Local wildlife tour operators have proliferated in Churchill, offering everything from snorkelling and kayaking with the whales to viewing polar bears from helicopters. They are all listed in the indispensable Guide to Churchill pamphlet which you can pick up at all major Manitoban tourist offices, and at the Churchill Parks Canada Visitor Centre tourist office.
Churchill Wild t 204 377 5090, t 1 866 846 9453, w churchillwild.com. Top-end tour company with wildlife tours year-round from around $8000 per week.
Frontiers North Adventures t 204 949 2051, t 1 800 663 9832, w tundrabuggy.com. An excellent option if you’ve $6500 or so to spare and can book months in advance are these week-long tours in vehicles specially designed to avoid damaging the tundra.
Great White Bear Tours t 204 675 2781, t 1 866 765 8344, w greatwhitebeartours.com. Runs day-trips ($400 per person) to find polar bears in October and November, using huge custom-built buses.
Hudson Bay Helicopters t 204 675 2576, t 1 867 873 5146, w hudsonbayheli.com. Outside the main polar bear season consider splashing out on a flight with this company, who can all but guarantee polar bear sightings, for $600/hr.
Lazy Bear Lodge Runs a number of tours including three days for around $3000 as well as eight-night wilderness kayaking expeditions ($5500).
North Star Tours Bayport Plaza, Munck St t 204 675 2356, t 1 800 665 0690. A good first stop to get a feel for what’s on offer at any time of year. The outfit is run by a jolly third-generation local who organizes an excellent minibus tour of local sites ($85; 3hr) – which includes a good look for polar bears – but they won’t hesitate to suggest, and even call, other companies for you if you have particular activities in mind.
Sea North Tours 39 Franklin St t 204 675 2195, t 1 888 348 7591, w seanorthtours.com. Offers Zodiac trips ($100; 2hr 30min) that allow you to listen in on the belugas using stereo hydrophones and visit Prince of Wales’ Fort. For the more active there are also kayak (no experience necessary; $158; 2hr 30min) and snorkelling trips ($189; 2hr 30min), when visibility in the bay is good enough. Mid-June to late Aug.