Canadian Geographyfilter - a curious border feature
April 16, 2007 9:49 AM   Subscribe

Canadian Geography-filter: What is with this divot in the border between Canadian territories?
posted by upc_head to Law & Government (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This map shows a lake or group of lakes in the divot. If you use the satellite/hybrid views on google maps, and zoom in as far as you can, you'll see there are indeed a few watery things there.
posted by CKmtl at 10:41 AM on April 16, 2007

Note super useful, but this site says: "The border between Nunavut and the NWT reflect land claims agreements, while the provincial/territorial borders are those remaining from before division."
posted by sindark at 10:44 AM on April 16, 2007

This map (PDF) indicates pretty clearly that the divet runs around a body of water.
posted by sindark at 10:46 AM on April 16, 2007

Best answer: The body of water is Quunnguq Lake. The 1993 act that created the boundary is here:

The relevant bit is:

thence due east to the intersection of 70o00'N latitude and 112o53'W longitude;

thence due south to the intersection of 112o53'W longitude and 69o50'N latitude;

thence due east to the intersection of 69o50'N latitude and 112o39'W longitude;

thence due north to the intersection of 112o39'W longitude and the shoreline of Quunnguq Lake at approximate 69o51'N latitude;

thence easterly, northerly and westerly following the sinuosities of the shoreline of Quunnguq Lake to the intersection of that shoreline and 112o30'W longitude at approximate 69o54'50"N latitude;

thence due north to the intersection of 112o30'W longitude and 70o00'N latitude;

thence due east to the intersection of 70o00'N latitude and 110o00'W longitude; and finally

posted by Maastrictian at 10:52 AM on April 16, 2007

According to Google Earth, the body of water in that area is called Quunnguq Lake. It is mentioned in the official Description of the Boundary of the Nunavut Settlement Area, which indicates that the border actually follows the lake shorline for some distance. So the 'divot' may actually be an imprecise rendering of a border that follows various natural features.

Googling for Quunnguq Lake doesn't provide any immediate indication of anything particularly special about it.
posted by googly at 10:53 AM on April 16, 2007

What is that link doing to my Firefox? It's like it is in a permanent hiccup without loading anything.
posted by JJ86 at 10:55 AM on April 16, 2007

It looks like the parcel of land on the western shore of Quunnguq Lake was claimed by the Inuit (specifically, the Inuvialuit) via the Western Arctic Claim in 1984. My WAG would be that since this is a different land claim from the one that created Nunavut, the Canadian government probably wanted to avoid reopening the older land claim when Nunavut's borders were negotiated, and so made the border cut south.

As to why the Inuvialuit wanted that parcel of land in the first place, that's not so clear. The 1984 agreement states:
9. (1) Inuvialuit lands selected for conveyance on passage of the Settlement Legislation nave been selected from the lands traditionally used and occupied by the Inuvialuit as shown in Annex 3, unless otherwise agreed.

9. (2) Land selections by the Inuvialuit were based on the following criteria:
(a) lands of importance to the Inuvialuit for reasons or biological productivity or traditional pursuits, including hunting, trapping and fishing;
(b) areas that may be important to the Inuvialuit for the future development of tourism or that may offer other economic opportunities for the Inuvialuit;
(c) areas of importance to the Inuvialuit because of the production of the wildlife and protection of the habitat;
(d) historic Inuvialuit sites or burial grounds;
(e) any areas that might be used by new Inuvialuit communities to be created in the future:
(f) lands that do not contain proved oil and gas reserves;
(g) lands that were not privately owned and lands that did not constitute public works as of July 13, 1978.
So, basically, it was a parcel of land that the Inuvialuit had been using traditionally and that didn't have any private owners or petroleum resources.
posted by Johnny Assay at 11:44 AM on April 16, 2007

Just to be precise... According to Index Mundi, Quunngug Lake is the large body of water right on the border considerably to the east of the divot (zoom out, and use hybrid view).
posted by CKmtl at 8:34 PM on April 16, 2007

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