Parry, Sir William Edward National Historic Person

Melville Island, Northwest Territories
Parry ranks among the great navigators for penetrating the Arctic Archipelago, for showing how ships can survive and men work through an arctic winter (© Library and Archives Canada)
Sir William Edward Parry
(© Library and Archives Canada)
Address : Melville Island, Northwest Territories

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1971-10-14
Life Date: 1790 to 1855

Other Name(s):
  • Parry, Sir William Edward  (Designation Name)
Research Report Number: 2006-CED-SDC-25

Importance: Arctic explorer, led three Northwest Passage expeditions


No plaque in place, recommended location:  Melville Island, Northwest Territories

Edward Parry of the Royal Navy led three British expeditions in search of the North West Passage. The most significant (1819-20) took him through Lancaster Sound to the southwest tip of Melville Island, the furthest penetration till then of the Arctic archipelago. Icebound for 10 months at Winter Harbour, Parry successfully pioneered many of the techniques of Arctic survival. His two later voyages, to Foxe Basin and Prince Regent Inlet, added much to the knowledge of the northern coast, while the information he gathered from the Inuit became the basis of many subsequent writings on the Arctic and its people.