The town of Churchill in Manitoba, Canada, is the self-proclaimed ‘polar bear capital of the world’. Each year, about a thousand polar bears pass through the small town, outnumbering human residents. In October, the bears gather here to wait for the Hudson Bay to freeze over so they can venture out onto the ice to hunt for seals.
The annual gathering of polar bears is a big event for the residents of Churchill. They maintain a hotline for bear sightings and even run a polar bear ‘jail’ that temporarily holds ‘pesky’ bears to keep locals (and their food) safe.
Quick fact: Under a polar bear’s bright coat, its skin is jet black, which helps the bear soak up the sun’s rays to stay warm.
For visitors who want to see polar bears on the ice floes, Churchill is the base for guided tours in protected tundra vehicles. The Tundra Buggies glide smoothly over ice and snow, providing a rare opportunity to get up close to the bears. Visitors may also spot other animals native to the Arctic, including reindeer, foxes, and hares. And after the Arctic safari, when the sun goes down, this is an ideal place to see the Northern Lights.