Why? For how long?? Don’t we all cringe when your partner floats that question?
In this case it’s me (Mike) dodging the query from Jeanne as I packed up in the middle of Polar Bear season to head to PURE in Marrakech, Morocco.
PURE Life Experiences is where “the world’s finest creators of travel experiences meet” and this is Churchill Wild’s second year. The event is invite only and there is an extensive screening process to be approved.
This prestigious experiential/luxury travel show brings together all the best in adventure travel products on the planet for 4 days of intense marketing discussions, networking, and possibly just a little bit of fun. (But mostly hard work, honest!)
Leaving behind a lodge full of happy guests surrounded by polar bears is really not that big a deal when you have a rock solid, dependable, professional staff staying back to “hold down the fort” managed by Jeanne, the Arctic Queen.
Bear season has been fantastic this year – one of the best, in fact. We have had daily polar bear sightings and spectacular photo ops highlighted by great Northern Lights. Also both red and Arctic foxes, Gyrfalcons, and Snowy Owls are being observed. As much fun as PURE will be, I can’t wait to get back to the lodge.
See you soon.
(PURE Life Experiences runs from November 1 – 4, 2011)
Rebecca and Fraser: A Polar Bear Wedding Announcement
Friday, 30 September, 2011 11:51Written by Polar Bears with Pens
Rebecca and Fraser are getting married! It’s true. Our daughter and her lifelong friend Fraser Issac have decided to throw their hats into the ring and tie the knot!
Rebecca and Fraser
Rebecca and Fraser will be married on October 8, 2011. The ceremony begins at 3 p.m. on our yard in Kleefeld, Manitoba. They have decided to take a chance on Mother Nature and have planned for an outdoor wedding, so we are hoping for a beautiful fall day. There should be an amazing backdrop for the event with all of the leaves changing colour. The trees will be gorgeous and the leaves that fall will provide us with an enchanting kaleidoscope carpet!
Let’s back up a few years and I will tell you how this all came to be.
Seven years ago, the Reimer Family decided to make the fateful move to Kleefeld, Manitoba from our long time home in Churchill. It was a heart wrenching move, as Churchill was the childhood home for five out of the six members of our family.
Our move came about fairly quickly, without a lot of time to find just the right home, so we moved into a tiny house on Hanover Road until we could find what we needed for our family. The family next door was the first to visit us and welcome us to our new home. And they had kids!
We became fast friends. Their eldest, a boy named Fraser, just happened to be the same age as our oldest daughter, Rebecca. Their daughter, Anja, a bubbly, friendly girl, soon spent many hours with our daughters. Fraser made it his mission to welcome the new girl in his grade and the two fast became a pair.
Rebecca and Fraser “hung out” for all of Grade 9 and most of Grade 10, back when Rebecca was still taller than him! By the end of Grade 10 their social circles were changing, we had moved to a new home down the road and their paths did not cross as much for a few years.
Fast forward three years and we found our daughter in college and living in Winnipeg with relatives and Fraser working in the city in between his university terms. They seemed to find time to start “hanging out” again and before we knew it, they had made it official and started dating. That was a year and half ago, and we are so pleased to have Fraser joining our family. He is literally the “boy next door”, but now MUCH taller than Rebecca, working on a college engineering degree and growing into a man of strong integrity who we have been proud to welcome into our lives.
As previously mentioned, Rebecca is our oldest daughter and just recently turned 21. She has grown up with Polar Bears at Seal River and fishing at North Knife Lake. She has been charged by a Polar Bear (fortunately when on the right side of the fence!), caught Manitoba Master angler fish and had a photo published in National Geographic Traveler. She has also spent countless hours snowmobiling with her family and friends, successfully hunted caribou and moose with her dad, been back up driver on Seal River ATV tours. She’s proven she can take on anything that’s thrown at her. Rebecca is thrilled to have found someone to share her love of the outdoors and adventure with. Fraser has embraced the north, but has also shown her the magic and beauty of the south.
Rebecca's picture appeared in National Geographic Traveler Magazine in a story about Churchill Wild's Seal River Heritage Lodge
We expect to see both of them making cameo appearances at the lodges over the next several years – if we can’t hook ‘em into some full time work!
Immediate future plans involve living in an apartment in Winnipeg while Fraser finishes the last year and a half of his education. From there, the possibilities are wide open!
You can read their engagement story and see their smiling faces on www.FraserandRebecca.com. Thanks for reading and sharing in our lives!
Please head over to our Facebook page, “like us” and send your comments to Rebecca & Fraser.
Jeanne & Mike
Could President Obama and family walk with Churchill polar bears? Yes. They could.
