Churchill travel information: Everything you need to know to plan your trip to Churchill, Canada!
How to get there
Currently, the only way to get to get to Churchill is to fly, as the railway is closed as a result of storms last year. Calm Air operate flights to Churchill from Winnipeg and Thompson.
Murals around the town, like this one on ‘Miss. Piggy’, tell the story of climate change and its impact on both humans and wildlife.
Where to stay
Lazy Bear Lodge is popular and it’s easy to see why.
Staffed by seasonal workers, they were all professional, knowledgeable and hardworking, but, more importantly, they exuded passion and a love for what they were doing, particularly the excursion guides.
The lodge is cosy, warm and comfortable, with a nice dining area.
The only thing I hated was the use of dead animals as decor; I want to see polar bears and grizzlies out in the wild, not with their skins pinned across the walls. I hate to think that I was inadvertently supporting trophy hunting.
What to eat
There aren’t many options for dining in the town but we found it to be plenty for the length of our stay.
We enjoyed the food served at Lazy Bear Lodge. They have an extensive menu with plenty of veggie options, and dinner specials, which change every evening, included Canadian elk, buffalo and Arctic char. Service will of course vary as most staff are seasonal, but those who were there during our stay were friendly, polite and a great help in entertaining Theo while we finished our food!
Gypsies is a great place to pick up a picnic lunch or a no-frills meal, and is famous for their donuts. Managed by the charismatic Fred, highflying corporate Montrealian turned small town friend to everyone, his sense of humour and generosity make every visit here memorable. He rented us his beaten up, barely-working pickup to get out of town in search of polar bears. We found bears, but had to ditch the ride; sorry, Fred! Read the story here.
How to get around
A vehicle isn’t essential here, but I recommend having one, at least for part of your trip (or make friends with someone who does!).
We went off by ourselves in search of bears twice and I’m so pleased we did! We didn’t disturb them at all because we weren’t in a huge tundra buggy, there was no fighting for the best view with dozens of other tourists, and we were able to take our time and observe these magnificent creatures just doing their thing on our watch rather than having to stick to a schedule.
If you’re lucky to have the right conditions to witness the spectacular Aurora Borealis, you’re going to want to get off the main strip in town. We hitched a ride with some new friends to the beach, away from the light of the town, and my goodness it was worth it!
Climate and best time to travel
The best time to travel will really depend on what you want to see and do during your visit. October is prime polar bear season because they travel through Churchill on their way back out onto the ice. During the Summer months, Belugas come into the shallow waters to breed. It is possible (but by no means guaranteed) to see bears, belugas and the Aurora Borealis in one trip; this is why we travelled in August.
Other useful info
All excursions can be booked through an operator (I recommend Lazy Bear Expeditions). This includes cultural tours of the town and Cape Merry, guided tours to the Prince of Wales Fort, dog sledding, wildlife watching (polar bears, elk, arctic foxes, arctic hares, sea birds, seals and more), beluga whale watching from a zodiac, kayaking with belugas and snorkeling with belugas.
Please note all excursions are season and weather dependent.
Lazy Bear Lodge also operates an Aurora alert system, allowing guests to opt in to receive a call to their room if the Aurora is visible overnight.