GET TO KNOW CHURCHILL
Churchill is located approximately 1000 km North of Winnipeg on the shores of Hudson Bay at the mouth of the Churchill River on Treaty 5 Territory, the original lands of the Ininiwak, Anish-Ininiwak and Dene and home to the Inuit and Métis.
Known as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World” Churchill is home to about as many humans as Polar Bears. Each year a sub population of roughly 800 Polar Bears migrate through the area from July until November while patiently waiting for sea ice to form again. The first sea ice generally accumulates at Cape Churchill thanks to a counter clockwise current in the Hudson Bay and lower levels of salinity from the flow of fresh water from the Churchill River.
Not to be outdone by Polar Bears, Churchill is also home to one of the most accessible populations of Beluga Whales in the world. Each year between 3500-4000 Beluga Whales return to the Churchill River to mate and give birth to their calves. The shallow waters of the Churchill River provide safe refuge for Beluga Whales from their number one predator, the Orca. Curious by nature, Beluga Whales will often follow boats and playfully bump into kayaks and paddleboards. Known as the “Sea Canary”, Beluga Whales are extremely vocal and on calm days it’s common to hear them sing underwater.
With on average over 300 nights a year of visible Northern Lights, Churchill remains one of the best destinations on earth to experience the Aurora Borealis. Uniquely situated directly under the Auroral Oval, even on nights with little solar activity the odds of catching a glimmer of Aurora are high provided the skies are clear. From January to April long nights and cold temperatures lead to clear skies providing the best viewing opportunities.
As temperatures begin to warm in the Spring, life slowly returns to the SubArctic with over 250 migratory birds passing through or nesting in the area making it a “Birders Paradise”. Located at the convergence of three major biomes: the boreal forest, the tundra and a marine environment, Churchill supports a diverse range of species.
If that isn’t enough reason to visit Churchill, the town and surrounding area are rich in history dating back to the Pre-Dorset era around 1700 BC. The first explorers searching for the fabled Northwest Passage visited the area in the 1600’s and by the end of the century, the Hudson Bay Company established a fur trading post along the Churchill River and Churchill is given its name in honour of John Churchill, the third governor of the Hudson Bay Company.
Fast forward to the early 1900’s, the province of Manitoba realizes the economic opportunity of building the Arctic’s only deep water port and construction of the rail line connecting Churchill to the South begins.