Wednesday, 06 April, 2011 11:28Written by Polar Bears with Pens
Churchill Wild eco-lodge owners Mike and Jeanne Reimer say the Obama and Doer families would be more than welcome to do just that at their Seal River Heritage Lodge 40 miles north of Churchill on the Hudson Bay coast.
“It’s the only place in Canada where you can actually go out and walk with the polar bears in their natural environment,” said Mike Reimer, who has been stomping the terra with the polar bears for over 30 years. “We would absolutely love to have the Obama and Doer families visit our polar bear eco-lodges and take part in all the activities we have to offer.”
Polar bear intently watching Hudson Bay outside Seal River Lodge
That of course, would include walking with polar bears on the coast of Hudson Bay and snorkeling with beluga whales in Hudson Bay, not to mention eating gourmet meals straight from the award-winning cookbook series Blueberries and Polar Bears, which were co-written by Jeanne Reimer’s mother Helen Webber of Webber’s Lodges.
Helen is married to Webber’s Lodges owner and former Churchill mayor Doug Webber. She is certainly no stranger to hosting dignitaries at the Webber’s home in Churchill and preparing spectacular feasts for them, including Ambassador Doer when he was Premier of Manitoba,
First Lady Michelle Obama, who is promoting healthy eating as her platform while in the White House, would likely enjoy herself immensely in Churchill Wild’s family-run tundra kitchen, which prides itself on utilizing the freshest ingredients available from the surrounding landscapes.
Mrs. Obama launched her Let’s Move initiative to battle childhood obesity and improve the quality of food in U.S. schools in February, 2010 and on March 16, 2011 she reached an agreement with Crown Publishing Group to author a cookbook in which she will talk about the garden she established on the South Lawn of the White House. Due out in 2012, Mrs. Obama’s new cookbook will also explore how improved access to fresh, locally grown food can promote healthier eating habits for families and communities. You can watch the video about the White House Garden here.
“Last year we built the new dining room,” said Reimer. “Right now we’re hauling in a new gourmet kitchen. It was designed by Len Friesen and it will be the first of its kind in the arctic. We’re planning on having a Celebrity Chef Contest at some point with a combination of original creations and recipes from the Blueberries and Polar Bears cookbooks that will feature seal, caribou, moose, goose, arctic char, northern pike, lake trout, local plant garnishes, wild blueberries, cranberries and strawberries. In between cooking sessions we’ll be out on the tundra with the polar bears or swimming with whales. We would love for Mrs. Obama to participate!”
But seriously, fabulous food and cooking contests aside, what about safety and secret service and fighter planes?
Polar bear in fireweed. Photo Credit: Dennis Fast
“We’ve never had a polar bear problem in the 30 years that we’ve operated our lodges,” said Reimer. “It’s a unique, once in a lifetime experience and our guests love being able to get up close and personal with the polar bears. It’s one of the few places on earth where you can actually go out and walk with the bears, and there are numerous safety measures in place. I’m not sure what the bears would think of secret service agents and jet fighters. They probably wouldn’t even notice.”
Still, try to imagine the Turbo Beaver taking off from Churchill for Seal River Lodge accompanied by fighter jets. Or the curious looks on the polar bears’ faces when the secret service agents arrive with the Obama family. And what kind of boat would be required if the Obama and Doer families decided to go swimming with the beluga whales? Would the Zodiaks suffice?
“It would something very special for us,” said Reimer. “We would like to extend a heartfelt open invitation to both the Obama and the Doer families to visit Seal River Lodge any time. It would be an incredible honor.”
How to Gift Wrap a Polar Bear
Friday, 28 January, 2011 22:06Written by Polar Bears with Pens
The answer to question three will have to wait until the end of this story.
Reach for the Rainbow, a non-profit organization which has pioneered the integration of children and youth with disabilities into the mainstream of society at summer camp programs throughout Ontario, provided the gift wrapping via its 24th annual Crystal Ball Fundraising Gala this past November in Toronto.
Churchill Wild provided the polar bears, in the form of a trip for two to their Polar Bear Photo Safari at Seal River Heritage Lodge, as one of 13 featured live auction items at the gala. The top prize was a BMW which went for over $130,000.
“It is due to the generosity and support of donors such as Churchill Wild that Reach for the Rainbow can deliver the integrated opportunities we do, to close to 700 children with disabilities across Ontario each year,” said Jennifer Jeynes, Reach for the Rainbow’s Manager of Communications & Public Relations.
“The amazing team at Churchill Wild have really stepped up to aid the charity, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be associated with such a wonderful company which provides the ultimate experience of adventure and exploration!” Churchill Wild’s Polar Bear Photo Safari gives professional, amateur and hobbyist photographers the chance to walk with polar bears for incredible on the ground opportunities.
