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Hornaday River facts for kids

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Hornady River
Country Canada
Physical characteristics
Main source South of Bluenose Lake (Takipaq), Nunavut
River mouth Amundsen Gulf, Northwest Territories
Sea level
69°19′50″N 123°47′41″W / 69.33056°N 123.79472°W / 69.33056; -123.79472 (Hornady River (mouth))
Length 190 km (120 mi)
Basin features
Basin size 13,120 km2 (5,070 sq mi)

Hornaday River (variants: Big River, Homaday River, Hornaaa River; or Rivière La Roncière-le Noury) is a waterway located above the Arctic Circle on the mainland of Northern Canada.

The upper reach of a river first discovered in 1868 was named Rivière La Roncière-le Noury in honour of Admiral Baron Adalbert Camille Marie Clément de La Roncière-Le Noury, commander of the Mediterranean Squadron, and president of the Société de Géographie. The lower reach of a river discovered in 1899 was named Hornaday after American zoologist William Temple Hornaday. Decades later, the Roncière and the Hornaday were ascertained to be the same river.


The river originates (67°52′10″N 120°13′16″W / 67.86944°N 120.22111°W / 67.86944; -120.22111 (Hornady River (head))) in the western Kitikmeot Region, Nunavut, 20 kilometres (12 mi) south of Bluenose Lake (Takipaq). It initially flows west-southwest, passing into the Northwest Territories along the southern edge of the Melville Hills within the Settlement Region of the Inuvialuit, just south of the Tuktut Nogait National Park boundary. It then flows northwest through Tuktut Nogait, its canyons and waterfalls making it one of the main features of the park. The river empties into Amundsen Gulf's Darnley Bay, 14 kilometres (9 mi) east of the Inuit hamlet of Paulatuk.

The Hornaday is approximately 190 kilometres (120 mi) long. Its main tributary is the Little Hornaday River northwest of the park. First Creek, Second Creek, Aklak Creek, George Creek, and Rummy Creek drain the Hornaday. Rummy Lake (69°07′31″N 123°30′08″W / 69.12528°N 123.50222°W / 69.12528; -123.50222 (Rummy Lake (Hornady River))), Seven Islands Lake (69°17′02″N 123°00′16″W / 69.28389°N 123.00444°W / 69.28389; -123.00444 (Seven Islands Lake (Hornady River))), and Hornaday Lake are part of the river's system. Hornaday River runs parallel with the Horton River to its west, and the Brock River to its east.

Located at an elevation of 274 metres (899 ft) above sea level, La Roncière Falls (69°08′16″N 122°52′37″W / 69.13778°N 122.87694°W / 69.13778; -122.87694 (La Roncière Falls (Hornady River))) is a 23-metre (75 ft) waterfall on the Hornaday, south of the main tributary. Its name was adopted by the Geographical Names Board of Canada in June 1952.

Natural history

The area is part of the Arctic, Interior and Hudson Platforms. Deposit characteristics are coal seam.

The river's drainage basin includes the area between Great Bear Lake and the Arctic Ocean. Its middle course supports a wide channel for 65 kilometres (40 mi). The river's stretches include a broad bedrock valley, bedrock canyons, and a delta into the Arctic Ocean. Its tundra has a permafrost layer 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) below the surface which minimizes groundwater flow and storage, forcing rainstorm flow directly into the river.

Flora along the river is characterized by typical tundra vegetation such as sedge and lupine meadows, and some willow patches along the lower Hornaday. While a dense cover of spruce is found along the nearby Horton River, there are no spruce along the Hornaday.

Arctic charr, plentiful, are monitored by the Paulatuk community. Commercial fishing occurred between 1968 through 1986, sports fishing occurred in 1977 and 1978, while currently, the Hornaday is only a food fishery. Other fish species with the river include Arctic cisco, Arctic grayling, broad whitefish, burbot, longnose sucker, and nine-spined stickleback. Capelin are an abundant food source for the fish species.

The bluenose barren-ground caribou herd's calving grounds are west of the Hornaday River, south to the Little Hornaday River.



Hundreds of archaeological sites have been found along the Hornaday within Tuktut Nogait from Thule culture times or earlier. Most of the campsites are temporary, seasonal, or multi-generational. They include markers, rock alignments, hearths, hunting blinds, meat-drying areas, and artifacts, such as komatik parts.


An old coal mine site (69°10′N 123°22′W / 69.167°N 123.367°W / 69.167; -123.367 (Coal mine (Hornady River))), both open-pit mining and underground, is located on the west side of the Hornaday River, north of the junction between George Creek and Rummy Creek, and 32 kilometres (20 mi) southeast of Paulatuk. It operated during the period of 1936 to 1941.

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