Posted by on 25 Jan 2022 , in North America
A trip to the northern town of Churchill, Manitoba is not the easiest trip in the world. It can be expensive. There are limited transportation options...and even more limited seasons. But guess what? A visit to this very special region is absolutely worth your trouble. To help you along your journey, here's everything you need to know about visiting Churchill in the summer months.
WHEN TO GO
July and August.
WHAT YOU CAN SEE
Known as the "canaries of the sea" for their underwater whistles and chirps, beluga whales are notoriously friendly and curious creatures. Each summer, 57000 of these amazing animals make their way to the Hudson Bay to feed and birth, 4000 of which enter the Churchill River Estuary.
Summer may not be polar bear season ( that title is reserved for October and November), but you still have a good chance to see bears as they lounge on the shorelines and play in the vibrant fireweed.
While peak northern lights season occurs from January to March, Churchill sees the sky light up with the Aurora Borealis 300 days a year, which means there's a pretty good chance you'll see them on your summer trip to Churchill. The trick is to download the aurora app to track activity, keep an eye on the forecast (clear skies are necessary) and be prepared to stay up late or set an alarm for the middle of the night when the sky is at its darkest.
If you're a birding enthusiast, you may want to consider a trip to Churchill in the spring when activity is at its peak. But that's not to say you can't see an abundance of birds in the summer months, too. Keep your eyes peeled for hawks, falcons, snowy owls, tundra swans and of course the rare Ross's Gull.
Every summer, the tundra comes alive with colour as the fireweed blooms and the snow gives way to the orange lichen, miniature shrubs, scarlet bearberries and glacier-sculpted boulders that lay scattered across this unique landscape.
Polar bears and beluga whales often take the spotlight for summer in Churchill (and rightfully so), but you'll also be amazed by the abundance of other incredible subarctic wildlife, from the noble caribou to the hardy arctic fox.
OTHER THINGS TO DO
Prince of Wales Fort National Historic Site
An early 18th century Hudson's Bay Company fur trade fortress. These stone ruins hold stories of fur trade days gone by; complete with a canon, the remains of a powder magazine, and carved signatures of historic people who once inhabited or passed through the fort.
This unassuming museum is open year-round and features one of the world's finest collections of Inuit carvings and artifacts. These delicate and intricate works of art date back to Pre-Dorset (1700 BC) times.
Cape Merry offers one of the best views in Churchill, overlooking the Churchill River, Hudson Bay and the Prince of Wales Fort National Historic Site.
Take a closer look at this abandoned ship (which sank in the 1960s).
Initiated and led by celebrated Manitoban artist Kal Barteski, SeaWalls CHURCHILL is a collection of murals that not only inspire but also educate on the need to protect the world's oceans. The murals can be accessed by a self-guided driving tour.
Don't leave Churchill without taking a little shopping trip through town. Must-stops include the Arctic Trading Company, Fifty Eight North and Wapusk General Store.
Fear not, the quintessential dogsledding experience is also available in the summertime - just swap the sled for a cart!