About 200 people gathered Wednesday in Resolute Bay, Nunavut, for an open house to celebrate the 51st anniversary of the Polar Continental Shelf Program, which helps researchers in Canada's Arctic.

Those who attended Wednesday's celebrations included scientists, residents in the remote High Arctic hamlet, as well as Brig.-Gen. David Millar from the Canadian Forces and Dr. Steve McLean, president of the Canadian Space Agency.

The Polar Continental Shelf Program, a federal government program, organizes transportation, equipment and other logistical services for scientists and other researchers working in Canada's North.

From its facility in Resolute Bay, the program has supported more than 1,100 researchers from Canada and around the world.

Recently, it supported about 155 research projects during International Polar Year last year.

The community of Resolute Bay is one of three Nunavut communities vying to host a new world-class research station in the High Arctic.

Pond Inlet and Cambridge Bay are also in the running to host the federal government facility.

'We have a good facility'

During the anniversary celebrations, Polar Continental Shelf Program director Marty Bergmann declined to wade into the debate into which community should host the research station.

"Certainly we have a good facility here in Resolute, it creates some capacity," Bergmann said Wednesday.

"However, in terms of any particular location, any step to improve our existing configuration would be fantastic, so [there's] no particular preference from my part."

An evaluation committee visited all three communities last month. A decision is not expected to be announced for at least another year.