Courtesy John R. Bockstoce

Courtesy John R. Bockstoce

Whalers’ Graves Territorial Historic Site

Statement of Significance

The Government of the Northwest Territories has designated the two whalers’ gravesites at Balaena Bay, Perry Peninsula, a Territorial Historic Site. Two upright, ornate wooden headboards mark this site. They mark the death of eight men from the Grampus and Balaena whale ships in 1895-1896.

These graves are poignant reminders of the profitable and dramatic industry in Canada’s western arctic. The western arctic was the last frontier of the world whaling industry, and its final flourish before declining in the early 1900’s. The whalers’ graves headboards are handsome, ornate remains of the era, and two of the few remaining examples of their type.

  • Ornate woodcarving
  • Metal and wooden finials
  • Legible inscription of the headboard
  • Location over the whalers’ burial site with an expansive view from the shore to the sea.
  • Bockstoce, John R. Report on a Survey for Whalers’ Graves New Bedford: New Bedford Whaling Museum, 1979
  • Francis, Daniel. Arctic Chase: A History of Whaling in Canada’s North. St. John’s: Breakwater Books, 1984
  • Government of the Northwest Territories. Historical Resources Act R.R.N.W.T. 1990,c.H-39. Yellowknife, 2006.