Golden Time to See Polar Bears in Churchill

Feb 20 , 2021 · 11 min read

When you get to Churchill in Manitoba, you will have plans to see the polar bears, look for Beluga whales and go sightseeing in the North Bay Area. There are plenty of parks and historical sites as well as animals and nature to enjoy. 

Here are some polar bears in Churchill places you should plan to see while you are on what is for many a trip of a lifetime. 

  • Wapusk National Park of Canada
  • Prince of Wales Fort National Historic Site of Canada
  • Cape Merry National Historic Site of Canada
  • Sloop Cove National Historic Site of Canada
  • York Factory National Historic Site of Canada

The Boreal Gardens are worth a visit to see the greenhouses and gardens growing local produce and plants. You can book a tour on Sundays in July and August and other times by appointment only. 

St Paul’s Anglican Church is the oldest still in use and is a designated historical site. 

Just out of town, you can see the MV Ithaca shipwreck, which is visible during low tide but engulfed in water during high tide. It’s not safe to go aboard, but you can walk close to the awe-inspiring vessel when the tide is out. The wreck of a freight plane called Miss Piggy is another interesting place to grab a few photos. The plane crashed in the last 70s and has been a point of interest ever since. 

There are an Eskimo museum and Cape Merry’s landmark to keep you busy and don’t forget to spend some time chatting with the locals. They welcome visitors and have amazing stories to tell. 

Where Is Churchill Manitoba?

Churchill Manitoba

The town of Churchill is in northern Manitoba in Canada. It is on the west shore of Hudson Bay about 140 km from the border of Manitoba and Nunavut provinces. 

Churchill is an isolated town and once you leave, it is 400 km south until you reach Thompson. It is about 1,000 km to reach the capital of Manitoba, Winnipeg. 

Churchill is south of the Arctic Circle and there are more polar bears than residents in this chilly, fascinating place. 

how to get to churchill manitoba

Best Time to See Polar Bears in Churchill

To get to Churchill from Winnipeg, you can fly or catch a train for a 45-hour journey that takes in fantastic scenery along the way. There is also an overnight train from Thompson that takes about 16 hours. Trains run twice a week. If you love train trips, you will enjoy gazing out the train window at the forest scenes, farmland, natural plains and small towns as you head across Northern Manitoba into the arctic tundra area as you get nearer to Churchill. 

Have your camera ready to document the incredible trip with the adventure just beginning as you finally get to your destination and are ready to witness polar bears in Churchill.

What Is Manitoba Famous For?

North Pole in Churchill

If you want to see a polar bear in its natural habitat, Manitoba is the place to go. The central province in Canada is home to so many polar bears that it’s referred to as the world’s polar bear capital.

The white bears, also affectionately called “Lords of the Arctic”, draw thousands of tourists to Manitoba every year. The town of Churchill is one of the few places in the world that is inhabited by humans and polar bears. There is a substantial population of people and furry polars, making it a unique destination. 

The bears devour seals during the winter in icy Hudson Bay. In the warmer months, they move inland and roam about freely. 

Polar bears in churchill are wild and dangerous, so you need to book a tour to admire these fantastic creatures up close. You can grab your National Geographic moment for your Instagram feed from the safety of a tundra vehicle or take a walking tour with guides if you are a brave-hearted traveler. You can even see the polar bears from a boat in the summer months or from a helicopter if you crave a truly unique and luxurious view of the polar and the spectacular landscape they inhabit.

After your trip to Manitoba, you will know all about the fascinating world of polar bears. Did you know their keen noses can pick up the scent of a seal from over 30km away? Even when the seals are swimming under cover of thick ice and deep water, they can hunt them down. 

As well as polar bears Manitoba is also well-known for beautiful natural surroundings and warm hospitality.

The Town Of Churchill In Manitoba

Polar Bears in Churchill

For nature and animal lovers, the town of Churchill in Manitoba is a place sure to impress.  You can see polar bears, beluga whales, and the Northern Lights in the town on Hudson Bay. You can also go birdwatching and discover a peaceful connection with nature or have an action-packed adventure dog sledding. 

Mother Nature blessed Churchill in a big way and as well scenic backdrops and abundant wildlife, there is lots to see and do. 

You can go on a tour to learn about the fur trade history, sample the local cuisine, or go kayaking. Visit the MV Ithaca shipwreck,  the plane wreck of Miss Piggy, or drop by The Parks Canada Visitor Reception Centre to see displays of muskets and trade items dating back to the 1700s and 1800s.

For some fresh air and exercise, there are numerous parks and historic sites outdoors, including The Prince of Wales Fort. This fort took four decades to build back in the 1700s and is a stunning way to learn about Churchill’s history with a guided tour or on your own armed with a history book. 

Winter is a striking season to visit Churchill in Manitoba’s province, but all the seasons turn on a spectacular show. 

Churchill's Restaurants In North Bay

Churchill restaurant

Exploring the great outdoors sure makes every traveler very thirsty and hungry. That is why there are many great restaurants to get your fill in Churchill. Here are our top picks of places to go when you need to refuel after a day of kayaking, polar bears in Churchill and whale watching.

