Discover Churchill is a local tour company founded in 2016 by photographer and guide, Alex de Vries. Initially founded as a private guiding service for photographers and film crews during Polar Bear Season, Discover Churchill has evolved and grown to employ five guides operating year round nature, wildlife and cultural tours of the Churchill area for small groups and independent travellers, however our specialty remains in working with photographers and film crews. Our experienced guides work tirelessly to get guests in the best position possible by anticipating animal behaviour in a non-invasive manner in order to create stunning natural images. As a tour operator we are strongly committed to ethical wildlife viewing and strive to set industry standards for safety and conservation.
Small Group Sizes
Private Tours Available
Meet Our Guides
Alex de Vries
Alex first visited Churchill near the end of Summer in 2009. Within 48 hours he spotted his first Polar Bear, kayaked with Beluga Whales and stood in awe as the Aurora Borealis danced above him. He instantly fell in love and moved to Churchill the following year working a variety of seasonal jobs while pursuing an interest in photography. In 2015 he bought a local photography gallery and shortly after began receiving guiding requests from photographers and film crews. In 2016 he founded Discover Churchill and started leading small photography tours of the Churchill Area. Living in Churchill year round, his love and respect for the land radiate from him and there’s a good chance he’ll try to convince you to come back and experience a different season.
Norman was born in Fort Churchill and raised between Churchill and the York Landing. Proud of his heritage, Norman is Cree from York Factory First Nation and eager to share his love of the land. Aside from being an avid hunter, trapper and fisherman Norman has also developed a passion for photography which helps him understand the needs of his guests. With over 20 years of experience guiding, Norm’s attention to detail has become instinctual. Soft spoken with an unexpectedly sharp sense of humour, there is rarely a dull moment on his tours. In addition, his ability to spot and predict which way Polar Bears are headed get him in the best position to view and photograph Bears. Watching his guests react when they nail “the shot” is still just as rewarding as it was 20 years ago.
Drew has been guiding photographers and film crews for bears across North America for over 20 years. After getting his start with brown bear and polar bears in Alaska he was introduced to Churchill in 2014 and felt right at home. As a lover of all things Northern, Churchill is the perfect place to explore all the things that make the north unique: from birds to belugas to bears to borealis.
As a photographer Drew likes to explore many different styles and is well versed in what it takes to help guests take their photography to the next level. In 2019 Drew was awarded the Daniel Housberg Wilderness Image Award by the Alaska Conservation Foundation for his use of imagery to highlight the threat to brown bear populations by the proposed Pebble Mine in southwest Alaska.
Due to his deep love for bears he endeavours to run trips that provide positive experiences for both bears and humans.
Stephanie was born and raised in a small community in southwestern Newfoundland, Canada. At a very young age, she developed a passion for travel. Curious by nature, she was destined to live a life intimately connected to the outdoors. Her adventurous spirit has led her down roads less traveled, rewarding her with unique experiences and personal connections that will last a lifetime. These experiences along with her wealth of knowledge and appreciation for nature and tourism, has enabled her to conduct a diverse array of tours throughout her twenty-five year career. The famous Polar Bear Experience, adventures in the Rocky Mountains, and Green Turtle Nesting Season, are just a few of her vocation highlights. Stephanie currently resides in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, as well as Pavones, Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Her passion for her surroundings is contagious, her compassion for people is astounding, and her determination for you to experience a trip of a lifetime is extraordinary. Stephanie’s irrepressible enthusiasm cannot help but inspire those who travel with her.
For over a decade, Rob has been leading tours to visit Canada’s remote northern landscape. He has lead film crews, photographers, and adventurers on expeditions in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut as well as northern Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba.
Year after year, Rob finds himself travelling back to Churchill to share the dynamic environment, northern wildlife, and spectacular scenery with travellers from around the world. Rob loves sharing stories from his time spent on the land as well as interpretive facts learned from his time studying ecology at the University Of Guelph. He tries not to take life to seriously and always enjoys sharing a laugh!
Julie is no stranger to the north. She has spent many winters in the subarctic regions of Alaska and Canada and enjoys getting the air knocked out of her by a good blustery blizzard.
When she isn’t contemplating whether or not she can feel her toes she enjoys spending time chasing aurora, “joring” her mini dog team, picking berries and other edible plants, fishing, and exploring the vast tundra, rocks and coastlines in the region. She thinks the polar bears are pretty cool too.
Ian was born on Vancouver Island, a dual citizen of Canada and New Zealand, he promptly began travelling out of high school. Visiting over 150 countries (Plus nearly 20 Territories/Non-sovereign states etc.) over the next 20 years, while living in various locations and working in the tourism and hospitality industry. As a wildlife and outdoors enthusiast, Ian’s travels brought him to Churchill in 2009 where he then made his home for the next 7 years (while in Canada). Ian currently lives in Winnipeg with his partner and their daughter.
Wildlife Landscape and night photography are his main subjects with night photography being his favorite. Outside of astrophotography and aurora photography, Mike is well versed in lightpainting, tube painting, light spinning and fire breathing. He’s always up for a photography adventure of any sort and can be easilly bribed with oatmeal rasin cookies.