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Canadian Forces Station Inuvik:

Opened on 12 March 1961 as Naval Radio Station Inuvik, replacing the former NRS Aklavik. Located 123 miles north of the Arctic Circle, NRS Inuvik served as a communications research station, part of Canada’s National Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) organization.  Initially a tender of HMCS Gloucester near Ottawa, the station also served as a search and rescue centre for the northern region.

On 10 September 1963, the name of the station was changed to Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Inuvik.

As a result of the Unification, the station was re-named CFS Inuvik in 1966.

On 1 April 1970, Inuvik turned its transmitter site over to the the Department of Transport for use as a Telecommunications station as a part of the station’s conversion to a micro-wave relay network station, which went active the following fall.

As a result of a modernization of communications, CFS Inuvik closed on 1 April 1986, despite the objections of the Town of Inuvik. The base had a compliment of 267 personnel and at that time was the largest military installation in the northern Canada. It was feared that the closure of the base would be devastating to the town and about 700 people did end up leaving the town.

In compensation, a Forward Operating Location was established at the Inuvik Airport, a pre-deployment staging ground for CF-18 fighter jets.

The remainder of the station property was turned over to Department of Transport.

Some of the former station’s buildings remain in use by the Town of Inuvik, including many of the PMQs.  The transmitter and receiver sites remain in use by the Department of Transportation.

Nothing remains of the operation site today, which was located at the end of Navy Road, north of Inuvik.

Source material: “Sentinel” Magazine from August 1974 & “Badges of the Canadian Navy” by LT (N) Graeme Arbuckle, Communications & Electronics Museum site – www.c-and-e-museum.org, Town of Inuvik web site – http://inuvik.ca/living-in-inuvik/community-profile/inuvik-history, Sentinel magazine, July-August 1970, Radio Communication and Signals Intelligence in the Royal Canadian Navy web site – http://jproc.ca/rrp/inuvik.html & Canada’s National Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) organization web site – http://www.tscm.com/cse.html.


Naval Radio Station Aklavik:

Opened in 1949 as a radio station in Canada’s National Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) organization. The station closed in March 1961 and personnel transferred to the new facility at NRS Inuvik. The property was turned over to the Department of Transport on 9 August 1961.

Nothing remains of the former station today.

Source Material: Canada’s national Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) organization web site – http://www.tscm.com/cse.html, Communications & Electronics Museum site – www.c-and-e-museum.org. & information supplied by the Aklavik Band Council.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/abandoned-canadian-military-bases/abandoned-bases/northwest-territories/


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  1. Alfred Aquilina

    Hi Bruce,

    I found this brief insertion interesting. I’ve lived in both Aklavik and Inuvik (1975-1980), then in Fort Smith, NWT until 1982. There were remnants of the the military presence in Aklavik (quonset hut, among other things) in Aklavik as I recall. When I went there in ’75, part of my job was to oversee the management of the Aklavik Old Folks Home. The building (which was torn down and the home rebuilt) used for the home was in fact, one left over from the military station there.

    Of course, when the Town of Inuvik was built, it was supposed to replace Aklavik, as it was predicted that Aklavik would eventually erode into the West Channel of the Mackenzie River. A hand-painted sign at the Aklavik air strip at that time proudly sported the phrase, “Never Say Die”. And, as far as I know, it never did.

    When my position took my family and me to Inuvik, I had professional and social contact with members of the CAF and their families. That station was very much alive during the 1970s and played a significant role in the development of Inuvik. I have a few old photos of some of the military activity in my book, The Mackenzie, Yesterday and Beyond.

    As always, I enjoyed reading your brief notations on Aklavik and Inuvik.

    Alfred Aquilina

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Alfred,

      Thank you as always for stopping by my web site. I would be interested in any photos that you have for use on the web site. I have FINALLY started loading photos onto this web site.


  2. Jette Claude

    I used to work as a military ( Communication researcher )at CFS Inuvik. ( 1974-75-76 ) I do remembered father Adam making ice sculpture in front of our base camp. I spent great time up there, until i left the armed forces to returned back at the university of Montreal. I worked as a financial analyst until i retired in 2013. Always nice to ear news from that era.

    Claude Jette

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Jette,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site and for sharing your story. It’s always nice to hear from those who have served at the bases listed on the web site. If you have any photos of Inuvik that you wish to share, I’d love to see them.


  3. Rock

    The station is still operational today – CAF does still man the station. The town of Inuvik still lives with bars and hotels and movie rental places….

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Rock,

      I just wanted to clarify that you are talking about the Naval Communications station, not the Forward Operating Location at the Inuvik Airport?


  4. Rock

    I was refering to the FOB at the airport.

  5. Brian Caughey

    Hello Bruce,

    My father was stationed at Aklavik in the early 1960’s. I was there as a very young boy with my mother also. I remember the move to Inuvik and heard from relatives that the major Canadian newspapers were referring to Aklavik as “the town that sank in the mud.” What I remember most about the move to Inuvik was the huge sleds that the navy was using to haul personal belongings and the big snow cats they used to pull them. The nicest thing about our new place in Inuvik was that we had running water! In Aklavik our water was cut from the McKenzie river and kept on a table outside. I probably have some old photos around (if I can find them). Anyway, I appreciated your article; I found it interesting if a bit nostalgic!


    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Brian,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site and for the good words. I’m glad that I brought back some memories. You can send any photos you wish to share to bruce@militarybruce.com.


    2. Aj johnson

      Did you know know the Johnson’s ?? My grandfather was stationed there with 14 kids

  6. Dale Hie

    I was a young Military Policeman, stationed at CFS Inuvik from 1975 – 1977. My wife, Wanda Hie, was the very first servicewoman to be stationed there. I will always cherish the memories from being there. Sadly, Wanda passed away on 3 Nov 16. She had just turned 60 on 31st of Oct.. We divorced in 1984, but we still remained the best of friends. Inuvik will always hold special memories for me.

    Dale Hie (ex-Military Policeman)

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Dale,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. If you have any photos that you wish to share, please send them to bruce@militarybruce.com.


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