Lying at the heart of Canada, Manitoba has an abundance of wildlife: moose, wolves, black bears, beavers and herds of caribou can all be seen.
Wildlife lovers are particularly drawn to Churchill, where tundra, taiga, and boreal forest meet on the shores of Hudson Bay.
Established early in the 1700s the town grew into a prosperous trading post but declined in the 19th century when it was bypassed by faster overland routes. Even today this is a rather dishevelled community, made up of Inuit, Cree and white settlers, that has only recently found a new role as the ‘Polar Bear Capital of the World’.
Polar bears of Churchill
Each autumn the area’s polar bears venture onto the newly-frozen pack ice to hunt for seals, but there are good reasons to visit in the summer months too: beluga whales and birds abound. Sights to see in town include the Polar Bear Compound which houses orphan cubs and anti-social adults, an excellent Eskimo Museum and Cape Merry National Historic Site. Other places to see nearby include Prince of Wales Fort and York Factory, site of the Hudson Bay Company’s first trading post.
Wildlife of Northern Manitoba
In northern Manitoba the lake-studded boreal forests of the interior plains converge with the endless tundra of the Canadian Shield. This remote wilderness spawns native wildlife that is some of the most thrilling on the continent.
The Seal River and the southern shores of Hudson Bay are the summer haunts of polar bears and thousands of beluga whales, whilst caribou and countless migratory birds flock to the flower strewn tundra landscape.
October sees the gathering of polar bears on the shores of the Hudson Bay as they wait for the winter pack-ice to form into seal-hunting platforms. To encounter these magnificent animals, the largest of all bears, at such close quarters is truly awe-inspiring.
The provincial capital, Winnipeg, is the biggest city, with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Manitoba Opera among its attractions.