Top Ten Canada Classic Adventures

See the Churchill Polar Bears
By Bill McRae
Polar bears near Churchill
Can't bear to leave: See the top of the Arctic food chain

Cruising high above the arctic tundra, you spy patches of white on the white. In your heated buggy, you come in for a closer look and then see the polar bears, some of the largest carnivores on earth, prowling around in the snow.

Churchill, Manitoba, is the most accessible place to see the giants, but that's not saying much. Getting here requires planning, resolve, and a strong sense of adventure. But the sight is amazing. The bears come here to the water's edge from early September through mid-October to fatten up on seals before taking to their den and bearing young. Travelers are permitted to visit these sites by joining authorized tour groups, where you may get up close and personal in the comfort (and safety) of your tundra buggy.

Most Churchill travelers will spend a couple days viewing polar bears, and perhaps sign onto other wildlife-viewing trips—in search of the bay's beluga whales perhaps, or a birding trip focused on rare Arctic waterfowl and gulls. Boat and helicopter tours take history buffs to a reconstructed Hudson's Bay Company fur-trading post, Fort Prince of Wales, or to York Factory National Historic Site, another fur-trading fort established in 1682.


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