Aurora Research Institute
PO Box 1450
191 Mackenzie Road
Inuvik, NT, X0E 0T0
Station Manager:
Joel McAlister

TA/RA contacts:
Erika Hille

Shortlist from Station Catalogue over facilities and science disciplines.



The Western Arctic Research Center (WARC) is operated by the Aurora Research Institute and Aurora College. The station is owned by the Government of the Northwest Territories (NWT).


WARC is located in the town of Inuvik, Northwest Territories, in the western Canadian Arctic. WARC provides logistical support for research projects taking place throughout the northern NWT (including the archipelago) and along the northern Yukon coast. Inuvik straddles the boundary between two aboriginal land claim areas recognized by the Government of Canada; the Inuvialuit Settlement Region to the north and the Gwich’in Settlement Area to the south. The surrounding area is a mix of aboriginal private lands, crown (public) lands, and municipal areas. There are many protected areas in the vicinity of WARC, including bird sanctuaries, national parks and territorial parks.


Inuvik is located two degrees above the Arctic Circle, but just south of the treeline, in a region underlain by continuous permafrost. The town sits approximately 100 km south of the Beaufort Sea coastline on the eastern edge of the Mackenzie River Delta (13,000 km2 in area). The delta contains over 45,000 lakes, and experiences some degree of flooding during the ice breakup period each spring. The surrounding landscape includes a wide variety of ecoregions, including tundra, mountains (the Richardson Mountains, on the west side of the Mackenzie Delta), coastal zones, and peat plateaus. Characteristic regional fauna include bears, reindeer, caribou, water fowl and shore birds, beluga whales, moose, and a variety of fresh- and salt-water fish


A research center first opened in Inuvik in 1964; the original facility was torn down in 2010 and replaced with the Western Arctic Research Center, which opened in 2011. WARC contains a conference room, classroom, three laboratories, a research library, a staging area/loading bay, a workshop, and office space for 15 people. Accommodations are a 10-minute walk from WARC in a residential neighbourhood, and include 4 houses each containing 6 beds, living space, a kitchen, a full bathroom, and laundry facilities. Some extra accommodations are available in the Aurora College dorms during the summer season. WARC can support between 24 and 34 people in our accommodations, and up to 75 in our main facility, at any given time.


Research undertaken and supported at WARC is wide ranging, and includes archaeology, permafrost, limnology, oceanography, geology, spatial information sciences, botany, renewable energy (solar and wind), atmospheric sciences, wildlife, fisheries, and marine mammal health. Social sciences, health sciences, and traditional knowledge studies are also frequently supported. Each year, we support more than 50 separate research projects. The Aurora Research Institute (ARI) maintains the NWT Research Database, which is a searchable database of all research licenses issued by ARI since 1974; this resource can be used to explore past research in the western Arctic region


WARC is located in the town of Inuvik (population 3,300), which is a regional center for government and industry. The region surrounding Inuvik is the homeland of the Inuvialuit and Gwich’in indigenous peoples, while the town itself is home to both groups as well as people from many different cultures. The public sector (territorial and Canadian governments) is the largest employer, including health care workers, educators, and administrators. The town itself is very well equipped with amenities and services.


Inuvik is accessible via the Dempster Highway for most of the year, except for periods in the spring and fall when both the local ice roads and ferries aren’t in operation. Air service runs year-round, and includes daily jet service from Edmonton, Yellowknife, and Whitehorse. The Inuvik Regional Airport is a 15 minute drive from the town, with readily-available cab service. Depending on destination and season, field transportation can include car/truck, snowmobile, boat, charter plane, or helicopter.

Field Site information table pdf

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