2019 CHURCHILL & POLAR BEARS
Great Canadian Travel Company
Looking out onto the snowy tundra, we spy them, white on white. Alternately regal and whimsical and always awe-inspiring, polar bears in the wild offer a natural encounter charged with drama and magic. In our custom Polar Rover vehicles we can approach at close range without disturbing them, offering a chance for an incredibly moving wildlife experience. From our heated confines, or standing on the outdoor platform, we may see mothers with cubs, young males play-fighting, or a huge, solitary male ambling over the tundra. There’s no better time than now to see the King of the Arctic!
In case of flight or weather delays, we recommend that you arrive a day early and either participate in our Extra Day in Winnipeg program or stay on your own. Our small group tour begins with a 7:00pm welcome dinner on Day 1. You are free to depart at any time on the final day.
Day 1: One Day Early in Winnipeg
Arrive one day early as suggested for their “extra day in Winnipeg” excursions. Transfer to the historic Fort Garry Hotel, grande dame of Winnipeg hospitality. Meet your expedition leader to plan for tomorrow’s ‘extra day’ activities.
Day 2/1: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Our Churchill polar bear tour begins in Winnipeg, once a fur-trading post and boomtown for the Canadian Pacific Railway; today Manitoba’s cultural and commercial capital at the eastern edge of Canada’s vast prairies. Take part in whatever extra activities are included in the extra day. Then meet with your Expedition Leader and the other guests at an orientation dinner this evening.
Day 3/2: Winnipeg / Churchill
Fly to Churchill this morning. This hospitable outpost town, originally a fur-trading post, is our base for adventure. On the 6-day trip we head to the tundra this evening for our first glimpse of the bears, though we often see them from the bus as we leave the airport, even before we board our Polar Rover. Our 7-day trip opens with an evening presentation on polar bears and the northern environs by our staff of naturalists and scientists.
Day 4/3 & 5/4: Polar Bear Viewing
Uniquely designed Polar Rovers are our mobile means for spending time among the bears. Though they are built to accommodate up to 35 passengers, we take a maximum of just 16, ensuring everyone a window seat. Our Leaders know the best places to see polar bears, which congregate in the region each fall as they wait for the Hudson Bay to freeze, signaling the start of the winter seal-hunting season. As we watch them interact, we’re delighted by their antics and rugged beauty. From the warmth of our vehicle we may see mothers with cubs, young males play-fighting, or a lone bear ambling over the tundra in solitary majesty. Our Leader offers interpretation along the way, explaining the bears’ behavior and how they thrive in such a harsh environment. In the evenings we’ll meet for dinner followed by presentations on wildlife or local culture.
Day 6/5: Explore Around Churchill / Evening on the Tundra
On the 7-day trip, we tour historic Churchill then head out to the tundra for evening bear viewing and dinner aboard the vehicle. During the day we may visit local sled dogs enroute to Cape Merry where we often see Arctic fox and Arctic hare. If the skies are clear, our nighttime tundra excursion might reveal one of nature’s most exhilarating experiences – a chance to view the northern lights away from the glare of town. Though they are never predictable, the auroral display often starts as a white glow in the northern sky, then begins to flicker and dance in shimmering curtains of color.
Day 7/6: Churchill / Winnipeg
Our return flights are scheduled to depart in the mid- to late afternoon to offer as much time as possible for exploring Churchill today. Pick up last-minute native handicrafts and souvenirs or, if time permits, take an optional helicopter tour over the tundra or an authentic dog sled excursion. We enjoy a farewell lunch in Churchill before flying back to Winnipeg where we have a final deception before our adventure concludes.
Day 8/7: Winnipeg / home
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flights home.