Churchill is one of the few human settlements where polar bears can be observed in the wild. Thousands of visitors from around the world visit each fall for the excitement of seeing these magnificent animals.
Prime viewing times are in October and November, when the bears begin their move from their summer habitat on the tundra back to seal-hunting territory – the pack ice that forms every winter over Hudson Bay. You can also see bears during summer and winter. Find out more about when to go.
There are many different ways to see Churchill’s polar bears. Unique local tundra vehicles, designed to move smoothly over snow and ice, protect passengers from curious or hungry bears. You can also stay at a wilderness lodge (complete with protective fence) built on the bears’ migration route, canoe Seal River, or take guided walks to areas the bears frequent.
Find a tour guide
Certain tour guides offer tours year-round and have a very high success rate for seeing polar bears outside of the prime viewing season. For more information on seeing bears outside peak times, contact the tour guides directly.
Churchill Nature Tours
Box 429, Erickson, MB R0J 0P0
Churchill Northern Studies Centre
High quality learning adventure study tours to Churchill led by scientists and researchers on birding, arctic wildlife, winter survival, northern lights, astronomy, beluga whales and polar bears. Other tours also offered through Road Scholar.
Box 610, Churchill, MB R0B 0E0
Suite 204D – 1 Rivard Street
Ile Des Chenes
Frontiers North Adventures
Box 40063 RPO Lagimodière, Winnipeg, MB R2C 4P3
The Great Canadian Travel Company Ltd.
Weekend to two-week packaged excursion tours by air, motorcoach, or boat to northern Manitoba. Specialists in beluga whale watching, and polar bear tours to Churchill. Dog sledding, wildlife viewing programs.
164 Marion Street, Winnipeg, MB R2H 0T4
Great White Bear Tours, Inc.
Box 91, Churchill, MB R0B 0E0
Heartland International Travel & Tours
202-3111 Portage Ave, Winnipeg, MB R3K 0W4
Lazy Bear Lodge
Inclusive polar bear and beluga whale tours. Snorkel and kayak up close with belugas. Wilderness rafting tours from tree line to tundra. Stay at the magnificent LAZY BEAR LODGE, handcrafted locally from unique boreal forest logs.
Box 880, Churchill, MB R0B 0E0
Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge
The wildest and most remote polar bear adventure available. Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge offers on-the-ground access for polar bear hikes, wildlife viewing, northern lights and taiga forest within the Cape Tatnum Wildlife Management area on the Hudson Bay coastline.
Suite 204D – 1 Rivard Street
Ile Des Chenes
Rail Travel Tours
Packages travelling by train round trip on VIA’s Winnipeg to Churchill train enjoying belugas (July & August) or polar bears group departure (October) where everything is prepared for you. Sleeping car accommodation on the train enjoying the scenery along the way, knowledgeable local guides, hotel stay in Churchill, detailed itinerary, info kit and more.
123 Main Street, Box 44, Winnipeg, MB R3C 1A3
The Tundra Buggy® Adventure
Box 40063 RPO Lagimodière, Winnipeg MB R2C 4P3
Explore Churchill Wildlife Management Area and the Wapusk National Park in search of female polar bears and their young cubs leaving the denning area, in the comfort of heated tracked snow coaches or travel on snowmobiles with our experienced guides.
Box 187, Churchill, MB R0B 0E0
About Churchill’s polar bears
Frequently called “Lords of the Arctic”, these spectacular animals are huge. Male polar bears can grow to more than 600 kg (1,320 lbs) and stand 3.05 metres (10 feet) tall. But don’t let their massive size fool you – these white bears can move with surprising speed and agility.
With a highly acute sense of smell, they are also skilled hunters that can pick up a scent from over 30 kilometres away, and can detect the presence of seals under three feet of snow and ice. Polar bears have no natural enemies and consequently no fear.
A new mark-recapture study undertaken by Canadian Wildlife Service indicates that there are between 900 and 1,000 polar bears in the western Hudson Bay population.
Companies offering polar bear experiences adhere to strict guidelines through Manitoba Conservation, for example, limiting the number of tundra vehicles operating in and around Churchill.
The number of commercial tour operators and the number of vehicles permitted on the high-use areas east of the town site continues to be restricted. Measures are also taken to restrict travel to existing trails and designate some areas as off-limits.
For additional information, visit Manitoba Conservation.