Polar bears

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.

A curious polar bear in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.

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

Churchill Nature Tours

Specialist in nature study tours in the Churchill region since 1985. Top-quality and expert leadership provides the maximum experience of this unique landscape and its resources. Adventures for expert or novice naturalists. Birdwatching tours in June; beluga whales and wildflowers in July and August; polar bear safaris in October and November. All-inclusive packages from Winnipeg. Service en français.

Box 429, Erickson, Mb R0J 0P0

Call (Tollfree): 1-877-636-2968
Call: (204) 636-2968
Fax: (204) 636-2557
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Churchill Northern Studies Centre

Churchill Northern Studies Centre is an independent, non-profit research station located along the coast of Hudson Bay. It offers nature study tours of the sub-arctic, ranging from polar bears to beluga whales, wildflowers to northern lights. Courses are led by qualified instructors and proceeds support research and education in the Canadian sub-arctic. The CNSC also hosts school and youth group visits, university credit courses and ecological research initiatives. Facility tours available. Admission charged. Tel. 204-675-2307 Fax: 204-675-2139 Website: www.churchillscience.ca E-mail: cnsc@churchillscience.ca Location: Rocket Launch Road, 24 km/15 mi. east of Churchill.

Box 610, Churchill, Mb R0B 0E0

Call: (204) 675-2307
Fax: (204) 675-2139
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Churchill Wild

The world’s most unique polar bear experience. The only fly-in ecolodge based adventures on the Hudson Bay coast. On the ground hiking and polar bear viewing in summer and fall, whale watching and swims, photo safaris, northern lights, moose, caribou migration, wolves and much more. A true Arctic Safari! Wildly remote with exclusive experiences. Touch the Arctic! Churchill Wild owns four fly-in lodges along the Hudson Bay coast, and offers a variety of wildlife viewing tours from July to November: Seal River Heritage Lodge Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge Dymond Lake Lodge North Knife Lake Lodge

Suite 204 - 1 Rivard Street, Ile Des Chenes, Mb R0A 0T0

Call (Tollfree): 1-866-846-9453
Call: (204) 878-5090
Fax: (204) 878-5099
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Frontiers North Adventures

Frontiers North Adventures has been offering life-changing adventures in Canada's North for over 30 years. Our expert-guided programs are geared towards wildlife & culture enthusiasts, photographers and adventurers of all ages. Owners and operators of Tundra Buggy Adventures, Frontiers North Adventures is renowned for having the best access in the world to wild polar bears, and our polar bear-based adventures were selected in 2011 as an inaugural Canadian Tourism Commission Signature Experience. Our most popular destination is Churchill, Manitoba, which boasts incredible sights and wildlife such as beluga whales, phenomenal northern lights and, of course, the great polar bear. Join us for an authentic arctic experience in Canada's north.

140 Kesley Blvd, Churchill, Mb R0B 0E0

Call (Tollfree): 1-800-663-9832
Call: (204) 949-2050
Fax: (204) 667-1051
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Great White Bear Tours Inc.

In fall, full-day tours to see polar bears, arctic fox, ptarmigan, gyrfalcon, snowy owl, caribou. Sleep with the polar bears near the shore of the Hudson Bay or watch the aurora borealis on our polar rovers. Come visit us and experience the breathtaking tundra and polar bears from our lodge which sleeps 32.

1441 Waverley Street, Winnipeg, Mb R3T 0P7

Call (Tollfree): 1-866-765-8344
Call: (204) 476-7633 or (204) 479-1112
Fax: (204) 487-7463
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Heartland International Travel & Tours

Heartland Travel is a full service Destination Management Company (DMC) operating our own unique tours. Some of those unique tours include: Churchill Polar Bear Adventure Day Tours from Winnipeg, Hermetic Code tours of the Manitoba Legislative Building and Magical Musical History (Rock & Roll) tours. We can arrange incoming tour services for your group that include accommodations in Winnipeg and throughout Manitoba, transportation needs, themed events and unique full day or half day sightseeing tours. We have won the Service Excellence Tourism Award as well as the Partnership Award with Travel Manitoba. We have over 30 years experience in the travel and tour industry and look forward to serving your needs.

202 - 3111 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Mb R3K 0W4

Call (Tollfree): 1-866-890-3377
Call: (204) 989-9630
Fax: (204) 989-9636
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Lazy Bear Expeditions

Lazy Bear Expeditions offers all inclusive, unique adventures to see the iconic wildlife of the north, including both the Polar Bears and Beluga Whales. Welcome home to Lazy Bear Expeditions, Churchill's charming and cozy accommodations. Fall and Summer Adventures include accommodations and meals at Lazy Bear Lodge and Café. All rooms have two double beds, private bath and shower, non-smoking, cable TV. Transfers and baggage handling included. Lazy Bear Expeditions are as unique and memorable as Churchill itself.

Box 880, 313 Kelsey Blvd., Churchill, Mb R0B 0E0

Call (Tollfree): 1-866-687-2327
Call: (204) 663-9377
Fax: (204) 663-8169
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Rail Travel Tours

A relaxing rail tour exploring the Northern Manitoba rail network on a memorable vacation to Churchill. View the northern lights in the spring, beluga whales in summer or Polar Bears in fall. Visit Winnipeg for a few days before travelling to see Canada by rail. Or let us organize a Manitoba rail tour for your group featuring wildlife, history, culture, shopping and more.

123 Main Street, Box 44, Winnipeg, Mb R3C 1A3

Call (Tollfree): 1-866-704-3528
Call: (204) 897-9551
Fax: (204) 897-9572
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The Great Canadian Travel Company Ltd.

Weekend to two-week packaged excursion tours by air, train, motorcoach and boat to northern Manitoba and Arctic Canada. Specialists in beluga whale watching and polar bear tours to Churchill. Dog sledding, wildlife viewing programs are offered. Customized packages for groups and individuals.

164 Marion Street, Winnipeg, Mb R2H 0T4

Call (Tollfree): 1-800-661-3830
Call: (204) 949-0199
Fax: (204) 949-0188
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The Tundra Buggy® Adventure

Board an original Tundra Buggy® for an unparalleled polar bear viewing experience or sleep among the bears at our unique Tundra Buggy Lodge. Full-day polar bear tours available in October and November. Join a summer half-day or full-day tour and enjoy birds, flowers and wildlife. The Tundra Buggy is a Frontiers North product.

Box 40063 Rpo Lagimodiere, Winnipeg, Mb R2C 4P3

Call: 1 800 663 9832
Fax: (204) 667-1051
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Watchee Lodge

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 snowcoaches or travel on snowmobiles with our experienced guides. Imagine viewing the aurora borealis in the middle of the wilderness.

Box 187, Churchill, Mb R0B 0E0

Call: (204) 675-2114
Fax: (204) 675-2185
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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.

Conservation efforts

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.

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