Mercury (Hg) is a toxic heavy metal that changes into various chemical forms through geochemical processes. It is an element that occurs naturally in the environment but with industrialization, humans have altered its cycle by adding more mercury in the water, air, and soil.
The Inuit name Taloyoak describes a large stone blind that was formerly used by hunters to herd caribou for the kill. Taloyoak (population approx. 900) is west of the Boothia Peninsula, at the heart of the Northwest Passage. Formerly known as Spence Bay, the area has a long history of exploration, including the famed John Ross expeditions in the 1830s that resulted in the pinpointing of the Magnetic North Pole. Later that century, between the years of 1848 and 1860, American and British ships came to the area in search of the legendary Franklin Expedition.
Taloyoak’s present attractions are primarily its landscape, history, and fish and wildlife resources. The landscape is good for hiking. ATV or foot trails take locals and visitors to popular fishing and camping spots at nearby lakes. Artists, carvers and artisans are prolific in the area. The community based manufacturing of Spence Bay ‘packing dolls’—arctic animals dressed in duffel amautiit, carrying their young—contribute to the community’s economy.