Pack everything from parkas to binoculars in your Samsonite xSpace 3 piece set required for making a unique Canadian travel connection. Due to Churchill’s remote location – no roads exist – the best way to get there is with Via Rail from Winnipeg.
Birders arrive in late May and keep coming until August for the vast migration of over 270 species of birds. Here three natural biomes (Low-Arctic Tundra, Boreal Forest, and Marine) converge. Sightings of Snowy Owls and Tundra swans or nesting Harris’s Sparrows and Smith’s Longspurs make many a birder’s lifelist or just thrill the novice watcher.
By July, the Churchill River’s ice floes begin melting and the beluga whales begin to arrive in pods. Although the smallest of the whales they are also the most communicative with whistles and clicks. During the summer months they feed, give birth, and like many of us just have a carefree summer. Their numbers can reach up to 3,000 and many of their human fans flock to the river with boats, kayaks, and canoes. Check out tour companies who arrange snorkeling trips among the whale pods. Just know they will be talking about their human interaction.
Among land mammal sightings to thrill nature lovers are Arctic and red foxes, Arctic hare, and caribou, more commonly known as reindeer.
They begin arriving in the mid summer, and stay mostly on the opposite side of the Churchill River to eat and raise their young. Come October as the cold weather intensifies and ice begins to form on the river the bears start gathering – and so do their human fans.
The bears are in search of ring seals darting under the ice, but can also smell other food up to over 10 miles away. Be aware this is not a theme park. The animals are untamed killers, and need respect for that. There are several ways to appreciate the “Lords of the Arctic” with a special tundra vehicle, at a lodge set up near their feeding grounds or canoeing the nearby Seal River.
The Wapusk National Park of Canada is another spot to observe the bears, especially for their maternity denning areas. Wapusk is the Cree Native American word for polar, and entrance is limited to tour operators only.
As the town’s population swells during the six to eight weeks of polar bear season reservations for accommodations and tours must be made six months to a year in advance.
Accommodations range from cozy B&Bs to family-run hotels and motels. Amenities are not grandiose, however many do offer wireless internet access. Fewer than ten restaurants are in town, and one is the Northern Lights named for the natural phenomenon, which occurs January through March. Also known as the the sky’s dancing light show happens when charged particles from the sun interacts with upper atmosphere atoms. Many scientists consider Churchill a top destination in the world to view the Northern Lights.
Churchill, Manitoba might be one of the tougher destinations to reach, but it is also one of the most unforgettable.
What You Need to Know about the Samsonite xSpace 3 Piece Set: