Churchill in Northern Manitoba, Canada holds a very special place in my heart….. And is probably to this day still my most favourite place in the world! Why? Well, there is nothing quite like staring a polar bear straight in the eye and wanting to hug him whilst all he wants to do is break your neck and eat you!!!
Churchill is for the time being only accessible by plane. Until March 2017, you could also take a very long train ride there from Winnipeg (48 hours!), but since the storm the train track is for now out of action making Churchill an even more exclusive experience.
The hotels – probably about 5 of them in total are open for the beluga whales in July and August and ‘Bear Season’ – October – November when the polar bears of the Hudson Bay converge on Churchill waiting for the sea ice to freeze and their chance to access the food that they have been starved of since July. Churchill is the first place that the Hudson Bay freezes and therefore the first opportunity the bears get to go and hunt for the seals. The end of Bear Season in Churchill is not an exact science. Some years it comes early, and other years it can even be as late as the first week in December.
In summer, when the ice thaws – usually by Canada Day on the 1st July, the polar bears gather one by one – some with their young cubs in tow, and just hang out in the bay. If the odd beluga whale happens to come their way, then they take the opportunity to kill and eat it, but they are mainly waiting. Trying to preserve their energy until their next chance to hunt comes. And of course, summer is also the time of year when approximately 3000 beluga whales descend on Churchill. Hudson Bay has exactly the right kind of food for belugas it seems!!
Churchill is one of those rare places in the world where you get to observe nature in its purest form! And if you’re lucky, you should also get to see the Northern Lights as this is also one of the best places to witness them.
The photos below are a collection taken in both the summer and winter in Churchill.