Five Cool Attractions Near Churchill

Churchill is a funky frontier town with some unusual characters and a town center right out of the movies. The town is self-contained with just about every activity you want located in the town complex. Northern restaurants and bars line the main drag which is Kelsey Boulevard. Polar bears even saunter into town so if one is patient one doesn’t have to head out to the Churchill Wildlife management Area in a polar rover to see them.

Here are five attractions outside of Churchill proper that are worth checking out if you happen to visit the northern village.

1. Ithaca Shipwreck: Just off the coast near Bird Cove in Churchill, this old freighter is a classic landmark of the region.

2. Cape Merry: This iconic overlook on the precambrian sheild above the Churchill River and Hudson Bay is a classic starting point for any Adventure group arriving in Churchill. One can become geographically centered here and get a feel for the immensity of the Hudson Bay.

A group of Natural Habitat travelers at the battery outpost on Cape Merry.

Natural Habitat group at the Cape Merry battery. Karen Walker photo.

3. Port of Churchill: A major economic stalwart of the town, this massive grain storage and port facility facilitates the cargo train as well as enormous cargo ships transporting grain products across the oceans via waterways accessible to the the Hudson Bay.

Port of Churchill,Manitoba.

Grain port of Churchill.Steve Selden photo.

4. Observation tower at Goose Creek: In the summer this spot is a great place to observe various marsh birds and ducks. You also can get a distant view of an annual osprey nest as well as a clear vista about eight kilometers up the Churchill River.  A quiet respite with amazing sky and landscape views.

Goose creek observation tower at the marina in Churchill, Manitoba.

Observation tower at Goose Creek marina.

5. Anglican Church: If you like the intimate atmosphere of a quaint church service, this is the place. If you also want to see a national treasure you can do that as well. The Lady Franklin stained glass window is displayed to the right of the alter. This grand piece of art was given by Sir John Franklin’s wife, Jane, in appreciation of all the search efforts put forth to find her husband and their lost Arctic expedition of  1845.

Snowy Churchill and the Anglican church on the Hudson Bay.

Anglican church in Churchill rests on the edge of the Hudson Bay.

Lady Franklin stained glass window in Churchill,MB.

Close – up of the Lady Franklin stained glass window Photo Karen Walker


Polar Bear ” Boxing Day” Photos of the Week

“Boxing Day” follows Christmas..usually celebrated on December 26th traditionally to recognize those people who provide services throughout the year such as tradesmen or postal delivery workers. It has nothing to do with boxing…as in fighting …or polar bears sparring.

Anyway, I know this is a stretch, but this weeks photos are “boxing” photos..rather amazing sparring photos of polar bears in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area where incredible bear action occurs in October and November prior to the Hudson Bay freeze up. Enjoy.

Sparring polar bears.

Sparring polar bears in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area. Brad Josephs photo.

Polar bears sparring near the Tundra lodge in the Churchill Wildlife Managemnent Area.

Two polar bears sparring near the tundra Lodge. Eric Rock photo.

Sparring polar bears in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area.

Polar bears grapple in the willows. Colby Brokvist photo.

Two polar bears sparring in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area in Churchill, Manitoba.

Polar bears sparring in the willows along the Hudson Bay coast. Kurt Johnson photo.

Polar bears sparring in the Arctic.

Sparring polar bears in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area. Rick Pepin photo.





Hudson Bay Quest- Gillam to Churchill

March 13th marks the start of this year’s Hudson Bay Quest dogsled race. This year the race begins in Gillam, MB and finishes in Churchill, MB. The start date is slightly earlier this year as it has been closer to St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) the past few years. should be a festive winter atmosphere as the mushers guide their sleds toward Churchill.

Sled dogs in Churchill,Mb.

Sled dogs in training for the Hudson Bay Quest. Brad Josephs photo.

Take a look at the 2015 updated musher roster and race map courtesy of Hudson Bay Quest website.

The OFFICIAL 2015 HBQ race roster is as follows:

1.) Martin Massicotte
2.) Dan DiMuzio
3.) Dave Daley
4.) Justin Allen
5.) Tom Terry
6.) Peter McClelland
7.) Jesse Terry
8.) Jennifer Freking
9.) Charlie Lundie
10.) Blake Freking
11.) Normand Casavant
12.) Denis Tremblay
13.) Ryan Anderson
14.) Shawn McCarty
15.) Leonard McPherson
16.) Al Hardman

This is the official list as our Race Marshal has reviewed the racer’s qualifications. This list reflects the order of registration, and will be used for the bib draw. Welcome to the 2015 HBQ!



Three Churchill Polar Bear Scares

As a guide and logistics coordinator, I worked in Churchill close to 15 years. Some of that work experience with Natural Habitat Adventures was on the job training. Some of that training was life or death related and could not be prepared for anywhere else.

Whenever risks are involved in an endeavor, being prepared as much as possible helps one make a right decision whenever a situation becomes dire. In Churchill one thing anyone, either a resident or visitor, needs to learn quickly is how to deal with a polar bear encounter. Or, better yet, prevent possible polar bear encounters.

Churchill polar bear.

Polar bear trying to get in the vehicle in Churchill. Steve Selden photo.

However, even if you are well aware of the risks, sometimes polar bears can sneak up on you when you lose track of their movements.

Here are three times in Churchill when I felt a bit unnerved by being in the vicinity of a polar bear:

1. I described this incident in an earlier post. I was in a photographer’s van at a popular polar bear photo location in Churchill and a polar bear tried to get at us through an open driver side window. The photographer reached from the backseat where we were all backed into, unsure if the polar bear would climb through the window or not,  and turned the key in the ignition to scare the bear away from the vehicle. It worked and to my amazement he kept his arm attached to the rest of his body.

Polar bear, Churchill,MB

Cautious polar bear on the rocks. Photo Rhonda Reid.

2. On a delivery of food and beverages out to the polar rover launch site, Darcy Callaghan and myself were pressed for time. We arrived at the loading ramp and began unloading the van full of supplies and handing them over the railing to the rover driver. We were about halfway finished when something made me look just to the right of the van and I looked straight into the eyes of a large male polar bear about 12 feet away trying to unload some of the food for himself. Some shouting from fear and the bear was on his way. Close call.

Wet Churchill polar bear.

Churchill Polar bear shaking off the rain in the fog.

3. The third scare was clearly  my most tenuous “near” polar bear interaction. I was leading a Churchill summer group and we were on a half – day rover trip to the coast for a barbecue and walk around the coastline. I had a strange feeling before we even left the Great White Bear launch. The fog was rolling in and the hair on the back of my neck was standing up. When we got out to Halfway Point, we took off for a walk with the group of 12 heading down the trail to the beach. The rover driver, John Sinclair, was walking next to me and I was carrying a shotgun. As we moved along, the group spread out on the wide trail. We were talking and John suddenly said, ” I’m going back to the rover”. At least that’s what I thought he said. He actually said, ” I think we should all go back to the rover.” As he calmly pointed into the fog ahead, we looked to see a huge polar bear sauntering right towards us at about 300 feet away. We turned and slowly though methodically, walked swiftly to the rover and out of harms way. It could have been bad had we not seen the bear in time.

A polar bear in Churchill , Manitoba on the coast.

Polar bear on the Hudson Bay coast. Sean Beckett photo.

Sometimes a little bit of luck can save your life in Churchill. I’ve had my share for sure.


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