HISTORICAL TIMELINE OF CHESTERFIELD INLET A.D. 1200 Approximately Igluligaarjuk Site – Thule Culture

1911 Hudson’s Bay Company Arrives
Sept 3, 1912 Arrival in C.I. of Fa. Arsène Turquetil, o.m.i. and Fa. Armand LeBlanc, o.m.i. Started construction of the mission house (28′ x 16′) (the little house is still standing); Completed the exterior September 22nd – held the First Mass Church named Notre Dame de la Delivrande by Father Turquetil who as a young seminarian in France prayed to Notre Dame de la Delivrande to receive the consent of his Bishop to enter the Oblate novitiate. At that time he promised to name his first mission Notre Dame de la Delivrande Father Turquetil becomes the Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Hudson Bay in 1925. (now called Diocese of Churchill Hudson Bay).
Aug 26, 1914 Baptism Catholique Assolar (father – Albert Arola, mother – Meni Ittimangnak) Catholique was born in 1909
1920 – 22 Lamson and Hubbard trading post operates
1921 RCMP establish a post at Chesterfield
1922 Visit of the members of the famed Fifth Thule Expedition (Knud Rasmussen, Kaj Birket-Smith, Helge Bangstad, Jacob Olsen). In 1922, Knud Rasmussen left Repulse Bay for Chesterfield Inlet with heavy loads on sled with dog team.
1923 Statue of Jesus (between hospital and church) arrives gift from family of Fa. E. Duplain, o.m.i.
1925 Mission has a radio – people from the south send their messages to the missionaries through a radio broadcast station in Pittsburgh KDKA!!
c. 1925 – 26 First Post-Office
1926 60 CI people move to Southampton Island
1927 Separate church section added to RC Mission
Bishop Turquetil is glad to hire a strong dedicated guide – Jean Ayaruar who leads Fa. Turquetil in a round trip from Chesterfield to Arviat, Baker Lake and back.
1930 Chesterfield Inlet becomes general headquarters for federal gov’t health officials Dr Livingstone the first doctor in charge
1930 – 31 Construction of St Theresa’s Hospital
1931 Hospital opens officially September 27th – owned by RC Vicariate of Hudson Bay and operated by the Grey Nuns (Nayait) Founding Sisters of the hospital: Sr St Ignace of Loyola, Sr. Therese of the Child Jesus, Sr Adelaide Fafard, Sr Marie-Anne Frechette arrive August 12th Hospital looks after various epidemics from 1934 to 1954.
1946 Chicken coop built by Br G.M. Paradis – operates until 1970
1950 HBC closes – Br R. Bedard runs a trading post the two years the HBC closes
1951 A Federal Day School opens with 2 classrooms – first principal Roland Larivière
1953 First Grey Nuns arrive to teach at the federal day school – Sr Elizabeth Herauf, s.g.m. and Sr Pauline Cotè, s.g.m.
1954 Grotto between St. Theresa’s and mission built by Fr L. Fournier
1955 Student residence opens (originally called St Mary’s Residence – later called Turquetil Hall) – students mainly come from Igloolik, Pelly Bay, and Repulse Bay, a small number come from Baker Lake, Arviat, and Pond Inlet
1955 – 56 A temporary DEW Line site operates in C.I.
1956 Fr Roland Courtemanche brings the first ham radio (Marconi) to Chesterfield. (Fr Courtemanche lived in CI 1948 – 68 and 1975 – 1987)
1956 Last resident doctor at the hospital leaves
1962 – 76 Br R Boisclair operates a post-office in the basement of the hospital
1964 New Roman Catholic Church built
1964 Following a brief survey of fishery resources along the Kivalliq coast (Brack and McIntosh 1963), the DNANR established a pilot cannery plant at Daly Bay, north of Chesterfield Inlet (Lantz 1965; Lantz and Iredale 1972). The cannery employed local Inuit to harvest and process Arctic char, seals, whales, and walrus from the area. In, 1966, after the fish resources of Daly Bay had proven to be insufficient and because the water supply, power, and housing facilities were limited, the cannery was dismantled and re-established at Rankin Inlet as the Issatik Food Plant (Iredale 1984).
1965 Telephone service comes to Chesterfield Inlet. The following year 1965 – 1969, the Arts & Crafts – Chesterfield Inlet; this sub series covers a range of “arts & crafts” with information on policy, development, trademark, supplies, marketing, publicity, projects, centres and shops. There are also files on each community. The records are primarily correspondence and reports, and also include minutes of the Canadian Eskimo Arts Council Meeting and the Canadian Handicraft Guild Indian & Eskimo Committee meetings.
1968 Chesterfield Inlet Housing Association was incorporated September 13, 1968. The following year under the direction of Charles Merbs, the Northwest Hudson Bay Thule Project (NHBTP) (or the Sixth Thule Expedition to insiders), began excavating several archaeological Thule sites at Qamauvik, Silumiut, and Igluligaarjuk sites. Allan P. McCartney led the team excavating sites between Chesterfield Inlet and Wager Bay, including the large classic Thule Silumiut site.
1969 Last year of operation of Turquetil Hall, later used for Adult Education, Canada post-office, temporary hostel, co-op store, arts and crafts room, and local FM radio station etc.
1970s St Theresa’s Hospital now becomes a Home for the disabled instead of a hospital and home for the aged. The following year the fourth phase of the Northwest Hudson Bay Thule Project a coastal site survey fieldwork was initiated during months of July and August, 1970. The survey was designed as an archaeological reconnaissance of the coastal and adjacent inland areas of the region, stretching from Winchester Inlet in the north to Chesterfield Inlet south. This area comprises the southeast margin of the sub-region generally known to geographers as the Northwest Hills; specifically, as the Roes Welcome Lowland (Robinson 1968).
1971 Pitsiulak Co-operatives Limited incorporated, June, 1971
1976 The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) (then Fisheries and Marine Service) Canada select a research site at Sarvaqjuaq. For information visit web site: NRC Research Press

