A potential strike between Via Rail and its union Unifor was averted late Sunday thus allowing service across the country and specifically Churchill to continue this summer.
Churchill’s Via rail station with a train on the dock. Cartan Tours photo.
Unifor represents about 1,800 of Via’s 2,500 employees, was threatening a strike Monday at 12:01 a.m. However, Via announced via Twitter late Sunday that all trains would operate as scheduled. This news was greeted with a sigh of relief by many in Churchill as the busy beluga whale tourism season is starting now. With no roads into the town of Churchill, the only way to reach the polar bear capital is by train or airplane. Losing the more affordable train service would preclude many travelers from reaching the sub-Arctic village. That would also cause economic strife for many of Churchill’s businesses and seasonal workers.
Beluga whales in the Churchill river. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.
With this strike hurdle averted, we are hoping for another amazing Churchill Arctic Summer season with incredible surprises throughout. Stay tuned for updates from the tundra!
Black bear in Churchill with what’s left of a lesser snow goose in his mouth. Rhonda Reid photo.
This close – up photo of a black bear in Churchill with the wing of a lesser snow goose in his mouth has many people excited to see the rarely seen animal. This bear species does reach into the far north but are not often seen at this close range.
Bears of all varieties are becoming more apt at gathering food in the wild. Voracious polar bears in Churchill have been observed on seal – kills all year round and scavenging eggs and tundra berries. Occasionally a beluga whale carcass will feed a dozen bears for a few days. This recent trend in feeding is quite possibly an adaptive survival technique due to the warming climate and reduced sea ice season. Since polar bears have a shorter time on ice hunting seals they need to find alternative food sources in order to maintain a year – round body healthy body weight.
Awesome video footage of a voracious polar bear attempting to snag a beluga whale in a open lead in the ice of the Arctic. Exciting footage and evidence that polar bears will go after any creature to provide the sustenance for their high metabolism. Adaptation will be the key for these hearty animals as the Arctic ice dwindles even more due to global warming. Polar bears depend on the ice platform to hunt seals through the winter and with less ice time they must turn to protein – rich alternatives.
If you’ve ever wanted to touch a feisty beluga whale now is your chance! Churchill’s Arctic summer is on the horizon…just over those snowbanks…you know the ones that will continue to build throughout the rest of the winter…possibly up to the second story of some buildings in downtown Churchill proper. Yeah, maybe the horizon is somewhat in the distance but we can all start dreaming about a trip to Churchill to see thousands of beluga whales in the waters lapping the frontier town on the Hudson Bay. Have a look and come touch a beluga whale for yourself this summer!!