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Posts Tagged ‘polar bear watching’

Polar Bear Capital: Report from Seal River – Birds, Bears & Belugas

by Allison Reimer

Peek-a-boo polar bear

Peek-a-Boo Polar Bear

It’s been a slower week at the Seal River Heritage Lodge because of the cool and cloudy weather but who can control that?

Thankfully the outdoor conditions haven’t deterred our adventurous polar bears, who have been plentiful for the opening week of Birds, Bears & Belugas.

We had a beautiful, big white bear wander by two days ago and last night we had a visit from a smaller bear. He sniffed around the lodge for quite some time and stood up to peer into the windows every once and a while.

Everyone was very excited – rushing from window to window as quietly as possible so as not to scare him off. Eventually he meandered off to get some rest and once the excitement died down we all followed suit.

Polar Bear Dune Buggy Camera
Polar Bear Dune Buggy Camera

Our videographer, Stuart, configured two cameras on top of what resembles a mini dune buggy in attempts to get Polar Bear footage at a closer (but safer for him) distance.

The guests are off on a new adventure today – a trip out to explore the tundra flats. We also have a group of travel agents from around the world visiting us for lunch today, courtesy of Travel Manitoba.

Thank You!

Would you like Red or White wine with your Polar Bear – watching?

Polar bear shops for wine at Banville & Jones Wine Co. to celebrate Food Day Canada 2011

Polar bear shopping at Banville & Jones Wine Co. in Winnipeg

Churchill Wild has partnered with Banville & Jones Wine Co. to celebrate Food Day Canada 2011 on July 30 with a wine pairing event at their remote Seal River Heritage Lodge on the coast of Hudson Bay.

“It’s an honor to partner with Churchill Wild for Food Day Canada,” said Jill Kwiatkoski, Assistant Buyer/Manager at Banville & Jones.

“They are using beautiful, clean, fresh food that pairs perfectly with the Canadian-themed wines. The wines for the event are produced by smaller Artisan style wine-producers from B.C. and Ontario, and are very eco-friendly, which fits perfectly with Churchill Wild’s philosophy. It’s an amazing menu with stunning Canadian wines.”

Churchill Wild participated in Food Day Canada 2010 and is proud to be back this year with partner Banville & Jones. Five different red and white wines will be served with a five-course meal prepared from the award-winning Canadian cookbook series Blueberries and Polar Bears.

“These are unique and exceptional Canadian wines,” said Rick Kemp, Director of Marketing & Communications for Churchill Wild.”We’re excited about partnering with Banville & Jones for Food Day Canada this year. It was a hit with guests who were with us last year for the Birds, Bears & Belugas adventure and we expect it to be even better this year with Banville & Jones and Jeanne’s new gourmet kitchen.”

New Polar Bear Viewing Observatory/Dining Room at Seal River Lodge on the Hudson Bay Coast near Churchill, Manitoba

Seal River Lodge

Churchill Wild, which owns and operates Canada’s premier remote polar bear lodges for viewing polar bears in their true environment, hauled materials over the Hudson Bay sea ice this spring to build the new kitchen at Seal River Heritage Lodge. A new dining room with huge picture windows overlooking Hudson Bay was built last year, and the new kitchen this year complements it perfectly, offering spectacular polar bear viewing – sometimes even while eating dinner!

You can keep up with Churchill Wild happenings through their Newsletter or even better, by socializing with them on Facebook. It’s a rare and special feeling to watch the world’s largest land carnivore up close and personal in their natural environment, and these great white bears will soon be included in the Species at Risk Act.

Banville & Jones Wine Co. was founded in 1999 by sisters, Lia Banville and Tina Jones. The Tuscan-inspired wine boutique features all the best elements of a world-class wine store, with over 3000 sku’s of wine, gifts and gourmet items from around the world. Banville & Jones is the largest private wine seller in Manitoba, and has been named among the top 50 wine retailers in Canada by Wine Access magazine.