Churchill Wild’s Director of Marketing & Communications Rick Kemp worked with disabled children for eight years and identified Reach for the Rainbow’s Crystal Ball Gala as an ideal event to support. His enthusiasm and the worthiness of Reach for the Rainbow’s goals made it was an easy sell to Churchill Wild owner’s Mike and Jeanne Reimer.
“Churchill Wild is a family business,” said Mike. “And when it comes to family, it’s really all about the kids.”
The winning bidder for the Polar Bear Photo Safari has been a guest of Fuel Advertising at the Crystal Ball Fundraising Gala for the last few years. Every year she buys her Christmas gifts at different charity events. This year was a little different – she wanted something unique and very special.
“I wanted a spectacular once-in-a-lifetime gift,” she said. “My husband is an avid photographer, he’s always had an interest in it. I think he will be blown away with this because it’s something he would not have discovered himself. He’ll be very surprised!”
Especially when he reads this, on February 4, 2011:
Happy Birthday Bob! — Love, Nicole
Black and White Adventure Offers Canadian Wildlife In Living Colour
Tuesday, 18 January, 2011 23:13Written by Polar Bears with Pens
Presented by Canada’s Churchill Wild and Clayoquot Wilderness Resort
For the very first time, wildlife adventurers and photographers will have the opportunity to get up close and personal to Canadian black bears and polar bears, humpback whales and beluga whales, during a spectacular summer trip in 2011.
The Black & White Adventure has been created by two of Canada’s top wilderness resort operators, Churchill Wild and Clayoquot Wilderness Resort. Both specialize in wildly incredible nature holidays with top notch amenities, and discovered that once guests experienced one species of bear and whales, they crave the opportunity to view, photograph and learn more about other species. The only package in the world to offer this intense wilderness combination, this adventure takes guests from the UNESCO protected biosphere reserve and rainforests of Clayoquot Sound to the rich and vibrant northern wilderness of Churchill Manitoba’s Hudson Bay Coast, with opportunities to stay in Vancouver and Whistler, BC, in one mind blowing trip.
This photographer’s dream experience is being offered during 13 different dates, July and August 2011, ranging from 10 – 14 nights. Rates for the package start at CDN$12,795 per person, based on double occupancy. Included are overnight accommodations, meals, guided activities and local transportation including seaplane transfers to/from Vancouver and Clayoquot Wilderness Resort and aerial and ground transfers at Churchill Wild, and ground transfers to Vancouver and Whistler. Not included are flights to Winnipeg or Vancouver and between Vancouver and Winnipeg.
At Manitoba’s Churchill Wild, (www.churchillwild.com) guests have on the ground and in the bay access to polar bears and beluga whales as well as spectacular northern flora and fauna, and birding during the summer months. Churchill Wild is the only company on earth that offers fly in eco-lodges in remote Arctic locations that have been strategically built to follow the path of the polar bear during its seasonal migrations. Sensitive to the fragile environment that surrounds the eco-lodges, guests enjoy Arctic luxury accommodations and gourmet meals, with a light environmental touch which is one of the reasons most of the wilderness excursions are done on foot or by boat.
“For 15 years, we’ve specialized in light-footprint, personalized eco-tours into Canada’s North,” said Mike Reimer, co-creator of Churchill Wild. “There’s something pretty awesome about coming face-to-face with a polar bear or nose to nose to a beluga whale for the first time and making that genuine connection with nature. We’re proud to partner with Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, a well-respected and like-minded company to offer such a wide ranging experience that celebrates whales and bears.”
The Canadian eco-safari experiences of Clayoquot Wilderness Resort (www.wildretreat.com) first began 13 years ago, just off the coast of Vancouver Island near Tofino, BC. The resort has popularized the term “glamping” for glamourous camping, with its award winning blend of upscale tent accommodations, with fireplaces and ensuite washrooms, antique furniture matched with Persian carpets, Healing Grounds spa, exceptional dining and adventure opportunities tucked deep within what National Geographic has termed an “upside down rainforest”.
“We have built our business on providing guests with the type of experiences they can not get any where else in the world,” says John Caton, managing director of Clayoquot Wilderness Resort. “When people see their first black bear they are hooked and want to know more, including how they relate to the Polar Bear of our northern areas. Knowing the quality of experiences offered at Churchill Wild, it was a natural fit to see how we could offer this expanded experience to guests.”
People are encouraged to call either Churchill Wild (1-866-846-9453) or Clayoquot Wilderness Resort ( 1-888-333-5405) and speak to one of the resorts’ travel experts to learn more about the Black & White Adventure package, and arrange for the type of personalized experience that is the specialty of each company. Additional information may be found at www.wildretreat.com or www.churchillwild.com.