Tidal Propagation Chesterfield Inlet, N.W.T. by W.P. Budgell, B.A.Sc., A Report Submitted to the School of Graduate Studies in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Engineering, McMaster University, September, 1976

1977 First government nursing station is established in CI – Sister Boulet is in charge. The following year the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) (then Fisheries and Marine Service) Canada established a research camp at Saqvaqjuac that was first occupied by Department personnel in May 1977

A field camp was set up at Sarvaqjuac, 40 km north of Chesterfield Inlet on the northwest coast of Hudson Bay. The camp was built in such a way that year-round aquatic research can be conducted. While much of the summer 1977 was devoted to construction of the facility, some research was carried out, Biennial report – 1976 – 78, Western Region, Fisheries and Marine Service, Department of Fisheries and the Environment, Edited by D.P. Scott, dated October 1981

1978 A study of plankton ecology in Chesterfield Inlet, Northwest Territories: An arctic estuary. Chesterfield Inlet, NWT, a long (200 km) deep estuary, was studied in summer of 1978
1980 – 81 Hamlet of Chesterfield Inlet – Municipal government incorporated, April 1st, 1980

Eskimo Fall – Winter 1980 – 81 (37th Year  N.S. No. 20) Published twice a year by the Diocese of Churchill – Hudson Bay noted an article script of Ayaruaq born 1907. His father, Uvineq, a medicine man and a fine hunter, had often worked for Scotch or American whalers that came each year, and that sometimes wintered at Fullerton or at Depot Island. From them he had received a sailing whaler.

1984 Turquetil Hall torn down and replaced – June 9, 1985 with the Community Complex
1985 A Fishery Development Strategy for the Canadian Beaufort Sea-Amundsen Gulf Area, D.B. Stewart, R.A. Ratynski, L.M.J. Bernier and D.J. Ramsey, Central and Arctic Region Department of Fisheries and Oceans Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N6, 1993, Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 1910.

The Iqalukpik Fish Plant in Chesterfield Inlet was constructed to spur fishery development in the area, not in response to a proven need (B. Threadkell, pers. comm.). In 1985, prior to plant operation, fish harvested from the Chesterfield Inlet area were flown by scheduled aircraft to the Issatik Fish Plant in Rankin Inlet for freezing (Keewatin Environmental Consulting Services Ltd. 1986). Fish quality was apparently good and the shipments were cost effective at a pre-negotiated rate of $0.36/kg. The plant was funded under the Economic Development  (EDA) and by GNWT Economic Development and Tourism, and built in 1985. The estimated cost was $180,000 but there was pressure to erect the plant quickly so materials were flown in on chartered aircraft, rather than barged from Churchill, and construction costs soared to $350,000 (B. Threadkell, pers. comm.)

