FAQ

FrEQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Top 10 Questions

What is the best time of year to visit Churchill?

It really all depends what you’re looking for. The best time in Churchill to view the Northern Lights is from Jan-Mar. Cold temperatures lead to clear skies combined with long nights give visitors the best chance of viewing the Aurora. If you’re into birding, the best time of year to view hundreds of migratory birds is May and June. As we get into summer and the Churchill River breaks up thousands of Beluga Whales return to spend July and August before making their way back North. During the summer months it’s also possible to view Polar Bears again as they come off the ice. Unfortunately Polar Bears aren’t as active during the summer months as their conserving their energy while patiently waiting for the ice to form again. Towards the end of Summer the odds of seeing the Aurora improve again as days get shorter. This is the only time of year it’s possible to experience “The Churchill Trifecta”, Bears, Belugas and Borealis! In October/November ice begins to form on the shores of Hudson Bay and Polar Bears become more active in anticipation of the seal hunt.

What is the best time of year to visit Churchill?

It really all depends what you’re looking for. The best time in Churchill to view the Northern Lights is from Jan-Mar. Cold temperatures lead to clear skies combined with long nights give visitors the best chance of viewing the Aurora. If you’re into birding, the best time of year to view hundreds of migratory birds is May and June. As we get into summer and the Churchill River breaks up thousands of Beluga Whales return to spend July and August before making their way back North. During the summer months it’s also possible to view Polar Bears again as they come off the ice. Unfortunately Polar Bears aren’t as active during the summer months as their conserving their energy while patiently waiting for the ice to form again. Towards the end of Summer the odds of seeing the Aurora improve again as days get shorter. This is the only time of year it’s possible to experience “The Churchill Trifecta”, Bears, Belugas and Borealis! In October/November ice begins to form on the shores of Hudson Bay and Polar Bears become more active in anticipation of the seal hunt.

How close do you get to the bears?
How close we get to the bears all depends on how comfortable the bear is. Legally we’re not allowed to approach a Polar Bear within 100 metres, however Polar Bears are allowed to approach provided it’s safe. Our experienced guides will identify Polar Bear behaviour and anticipate which direction the Bear is moving to in order to get guests in the best possible position. It is critical for both the Bear’s and guest’s safety to strictly follow the instructions of the guide. Failure to do so could result in the removal of a guest from the tour.
Can you guarantee wildlife?

No, we can never guarantee wildlife. If we could, it wouldn’t be wild anymore.

Are you seeing less Polar Bears due to the effects of Climate Change?

While Climate Change is undeniably having an effect on the Arctic and SubArctic, the Western Hudson Bay Sub population of Polar Bears is still considered stable and only seen a small decline in numbers, but not enough to warrant a change in status. Each year the number of daily sightings differ based on conditions. We’ve seen as many as 19 different Polar Bears in a day, but there have also been days we haven’t seen any. Luckily those days are usually few and far between.

What are the chances of seeing Northern Lights during Polar Bear Season?

The chances aren’t great, but it is possible. As the Hudson Bay loses its warmth and begins to freeze it generates a lot of cloud cover, however each season there are a handful of nights when the Aurora is visible.

Besides Polar Bears, what other animals can you potentially see on tour?
There’s a good chance we’ll spot Red Foxes, Arctic Hares, Arctic Foxes, Ptarmigans, Bald Eagles and a variety of other birds. We’ve also spotted Moose, Caribou, Snowy Owls, Wolves and Wolverines on tour.
Do you have permits to enter the Wildlife Management Area?

Yes, we’re one of a few local tour companies permitted to enter the WMA.

Do you have to be a photographer to join a tour?
No, we happily accommodate non-photographers as well, especially on our Town and Area tours. Our Full Day Polar Bear Tours are designed more for photographers and efforts will be made to keep photographers separate in order to better accommodate their needs.
Is lunch provided on the Polar Bear Day Tours?
Lunch is not provided unless previously arranged with the guide. We try to break around mid-day if there’s a break in the action to use the bathrooms and/or top up on tea or coffee. We recommend packing a lunch so we have the flexibility of staying on a bear if the viewing is good.
Can winter gear be rented in Churchill?
Yes, the Polar Inn Boutique and Suites in Churchill rents parkas and winter boots so you can save on luggage space if you choose not to bring your own.