Monday, March 23, 2009

Kivitoo

In my last post I mentioned a place name Kivitoo (alternatively spelled Kivitu). Its a place about 50km (31 miles) north of Qikiqtarjuaq (Broughton Island) off Baffin Island's east coast, a place that has worn many hats over the years. A number of people from Qik had cabins in the area and return their every spring for fishing and caribou hunting as they have been doing since time immemorial.

Kivitoo aka FOX-D


The place, lying on the coast, just outside the boundary of Auyuittuq National Park provided an anchorage for Scottish whalers, who set up shop there during the whaling season. Evidence of these early visitors can still be seen today in the form of the many old barrels scattered around. These barrels would hold the whale oil which the whalers harvested from the whale carcasses. In the early 20th century, the Sabellum Trading Company established a post to take advantage of this. As the whale population became fished out, the whalers moved on to pursue other populations and the trading post was shut down in 1926.

Kivitoo was reincarnated in the 1950's when a small radar was constructed as part of the Distant Early Warning Line. A small village sprang up on the coastal plain below the heights and a runway, serviced by DC-3's was constructed. FOX-D, as the site was referred to, was constructed as an "Intermediate" site, helping to link together the slightly larger "Auxiliary" sites of Broughton Island (FOX-5) and Cape Hooper (FOX-4), located further north heading up the coast toward Clyde River. So close was Kivitoo to the FOX-5 site at Broughton that you could in fact see the lights from its tower on a clear night. FOX-D was never very large, supporting a rotating staff of only a handful of people. As the DEW Line became obsolete, the site was closed in 1963 and the surrounding Inuit population moved south to Broughton Island (Qikiqtarjuaq).

FOX-5 - now dismantled; for photos of FOX-5 from August 2004, see here.


Unfortunately, I only have a precious few photos from the area around Kivitoo in my personal possession and none of FOX-D itself other than what I could find online. I was only able to visit there once. I was participating in a community walk back in the spring of 2004, raising awareness of the problems of suicide that seem such a plague on Canada's North. Anyhow, I camped there over night in a cabin across the bay from FOX-D. It was rather foggy and overcast which limited my photo-taking opportunities considerably. I was also fighting cold fingers and developing a case of snow blindness but that's a whole other story. The whole area has a raw and rugged beauty to it and given the chance I would love to return.

1 comments:

Kurt said...

Howdy. I stumbled across your blog when looking for information about the Kivitoo Peninsula. I've got a couple questions that I'm hoping you might be able to help me with. Could you please email me at kurt.refsnider@colorado.edu?

Cheers,

kurt