Highlights and main attractions of Churchill
On the shores of Hudson Bay, Manitoba, sits the small outpost town of Churchill, a frozen frontier with a population of about 1,000, at the top of many wildlife enthusiasts’ lists. This is where you have the highest chance of seeing the King of the Arctic in his natural habitat, as he roams the tundra waiting for the ‘Big Freeze’.
Each year, by the end of July, the ice throughout Hudson Bay melts completely, effectively stranding the polar bears on land. This natural process results in the bears needing sufficient fat reserves to survive approximately four months without access to their principle food source - seals. Unable to go out and hunt for these blubbery critters, they roam the land, sometimes coming into the town in search of food. October and early November, the bay begins to freeze once more and thousands of bears congregate on the peninsula and, despite being thought of as solitary animals, some form temporary friendships and can be seen play-fighting on the tundra. This is the best time to visit, before it is again each bear for themself as they can finally set out again onto the frozen ice in search of seals. This process is unique to Churchill, as in more northerly areas the ice does not melt completely so the bears can go about their daily lives without interruption.
The focus of many wildlife documentaries, films and photo shoots, Churchill is known as the ‘Polar Bear Capital of the World’.