The Chesterfield Inlet fish plant is small, with less then 90 m2 of floor space, and includes a blast freezer and a storage freezer which is capable of holding 4,500 kg of boxed fish (B. Threadkell, pers. comm). It was to be portable, with a stainless steel floor, but inspection regulations dictated that the floor must be cement so the plant was constructed on a cement pad. As a result, it is no longer portable and the cost of regular floor maintenance must be borne. Steel roof girders also add to inspection problems as they collect dust and condensation, promoting the growth of bacteria. The fish plant was first registered in the spring of 1989 (L. Penny, pers. comm.).

Prior to plant construction a feasibility study was conducted on the use of freezer-packer vessels to service Chesterfield Inlet fishery and delivery fish to the Rankin Inlet plant for processing (DPA Consulting Limited 1984). Costs associated with use of the vessels were estimated at $2.05/kg of charr ($0.93/lb) before allowing for amortization of the capital investments, so vessel purchase could not be justified.

A Presentation of Biological Data Gathered during the First Season of a Two-Season Test Fishery for Anadromous Arctic char conducted in Chesterfield Inlet area. Prepared by D. Milani, Keewatin Environmental Consulting Services Ltd. Rankin Inlet, NWT for Chesterfield Inlet, Northwest Territories

The opening of the Hamlet Office Complex, Presented to the People of Chesterfield Inlet on the occasion of the opening of the Hamlet Office Complex by John H. Parker, Commissioner, the Honourable Nick Sibbeston, Minister of Local Government, and the Honourable Tagak Curley, Minister of Economic Development & Tourism, June 9, 1985

1991 The Health Centre open October 9
1999 The Last Grey Nuns (Nayait) leaves Chesterfield Inlet – Bishop Reynald Rouleau thanks the Grey Nuns for their service at St Theresa’s Home and in the school 76 Sisters have lived in Chesterfield Inlet!

On October 1st, the last of the Grey Nuns of the Ste. Therese Hospital of the Grey Nuns of Nicolet, Quebec leaves the tiny community of Chesterfield Inlet. “People could not believe we were actually leaving, “Sister Laurette Allard tells Nunatsiaq News from her new home in St. Boniface, Manitoba. “Before, another nun would always come to replace us when we left. This time, it was different. “The entire community turns out at the airport to say good-bye to Sister Laurette and Sister Denise Gauthier. These two elderly Grey Nuns are the last members of the religious order, which provided health and educational services to the region for 68 years, to serve the Kivalliq region.

Before the departure of the Grey Nuns of Ste. Therese’s Hospital following year local members of Elders, and co-workers/ family members or members of the community would visit staff working at the Ste. Therese’s Hospital including the Grey Nuns for a coffee/ tea with fresh bake bread or cookies serve on table regular basis during break peak hours on the main entrance lobby area or staff coffee room on the second floor. Members of staff and Elders or family members knew this was becoming the last moment of the Grey Nun’s to work at Ste. Therese’s Hospital or perhaps to depart the community of Chesterfield Inlet in any given month or year for the last daily moment of schedule to work with the Grey Nuns at the Ste. Therese’s Hospital that have provided services, education and training many years to community in the Kivalliq region including to the Nunavut abroad.

The Elders or members and co-workers knew this was becoming last moment of time with the Grey Nuns to provide services with local staff and members in the community who has provided services many years with dignity and pride. The members or Elders knew in any given month or year that the Grey Nun’s may perhaps leave Ste. Therese’s Hospital soon, which in part is a reason a number of Elders or members had visited staff, and the Grey Nuns on regular occasions during work hours at Ste. Therese’s Hospital for a coffee or tea during coffee breaks visits with staffs at the hospital with fresh bakes, or cookies serve on the table on daily basis at the coffee room, or the kitchen. This was part of their welcome, and pleased to have been part of the community to provide services many years, or attach to the importance with their time, and efforts to have worked and serve to the community many years on behalf of the community both the Elders, members including the Grey Nun’s of Nicolet Quebec.

2002 Chesterfield Inlet Development Corporation takes over the operation of St. Theresa’s Home, Pimakslirvik – new name of St Theresa’s Home
2014 Bottom Contact Tanker Nanny Deer Island, Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut, Transportation Safety Board of Canada, Government of Canada, October 14, 2014

Back to Historical Articles & Resources Page