New Dining Room and Kitchen at Seal River Lodge

New Dining Room and Kitchen at Seal River Lodge

Dedicated to wine education and the enjoyment of wine in an elegant and approachable atmosphere, Banville and Jones offers numerous in-store events including cooking classes, wine tastings and seminars and produces a magazine, a newsletter and a wine blog. They are also very active online. To learn more about Banville and Jones Wine Co. worldwide or in Winnipeg, please visit their Web site at: http://www.banvilleandjones.com or check them out on Facebook.

Food Day Canada is all about Canada – Canadian producers, chefs, restaurants and you, with local ingredients from backyards to fields to fresh clean northern waters. The largest food-related event in the country, Food Day Canada was founded by renowned culinary activist, educator, and writer Anita Stewart.

Now in its eleventh year, Food Day Canada honors establishments, restaurants an individuals who best exemplify the philosophy of “local, regional, seasonal” by presenting awards in several unique categories.

Churchill Polar Bear Yawning on Hudson Bay Coast near Seal River

Waiter... more wine please...

Numerous restaurants across Canada will be involved in the Food Day Canada celebration, and bronze, silver, and gold awards sponsored by leaders in the Canadian food industry will be presented for exemplary skill, creativity and conscientiousness.

For additional information about participating restaurants, partners, recipes, award-winners and more please visit the Food Day Canada Web site at www.FoodDay.ca

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Spectacular polar bear viewing, fabulous guests and a beautiful new dining room make for wondrous summer on Hudson Bay Coast

Polar bears were everywhere in the Summer of 2010 at Churchill Wild's Seal River Heritage Lodge.

Polar bears everywhere!

Unbelievable, wow, incredible, spectacular, best ever, life changing, beyond expectations, and the list goes on – we can never quite identify the right superlative to describe this past season at Churchill Wild!

Once again the guest book is full of great comments and wondrous praises heaped upon our hard working staff and the awesome Churchill Wild polar bear experience they provide. Thank you to all our new found friends, who traveled from all corners of the globe this year, for making the time and financial commitment to join us on the Hudson Bay coast.

It’s difficult to look back over the crazy exciting busyness of this summer season and identify the highlights – there were so many! One of the most important accomplishments was the completion of the new dining room, with its huge viewing windows looking out over the Bay, a new roof, a new tower access, new decks, and new staff quarters.

I get tired just thinking about all the work that had to be done to see that beautiful building standing there. Yvan and

New dining room, polar bear obervatory at Seal River Lodge.

New Seal River Lodge dining room completed!

crew pulled off another miracle, from planning the project last season, to ordering and shipping materials by train to Churchill in January, then spending two weeks in March dragging freight over the frozen sea to the Lodge and finally back in June with the construction crew to build like madmen so we could be ready for first guests in July. Wow! And now we start the whole process all over again – Jeanne has “assured” all of us that she is getting her new kitchen next year.

Our summer Birds, Bears, and Belugas adventure might well have been called Bears, Bears, and Bears as we enjoyed some of the finest summer polar bear action on the planet. Seal River has always been a mecca for polar bears coming off the ice in July, but this year was nothing short of incredible.

One afternoon aerial tour spotted over 100 bears within 30 kilometers of Seal River, numbers which were certainly confirmed by the daily bear action at the Lodge. And the whales continue to enthrall intrepid snorkelers with their charming attention to the strange creatures invading their watery domain. Interactive singing opportunities brought out the creative in everyone. And although it was difficult to tell which whale “whisperer” had the best tune, it was fairly obvious that our whale friends enjoy listening to a well gurgled tune.

Mike Reimer on Hudson Bay. Churchill Wild. Summer 2010.

A beautiful summer day on Hudson Bay!

This past year Churchill Wild also completed the purchase and expansion of the Canada’s newest and most exciting polar bear destination, the Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge located near Cape Tatnum. Cape Tatnum is home to the greatest concentration of summer polar bears on earth and is also near the site of a recently discovered polar bear denning area, not to mention fantastic wolf viewing, countless moose, and a bird migration beyond number. This will undoubtedly become the finest wild polar bear adventure in our ever-expanding stable of great polar bear trips, on par with the great African wildlife safaris of years gone by. Please plan to join us!

Churchill Wild can now guarantee world class polar bear viewing and ground level polar bear photo opportunities at its remote ecolodges from July through to the end of the traditional November season – another world first.

