The news brief I read last week about the two boys who were lost in -50C temperatures while out polar bear hunting on snowmobile several weeks ago got me thinking about a once-in-a-lifetime trip I’d like to take someday. There’s several different companies based in Churchill, MB that offer polar bear sightseeing tours, which give you the chance to get up close and personal with these “Lords of the North.” I can’t imagine anything more amazing than watching them hunting and playing in their natural habitat. Churchill is located on the shores of the Hudson Bay and October to November are the best months to spot polar bears, as hundreds of them wait for the ice to freeze so they can go hunting for seal on the Arctic waters. Tour companies take visitors out on tundra buggys, which move painfully slow but are the best (and safest) way to explore this region of the world.
If you’re not game on extreme winter temperatures, then summer in Churchill is the best time to go Beluga whale watching. The town is also an outdoor adventure destination and offers everything from kayaking and scuba diving, to dog sledding and snowmobiling. Churchill was also a fur trading post for Canada’s Hudson Bay Company and the town has a rich Aboriginal history. It’s also one of the few places you’ll find with a maritime, tundra and boreal geography.
You can’t drive to Churchill but you can take a 36-hour train ride from Winnipeg, MB (or fly for 2.5 hours). The train is a great chance to meet northern folk and get a view of the many lakes and ecosystems of Manitoba. Accommodations need to be booked a year in advance as options are limited and although it’s pricey to visit (as all Northern communities are) it truly is the trip of a lifetime!
This Go Nomad website is the best I’ve found for everything Churchill related and how to plan a trip to “The Polar Bear Capital of the World.”