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What’s The Closest City To The North/South Pole?

This question popped into my head the other night for no apparent reason. I wasn’t watching March of the Penguins and I definitely wasn’t scarfing down ice cream. It just seemed like something that needed looking into.

North Pole

Believe it or not, Santa’s workshop isn’t the closest settlement to the North Pole. Damn. I was really hoping to find some pictures of it.

Canadian Rangers Training Camp Near Alert, Nunavuk, Canada

However, if you are just looking for any type of town that has a name, the closest place to the North Pole is Alert, NU, Canada. According to the 2006 Canadian census, the town has a whopping 5 permanent inhabitants. Do you think everyone knows their neighbor?

The climate in Alert is not exactly what I expected. Obviously, it’s cold and that is something I expected. The “hottest” month is July and the average temperature is a balmy 37.9 degrees Fahrenheit. The thing that surprised me is that they don’t get that much snow. They average only about 6 inches of precipitation a year.

The also have 24-hour daylight from March until September. Talk about getting no sleep!

South Pole

Puerto Toro, Chile

The closest settlement to the South Pole happens to be in Chile. The town of Puerto Toro, Chile is a small fishing port at the southern most tip of South America. Believe it or not, it’s still 2,423 miles away from the South Pole!

From the most recent census, the population of the town is 36. The average high temperature in the summer (which is in January down there) is around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The average high temperature in the winter is around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Not too bad considering it’s the closest to the South Pole! They do get a lot of rain during the year, about 118 inches on average.

Well, there you have it. My curiosity has been solved! Now off to think about more strange things.

~ Adam

Additional Reading:

Wiki – Alert, NU, Canada

Wiki – Puerto Toro, Chile

photo by: hcamblor

photo by: US mission Canada


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