The Polar Bear Capital of the World is the only human settlement where polar bears can be observed in the wild. The bears tip the scale at over 1,300 pounds, stand 10 feet tall and can move with surprising speed and agility. Best viewing time is October to early November.
Churchill, population 1,000, is accessible by air or the Hudson Bay Railway line, which was built over permafrost and muskeg in 1929 and required a crew of 3,000 to complete. The two-night, one-day trip on VIA Rail from Winnipeg to Churchill (1,600 km/1,000 mi) provides comfortable bedrooms or roomettes and fine Manitoba cuisine in the dining car. Calm Air, Kivalliq Air run regular scheduled air service from Winnipeg, Thompson and Gillam year-round.
In summer, white beluga whales surface and plunge in the blue-green waters of the Churchill River. You’ll be talking distance of the most vocal whales in the world. More than 3,000 beluga whales come in early July to feed and calve. Seals can also be seen in the harbour and caribou are frequently sighted along the coast.
Visitors are awestruck upon seeing the haunting beauty of our aurora borealis (northern lights). Blue, green and white in colour, they swirl and dance in the still northern sky with performances that can be seen on clear nights. According to legend, the northern lights will dance their way down to earth if you whistle at them. Why not give it a try?
Churchill is a birdwatchers’ paradise—some 250 species of birds including the rare Ross Gull, nest or pass through on their yearly migrations. Bird Cove is an excellent spot for bird-watching. The wreck of the Ithaca, caught in a windstorm in 1960 while carrying nickel ore from Rankin Inlet to Montreal, is at the western tip of the cove. Akudlik Marsh and Harbour Board Ponds are also very good spots for birdwatchers.
On the tundra, lichens and miniature shrubs and flowers bloom each spring and fall. A short distance inland are patches of taiga (subarctic) forest, with black spruce, scattered white spruce and a thick mat of lichens. Twin Lakes is an island of boreal forest rising out of the surrounding subarctic tundra.
Established in 1957, the Churchill Rocket Research Range is a National Historic Site located at the geographic centre of northern light activity. The skyline of the area is unique with the shapes of four launchers from which more than 3,000 rockets were fired into the atmosphere.
Trilobite Beach is a fossilized tropical beach nestled below the billion year old cliffs of Churchill quartzite. Four million years ago, this was the shoreline of a warm tropical sea located near the equator. The world’s largest trilobite fossil, 72 cm long, was excavated in 1998.
CHURCHILL, MB CANADA
On-Site Amenities & Services
Full wheelchair access
Service in English
Indoor children's play centre
Step-on guide service
Tours upon request
Provincial Historic Park
National Historic Site
Visitor Reception Centre
Certifications & Affiliations
Provincial Heritage Property