A big heartfelt thanks to all our wonderful guests for making Seal River Lodge a fabulous place to be this summer!  We couldn’t have done it without you. Now it’s time for the Great Ice Bear Tour and the Polar Bear Photo Safari.

We hope you can join us again someday soon!

Mike & Jeanne Reimer & Family

Churchill Wild’s remote polar bear lodges featured in Financial Post as one of Canada’s elite adventure vacation destinations

Polar bear in fireweed at Seal River Lodge on the Hudson Bay Coast near Churchill

Polar bear in fireweed - Photo Credit: Dennis Fast

Churchill Wild’s remote polar bear ecolodges on the Hudson Bay Coast were featured in the Financial Post as “the” cool adventure vacation spots for viewing polar bears, swimming with beluga whales and enjoying culinary delights! The article, entitled, At their leisure,  also talks about where people are spending their money on holidays and includes vacation ideas from Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.

Below are a few excerpts of what the Financial Post had to say about Churchill Wild.

“Roughing it in style is the vacation trend du jour. At the Seal River Heritage eco-lodge on the Hudson Bay Coast, Manitoba’s happy few explore the depths of nature by day in one of the planet’s most rugged environments. Then it’s nice nights with gourmet fare and proper drinks in a chic wilderness outpost.”

“It takes time – and money – to get there. After a flight to Churchill, it’s a 30-minute transfer by Turbo beaver float plane to the 12-room hand-made lodge completely lost in the tundra. Remote yes, but animal-wise, this is where the action is. Stalk polar bears near the Seal River estuary or swim or snorkel with the belugas, then come back to the lodge to embark on a culinary adventure.”

“The gourmet fare prepared by Helen Webber, matriarch of the foodie family who own the lodge, makes the 100-mile diet seem so south of the 49th parallel. Almond-crusted lake trout, slow-roasted barbeque caribou sandwiches and cranberry cake with warm butter sauce, are examples of her dinners sourced from within walking distance. Guests have been so impressed with the food that they insisted Ms. Webber do a cookbook. Her Blueberries and Polar Bears cookbook was the first of what would become a series and a Canadian bestseller.”

Read full article…

Churchill Wild polar bear tours featured in The Dallas Morning News

Polar bear outside Seal River Lodge on Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba

Polar bear outside new dining room at Seal River Lodge

Below is an excerpt from a story which originally appeared in the July 28, 2010 issue of The Dallas Morning News. It was written by Glen Petrie, a freelance writer from Canada.

Guests mingle with polar bears at Seal River Heritage Lodge in Canada

CHURCHILL, Manitoba – I see my first polar bear from a distance of 300 feet – straight down. Close-up views of polar bears in the wild are common at the Seal River Heritage Lodge in Churchill, Manitoba.

We’re flying so low that every willow branch on the marshy shores of Hudson Bay is clearly visible, and Nelson the pilot is excitedly pointing. “There!”

He rolls the turbo Beaver into a sudden 30-degree bank and the sky is replaced by a blur of passing bush. Strapped into the co-pilot’s seat, I struggle against gravity to follow his jabbing finger. We’re spiraling to earth; I search for the bear but my eyes keep darting back to the altimeter. In the back, I glimpse ashen passengers with their arms braced against the fuselage.

The bear zips past – a ball of white like arctic cotton grass – and is gone. Nelson changes course, and my stomach pulls in the opposite direction, the horizon rolling to a crazy new angle. Nelson is pointing past my nose. “There, there! See him?” The bear looks up.

This kind of impromptu sightseeing goes on for the entire 30-minute flight from Churchill, serving up six polar bears and two moose, until a lonely wooden lodge appears on the rocky shore. There are two buildings, one with solar panels. There is a scar that turns out to be a dirt airstrip.

Seal River Heritage Lodge is a fly-in outpost amid one of the world’s major polar bear populations, run by husband- and-wife team Mike and Jeanne Reimer as part of their tour company, Churchill Wild. Unlike the well-known tundra tours on the outskirts of town that use supersize buses on giant wheels, in which even sticking your arm outside is forbidden, Seal River gives animal lovers the chance to walk among wild polar bears in their native habitat.

But there are rules… Read the full story at The Dallas Morning News