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Rankin Inlet, Nunavut (Canada)

Kangiqiniq / ᑲᖏᕿᓂᖅ

Last modified: 2018-07-04 by rob raeside
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[Rankin Inlet flag] 1:2 image by Eugene Ipavec
Source: Canadian City Flags, Raven 18

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Rankin Inlet

The flag of the Hamlet of Rankin Inlet bears the image of the old head-frame of the nickel mine. Not much remains of the mine today, but some equipment, including the ball mills; occupy a hill near the community power plant. Part of the old site is now being used for recreation – home to the Rankin Inlet Co-Ed Softball League.
A large grey building on the southeast side of Johnston’s Cove is the “Con Shed”. The nickel ore concentrate from the original mine was pumped into containers in the Con Shed. This building is located on the southeast side of Johnston’s Cove. From here, the containers were put into ships and carried to refineries in the south. Today the building is a government storage facility.
In Rankin, an intense sense of local pride in mining remains, passed down from the original miners of Nunavut.
Jens Pattke, 2 October 2013

Rankin Inlet is named for Lt. John Rankin, of the sloop Furnace, on British explorer Christopher Middleton’s 1741 voyage seeking the Northwest Passage. The name “Rankin Inlet” was adopted for the settlement 2 October 1958; the Hamlet of Rankin Inlet incorporated in January 1975.
Mark S. Ritzenhein, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011

Current Flag

Text and image(s) from Canadian City Flags, Raven 18 (2011), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) by permission of Eugene Ipavec.


The flag of the Hamlet of Rankin Inlet (Kangiqliniq) is a Canadian pale design of yellow-black-yellow, with a rectangular device in the centre nearly the full height of the flag and half the width of the central black square. The device is a grey rectangle bordered in yellow, with a yellow horizontal band one-eighth of its height at about the lower third. The band divides the rectangle into upper and lower panels. A narrow black line outlines both panels. In the upper panel is a silhouette of a mine head (a tall building with a peaked roof) in white with a window near the top in black. Surmounting it, half the height of the upper panel, is an inukshuk (traditional native stone landmark or cairn) in yellow with black details. Both stand on the base of the upper panel. Surmounting the band and extending into the upper and lower panels are crossed tools in white with yellow heads and black details, heads downward—on the left a long-handled miner’s pick, on the right a kakivak (Inuit tridented fishing spear). On the band are two inscriptions: on the left MUNICIPALITY OF RANKIN INLET in black sans-serif letters on three lines, on the right two lines of Inuktitut syllabic characters with the same meaning, in black.
Mark S. Ritzenhein, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


Rankin Inlet began as the company town for the North Rankin Nickel Mine, which operated from 1957 to 1962 and whose prominent mine head still dominates the skyline. It was never an Inuit campsite— it lacks hunting or fishing opportunities. The yellow bars may indicate gold (or mining in general, as copper and nickel are the primary ores there); the black of the central panel is likely just for contrast. The inukshuk figure represents Rankin Inlet’s giant inukshuk, constructed in 1991 by artist Joe Nattar (the largest in Canada, although depicted on the flag in compressed form to mirror the slender mine head). The Nunavut territorial flag also bears an inukshuk. The pick and spear represent mining and fishing.
Mark S. Ritzenhein, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011 


The flag was adopted by precedent of usage, both formal and informal. The current flag was created as a form of civic boosterism. Rankin Inlet is “all business”, constantly promoting itself as a development and tourist destination. Likely designed in 1991 after the inukshuk which appears on it was constructed, the flag flew at the first sitting of Nunavut’s Legislative Assembly on 1 April 1999.
   All such NWT/Nunavut civic flags were designed in 1985 for the Northwest Territories Exhibition Hall at Vancouver’s Expo ’86, at the initiative of heraldry enthusiast Michael Moore, then a deputy minister at the NWT Department of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA). The side-bar colours of these Canadian pale designs vary from dark blue, to green, to brown, and to bright red. The ovoid civic logo of Arviat was likely derived from a Canadian Community Newspaper Association logo, awarded in 1983 to News North, the primary newspaper of the Canadian Arctic, and printed on its masthead for many years.
Mark S. Ritzenhein, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011 


Mark S. Ritzenhein, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011

Former Flag

[Rankin Inlet flag] 1:2 image by Eugene Ipavec
Source: Canadian City Flags, Raven 18

The first Rankin Inlet flag is a Canadian pale design of green-white-green, with an inua symbol of a double snow goose (Anser caerulescens) in the centre, in blue. The traditional native inua, or human-like spirit encased within an animal totem, suggests that all creatures have a spirit similar and equal to the human one. (The snow goose comes in a “blue” version, as well as pure white, depending upon the season, but it is the same creature.) It was designed by artist Nicholas Irkootee. He had designed the snow goose inua used around Rankin Inlet before 1985 on T-shirts and town signage. Rob Butler, graphic artist at Inkit Graphics in Yellowknife, NWT, used Irkootee’s design, unchanged, on the 1985 flag.
Mark S. Ritzenhein, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011