July 2012 NASA satellite photograph of Bylot Island
Bylot is located in Nunavut
Bylot is located in Canada
LocationLancaster Sound
Coordinates73°16′N 78°30′W / 73.267°N 78.500°W / 73.267; -78.500 (Bylot Island)
ArchipelagoArctic Archipelago
Area11,067 km2 (4,273 sq mi)
Area rank72nd
Highest elevation1,951 m (6401 ft)
Highest pointAngilaaq Mountain

Bylot Island[pronunciation?] lies off the northern end of Baffin Island in Nunavut Territory, Canada. Eclipse Sound to the southeast and Navy Board Inlet to the southwest separate it from Baffin Island. Parry Channel lies to its northwest. At 11,067 km2 (4,273 sq mi) it is ranked 71st largest island in the world and Canada's 17th largest island. The island measures 180 km (110 mi) east to west and 110 km (68 mi) north to south and is one of the largest uninhabited islands in the world. While there are no permanent settlements on this Canadian Arctic island, Inuit from Pond Inlet and elsewhere regularly travel to Bylot Island. An Inuit seasonal hunting camp is located southwest of Cape Graham Moore.

The island's mountains are part of the Byam Martin Mountains, which is part of the Baffin Mountains of the Arctic Cordillera. In addition to Angilaaq Mountain, Malik Mountain, Mount St. Hans, and Mount Thule are notable. Tay Bay is on the west coast. Vertical cliffs along the coastline are made up of Precambrian dolomite. There are numerous glaciers. The western shore faces Navy Board Inlet. The island's north shore, facing Lancaster Sound, is a polar bear maternity den area.[1] Beluga, bowhead whale, harp seal, narwhal, and ringed seal frequent the area.

The island is named for the Arctic explorer Robert Bylot, who was the first European to sight it in 1616.[2] The whaling captain William Adams was the first to prove the island's insular nature in 1872.[3]

In the 2000s, Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation, began to develop a tote road from its Mary River Mine, and harbour infrastructure in Milne Bay—a small, shallow arm of at the confluence of Eclipse Sound and Navy Board Inlet which separates Bylot Island from Baffin Island.[4][5] Milne Inlet flows in a southerly direction from Navy Board Inlet at the confluence of Eclipse Sound.

Protected areas

Almost all of the island is located within Sirmilik National Park, harbouring large populations of thick-billed murres, black-legged kittiwakes and greater snow geese. The eastern area of the island is federally designated as the Bylot Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary.[6] Three areas are classified as Canadian Important Bird Areas: Cape Graham Moore, Cape Hay, and the Southwest Bylot plain.[1][7][8]

Cultural references

In 2010, a painting of Bylot Island titled "Bylot Island I" by Lawren Harris, one of the Group of Seven mid-century Canadian artists, was sold at auction for $2.8 million, one of the highest prices ever paid for a work by a Canadian artist.[9]

"The Mothership", a 5 km-wide (3-mile) wide terminal lobe of a glacier flowing down from the interior ice cap on top of the Byam Martin Mountains. Note the dramatic terminal moraine "bulldozed" at the ice front.


  1. ^ a b "Cape Hay". Archived from the original on 2011-06-12. Retrieved 2009-04-23.
  2. ^ Markham, Clements (1881). The voyages of William Baffin, 1612-1622. London: Hakluyt Society. William Baffin.
  3. ^ Mills, William James (2003). Exploring polar frontiers: a historical encyclopedia. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.
  4. ^ Klein, Greg (November 8, 2015). "Baffinland Iron Mines sets high Arctic high volume shipping record". Resource clips. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  5. ^ Gedeon, Julie (March 2, 2009). "Floating wharf gets around lack of Arctic infrastructure". Canadian Sailings. Arctic Shipping Special Report. Archived from the original on November 13, 2010.
  6. ^ "NU site 23 - Cape Graham Moore" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-04-23.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Southwest Bylot". Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
  8. ^ "NU068". Archived from the original on 2011-06-12. Retrieved 2009-04-23.
  9. ^ "Lawren Harris painting sells for $2.8-million". Retrieved 2010-05-27.

Further reading