Core 86027-144 (74°15.56′N, 91°14.21′W) represents a rare, continuous record of Late Pleistocene to Holocene sediments from High Arctic Canada extending from the end of the Last Glaciation. Based on microfossils (dinocysts, non-pollen palynomorphs, benthic and planktonic foraminifera), foraminiferal δ18O and δ13C, and sedimentology, seven palaeoenvironmental zones were identified. Zone I (>10.8 cal. ka BP) records deglaciation, ice-sheet destabilization, float-off and subsequent break-up. Zone II (c. 10.8–10.4 cal. ka BP) shows ice-proximal to ice-distal glaciomarine conditions, interrupted by pervasive land-fast sea-ice marked by a hiatus in coarse sediment deposition. Significant biological activity starts in Zone III (10.4–9.9 cal. ka BP), where planktonic foraminifera (Neogloboquadrina pachyderma) suggest early oceanic throughflow. Surface waters flowed NW–SE; however, the deep-water origin remains unclear (potentially NW Arctic Ocean or Baffin Bay). Postglacial amelioration (open-water season greater than present) in Zone IV (9.9–7.8 cal. ka BP) perhaps corresponds to the regional ‘Holocene Thermal Maximum’ previously proposed. A transitional period (Zone V; 7.8–6.7 cal. ka BP) of rapid environmental change fluctuating on a scale not observed today is marked by increasing sea-ice and reduced oceanic influence. This probably signals the exclusion of deeper Atlantic water owing to the glacio-isostatic shallowing of inter-island sills, coupled with generally cooling climate. Conditions analogous to those at present, with increased sea-ice and modern microfossil assemblages, commence at c. 6.7 cal. ka BP (zones VI–VII). Although climate ultimately forces long-term environmental trends, core 86027-144 data imply that regional dynamics, especially changes in sea-level, exert a significant control on marine conditions throughout the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.