Travel

Day-Tripping to Churchill, Manitoba

Hello again friends and welcome back to This Darling Adventure! I hope that you have had an amazing weekend, filled to the brim with adventure, whimsy and moments that took your breath away.

My weekend was absolutely delightful. Yesterday our town had its annual Christmas parade, which is always such a joy to watch. Even though it was well into the -20 Celsius range outside, with winds that were blowing like none other, so many people from the community came out and lined the street to watch the floats (a.k.a. random trucks with Christmas decorations stuck to the) drive by very slowly. The funny part is that our city does not actually shut down the street that the parade is on. Thus, while the parade is making its way down the street, other vehicles still attempt to scoot by or cut in front of the floats to get to where they need to go. It makes for a truly remarkable time.

That all being said, today I wanted to share with you a bit about one of the best known towns in the North: Churchill, Manitoba. Known as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World,” it has quite the reputation to live up to. And let me tell you, friends… It totally does! So saddle up and let’s get this party started!

What About Churchill?

Churchill is located along the Hudson Bay, with the arctic tundra to the northwest and the boreal forest to the south. It is approximately 1,000 kilometers north of Winnipeg and is only accessible by plane, train or ship. Roughly 900 people call Churchill their home and it has become quite the hub for ecotourism and research.*

At the end of summer, I had the chance to day-trip to this incredible town with a couple friends and my beloved husband and truth be told it was one of the most unique places I have ever seen. Here are just a few of the sights we got to visit and explore:

1. Miss Piggy

Miss Piggy (named for her large cargo capacity) is a downed Curtiss C-46 freight plane once operated by Lamb Air. On a flight in 1979, the plane underwent engine trouble during its approach into the Churchill airport, but its pilots managed to land the plane among the rocks. Miss Piggy can now be reached by trekking down one of the back roads that run along the Hudson Bay.

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2. MV Ithica

The MV Ithica is a shipwrecked cargo vessel located just south of town and is only accessible at low tide. There are several variations of the story that led to the shipwreck of this once-seaworthy vessel. One tells of a treacherous windstorm that ran the Ithica aground in 1961. Another explains that the ship’s right rudder broke, forcing it into much-too shallow waters in 1960. We may never know what actually happened to this impressive vessel, but regardless it is certainly the sight to see.

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3. Churchill Rocket Research Range

The now abandoned Churchill Rocket Research Range was originally built in 1957 and stood as the center of upper atmospheric scientific research for the greater part of 30 years.  Over 3,500 sounding rockets were launched from the range before it closed in 1985. Then in 1994, Akjuit Aerospace temporarily reinvigorated the range for a few years and renamed it Space Port Canada. Due to its overall historic and scientific significance, it is now considered to be one of Canada’s National Historic Sites.

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4. Wildlife Management Areas

These are areas south along the Hudson Bay and east towards the border of Ontario that are specifically set-aside to protect the coastal and tundra ecosystems, which are home to caribou, geese and yes…. Polar Bears! The old military road leading to Twin Lakes gives ecotourists and locals alike the amazing opportunity to view wildlife in its natural habitat and to explore the endless landscape of the north.**

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Great White Bear Tours and their ginormous “Polar Rovers” are just one of the many ways to explore the expansive wildlife management areas around Churchill.

Well friends, that is about all there is for today on This Darling Adventure. But I hope that this just gives you a small taste of all that Churchill has to offer. It is an incredible town with unique sights to explore and admire. To watch a short, but sweet video of our complete adventure in Churchill, click here.

And for those of you who may be wondering if we actually did see a polar bear… Yes, we actually did! A momma and her two cubs! (And then our rickety old van got stuck in the sand, so we had to figure out a way to push/pull it out without attracting the attention of these beautiful, but entirely dangerous bears… AWKWARD).

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A momma bear and her two cubs feeding on a beached seal.

If you could “live” in a different place for a week, a month and a year, what are the three locations you would choose? Feel completely at home to comment below! 🙂


*For more information on Churchill, MB click here.

**Information adapted from EverythingChurchill.com.

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8 thoughts on “Day-Tripping to Churchill, Manitoba”

  1. Thank you both so much We felt we were on this amazing adventure with you. Beautiful writing and amazing video. Love you so much Grandpa and Grandma.

    Like

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