🥄Churchill’s is a prime rib house serving up juicy steaks, trendy tapas and fresh seafood dishes in a cozy atmosphere. The oysters with fresh horseradish and lemon are highly recommended and The Winston Burger is also very popular. They have private rooms for special occasions and also offer catering services.

🥄 The Lazy Bear Cafe is the place to go for a special meal. Expect indigenous dishes like Braised Peppered Elk, Manitoba Bison and Arctic Char created by an innovative and talented chef. With local produce such as berries and mushrooms, the food is delicious, local and authentic. They also grow organic vegetables, so your food is fresh from the garden that very day. Log decor and a burning fire make it the perfect place to relax after a day of exploring.

🥄 The Tundra Inn Dining Room and Pub lure diners in with its famous Borealis Burger and other tasty home-cooked meals with an arctic flair. It gets lively and entertaining later in the evenings with live music, dancing and open mic sessions. It is a great place to stay warm and have fun. 

There are many places to dine to fit every budget and decor and the atmosphere is as important as great taste when it comes to breakfast, lunch and dinner in Churchill in North Bay. 

Best Time To Visit Churchill Manitoba

It is essential to time your visit to Churchill, Manitoba, carefully to experience what you most desire. If you want to see polar bears, beluga whales, or the Northern Lights, they are each best seen at different times of the year. 

If you want to see them all, you might need to make several trips. Here is the lowdown on when to pack your bags for a Churchill trip in Manitoba, which will be an experience you will remember for a lifetime. 

Polar Bears

No place on the globe is easier to witness polar bears like it is in Churchill Manitoba. These magnificent creatures are highly visible between July and November, giving you many months to enjoy seeing the bears in fall or later when the snow falls.

polar bear in Churchill

The Northern Lights

Churchill is positioned on the map as one of the best places in the world to witness the miracle of The Northern Lights. In February and March, the skies are clear and usually, it is the best time for viewing. You can see them at other times of the year, so you can always get lucky if you are willing to stay up all night long. The further away you can get from the city lights, the clearer the view. There are accommodation options and Churchill River tours designed to see the lights in all their glory. 

Beluga Whales

Breeding season is when thousands of Beluga whales eagerly descend into the chilly Churchill waters to mate. July and August are the time for whale watchers to see the whales. There are many boat tours ranging from day trips to overnight excursions so you can see the beautiful whales in their natural habitat. 

We hope this has helped your plan your trip and we are sure the impressive natural sights will wow you during your vacation to Churchill.

Churchill Manitoba Latitude

The latitude and longitude coordinates for Churchill in Manitoba, Canada, are 58.7684° N, 94.1650° W.

If you follow the coordinates, you will come to an enchanting place where polar bears live in harmony with people, Beluga whales return every season to mate and give birth and birds flock to bask in the natural habitat. Churchill is a place that is as beautiful as a flower field on a perfect Spring day and an incredible site for nature lovers.

Churchill is officially on the edge of the Arctic (the Arctic Circle is 66.6 degrees latitude and Churchill is 60 degrees). It feels quite chilly enough and has all the arctic wintery vibes, especially in the winter months when the polar bears begin their annual feast on the seal population in Hudson Bay.

Churchill city

The population is less than 1,000 people, most of who work and rely on the tourism industry with a high priority on eco-tourism.

The Northern Lights are another big attraction to Churchill. Seeing the sky glow with the aurora borealis motivates many travelers to head to the northern part of Manitoba. It is one of the few places you can see the impressive lights without traveling above the Arctic Circle. The best time is during the most prolonged and darkest nights of the year, which fall between January and March. 

Summer in Churchill Manitoba

If you don’t love chilly days filled with ice and snow, no need to dismiss a visit to Churchill in Manitoba. Our favorite Canadian destination turns on the charm with plenty of beautiful sights and natural wonders in the summer months.

In July and August, you can see the Beluga Whales as they arrive in Churchill to mate and give birth in the thousands. These giant creatures are warm, friendly and naturally curious, so it’s the perfect place to see them up close and personal. 

Summer in Churchill

You can go kayaking and get really close to the whales as they playfully swim near your tour group. Stand-up paddle boarding is another way to get as close as possible to the grand water creatures that draw many tourists to the region every month. Boat trips are popular for whale watchers and you can see polar bears roaming the shoreline in summer if you are lucky.

Although summer isn’t the prime time for the Northern Lights, it still is possible to see them in the summertime. You can use handy phone apps to find out when the skies will be clear and rise in the middle of the night to look for the stunning lights illuminating the sky.

The summer landscape is painted in bright florals, especially with fireweed blooms that are deep pink and magenta tones. Bird watchers will have plenty of feathered species to spot, including owls, swans and hawks.

Summer is a beautiful time to visit Churchill in Manitoba, with highs of around 15 to 20 degrees expected on most days in July and August.


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