example the Norwegian capital Oslo is at a distance of 3192 km, Murmansk is 2574 km, Norilsk is 3059 km and Moscow is 4000 km away.
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Although Alert is a completely barren land, you can find polar wildlife in its territory. These are musk oxen, arctic hares, Arctic foxes, wolves, birds. All animals have settled in the vicinity of freshwater Lake Dumbell. Its water is used by the inhabitants of Alert. The vegetation of the region is limited to different species of mosses and lichens.

View from high altitude of Alert

Features of living

In the village of Alert during the spring and summer, you can pitch a tent. At other times, you can stay here with the natives or in one of the popular metal containers here. This remote area attracts mainly extreme lovers and tourists who are not afraid of such harsh conditions and want to get acquainted with the peculiarities of local nature.

In the summer months, Alert is very beautiful. There are many trails for walks, and in winter it is worth seeing polar wolves and other rare fauna. If you want to live in a tent and cook on a fire, it is worth stocking up on firewood in advance, as you are unlikely to find it in this area.

Local houses in Alert

How to get there?

The nearest town is Iqaluit, which is located at a distance of 2092 km. The only way to get to the town of Ayrth is by plane.

Ayrth is the northernmost settlement in the world. Canada

Man is able to survive in the most extreme conditions. He settled the planet in such inaccessible places, where it seemed impossible to live. Even the polar ice caps have not escaped him. Now you will find out where the most northern settlement in the world is located. This is the village of Alert in Canada.

The most northern in the world village of Alert

The village of International Alert – the most northern in the world.

It lies 12 km west of Cape Sheridan on the northeast coast of Ellesmere Island. Ayrth is only 817 kilometers from the North Pole of the Earth. Iqaluit, the capital of the territory of Nunavut and the closest city to Canada, is 2092 km to the south. But residents of Canada can also be found closer, for example, in the village of Eurika (Eurika), 500 kilometers to the southwest.

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Alert on the map

The village of Alert on the map

Important information In this case, we consider the most northern settlement with permanent residents. That is, we will not take into account various drifting research stations at the North Pole or temporary field camps of scientists.

Climate and Nature of Aurt

Ayrth has a classic polar climate. For at least 10 months of the year its entire area is covered by dense layers of snow and ice. Temperatures of -40o C are considered normal. July is the warmest month, with an average temperature of +3 o C. The maximum once was +20 o C. The coldest month is February – the average temperature is -33 o C. The minimum values can reach -50 ° C. Precipitation is low, not more than 160 mm per year.

It is important to know that there is a place in Russia, though not so northern, but very, very cold. Read about the Pole of Cold in Oymyakon. The conditions here are no less harsh than in Alert.

Since Alert lies behind the Arctic Circle, it is characterized by polar days and nights.

It would seem that Alert is a completely barren land, but there are animals here, such as musk oxen, Arctic hares, Arctic foxes, birds and even wolves. They are drawn to the fresh water of Lake Dumbell, which is also the source for the village. Vegetation is limited to mosses and lichens.

Notably, Alert is part of the habitat of polar bears, but there have been no reports of their activity.

What is in Alert

Why would man want to get into such a frosty and unfriendly distance? There are several reasons. Two scientific stations are located in Alert – the Environment Canada weather station and the Atmospheric Watch Observatory (GAW). In addition, there is a military base and an airstrip. So in addition to a small permanent population, there are scientists and military personnel on shifts here.

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View from high altitude of Alert

Alert. View from above

Note, 200 kilometers south of Alert is the famous island of Gansa, for which there has long been a war between Canada and Greenland. But in this war, bottles of hard liquor die instead of soldiers. Be sure to read about Gansa Island and the Whiskey War.

The Population of Alert

The permanent population in Alert appeared in 1991 and amounted to 246 people. By 1996, the number of residents had increased to 270. From 2001 to 2016, the population dropped sharply to 5 people. As of 2016, the township’s population was 62. But the census did not include people living in the settlement temporarily. They are here at most up to 200 people (usually less).

The world's northernmost village of Aurt

History of the village of Alert

The settlement got its name from the name of the ship HMS Alert, which wintered from 1875 to 1876 near Cape Sheridan, 10 kilometers from the present settlement. The captain of the ship was George Naresh. He and his crew were the first Europeans to reach the northern coast of Ellesmere Island. But to consider this the time of the appearance of the settlement is not quite right.

After the end of World War II, Charles Hubbard began to take an interest in the United States and Canada to establish a network of Arctic stations. His project called for two basic stations, one in Greenland and one on an archipelago that could only be reached by sea. These stations were to be the base for several smaller stations in the vicinity. The weather station was established here in 1950, and the military base in 1958. Since then, people have settled in Alert.

As you can see, the timing of the establishment of the military base falls during the Cold War. Geographically this base is closer to Moscow than to Ottawa (4020 km to Moscow and 4150 km to Ottawa). Alert’s proximity to the USSR allowed it to eavesdrop on the Russian communications network and warn of danger. The station soon became a key site in the Echelon global electronic reconnaissance network.

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An interesting analogy can be traced. Alert translates from English as “alert” or “warning”. It is not inconceivable that the name of the settlement came from here.

Disasters in Alert

Twice a year about two million liters of fuel and 300 tons of cargo are airlifted to Alert. In addition there is a weekly flight connection to the mainland.

Alert Airport

The airstrip of the village of Alert

Unfortunately, there were 2 major air accidents in Alert at the moment.

In 1950, when the first weather station was established, an RCAF Lancaster aircraft carrying supplies dropped a load by parachute, but the parachute got caught in the tail of the plane, causing a crash. All nine crew members died and were buried near the Alert runway. Among them was Charles Hubbard. To this day, nine grim crosses remind us of the tragedy.

Monument to victims of a plane crash in Alert

Monument and crosses to the victims of the Alert plane crash

On October 30, 1991, a C-130 Hercules crashed 30 kilometers from Alert, killing five of the 18 people on board.

Despite the difficult conditions, people still live and work in Alert.

Alert. View from space

Alert. A view from space

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