Sign Up for our Newsletter!
1-866-UGO-WILD (846-9453)

Posts Tagged ‘Travel Manitoba’

Congratulations LA Kings! Our Polar Bears Will See You (again) Soon!

By Rick Kemp, Director of Marketing & Communications, Churchill Wild

Congratulations are due to all of Churchill Wild’s California friends. Last night your Los Angeles Kings became the 2012 Stanley Cup Champions!

Travel Manitoba Mascot Toba on the Los Angeles Kings ice.

At home on the LA ice... It's a... uh... a Manitoba Polar Bear!

It went to the 6th game in a best-of-seven series – many were surprised it took that long. The road to the finals was dominated by the Kings as they rolled over everyone in their path. With the coveted championship trophy in the building the Kings dominated the Devils. The final score was of 6-1. Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick led the team with stellar performances, but it was a true team effort and everyone looked like a superstar.

Speaking of superstars we also saw Matthew Perry, James Gandolfini, David Beckham and my lifelong crush Alyssa Milano in the crowd. Star-studded event is an understatement — I’m sure there were others, not to mention a certain distraction for the New Jersey coach.

Canadians are known for our love of hockey and last night my family was glued to the TV watching the action. We had been cheering for the Kings since the early rounds when our personal favorites were exiled to the golf courses.

Elliot in LA Kings Dressing Room

One happy kid!

The Stanley Cup finals are a yearly ritual in our house. I am a huge hockey fan and my wife probably loves it more than I do! My 11-year-old son Elliot plays hockey and is one of those stereotypical Canadian kids you hear about — he learned to skate shortly after learning to walk.

With the recent return of our Winnipeg Jets we may have our own team, but they didn’t make the playoffs. Lucky for me I had a connection to the Kings that made them my surrogate choice for the cup.

This past spring I traveled to LA for a round of meetings and an event hosted by Travel Manitoba at the Staples Centre. Being Canadian it was an appropriate gesture to host California’s travel industry professionals (in a suite) at the game between the Calgary Flames and the Kings.

I met a lot of great people and I’ve continued to stay in contact with many of them – a few are even coming up to the lodge this summer for one of our Arctic Safaris where they will see polar bears and swim with beluga whales in July and August.

Unfortunately I missed most of the game, but I ended up with an experience I’ll always remember, and one that my son bragged to all his friends about.

Travel Manitoba has a mascot named “Toba”, a polar bear with a big round belly and an enormous head. I’m always adventurous so I volunteered to assume the Toba identity, leaving myself at the mercy of Travel Manitoba’s Dene and Lilian to dictate my agenda.

I was escorted by Kings’ staff thru the hallways under the stands (beautiful building!) to my “dressing room” where I put the costume on and immediately felt like I was transported to a 100 degree sizzling sunny summer afternoon. I didn’t realize there was a cooling unit built in and toughed it out for the remainder of my moment in the spotlight.

LA Kings Mascot Bailey vs Travel Manitoba Mascot Toba

Mascot Showdown

Between the first and second period I was ushered onto the ice to assist the King’s mascot Bailey in supervising/refereeing a mini-game with mini players. As the kids skated circles around us we were sideshow entertainment for the fans.

When we inevitably met at center ice it was a surreal summit of two safari icons. The African Safari’s lion meets our Arctic Safari’s polar bear.

I couldn’t see much from inside that immense white bobble-head but I was assured the exchange was both comical and entertaining – and I give all credit to Bailey.

I may have missed the suite visit from one of my all-time hockey heroes (Luc Robitaille) but how many people can say they dressed as a polar bear in LA and waddled around in front of 18,000 fans? I guess this was my big Hollywood moment.

The Kings franchise was founded on February 9, 1966, when the city was awarded a 1967-68 NHL expansion franchise, becoming one of six new teams (California Seals, LA Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the St. Louis Blues).

In the 45-year history of the franchise the Kings had never won a Stanley Cup. From the days of Marcel Dionne and Rogie Vachon to the era of Gretzky and Robitaille the Kings had many sweet victories and sad defeats, even going so far as losing in the Stanley Cup final of 1992-93.

The current roster including Brown, Quick, Richards, Carter, Gagne and the guiding expertise of Darryl Sutter are sure to make future seasons just as exciting. I can’t wait to see them face off against the Jets!

Congrats again to our California friends! Our polar bears look forward to seeing you this summer!

Travel Manitoba Mascot Toba (Churchill Wild) with LA Kings.

A polar bear in LA... Kings! Congratulations on winning the 2012 Stanley Cup!

Polar Bear Adventure in Churchill Canada – Part 2

GeorgieJet, from the popular travel website “JohnnyJet.com“, came up to the Seal River Heritage Lodge this summer to experience Churchill Wild’s “Birds, Bears & Belugas“, a one-of-a-kind Arctic summer adventure.

beluga swim

Swimming with Beluga Whales @ Seal River Heritage Lodge

Her first account of the adventure can be found here. Now on to part two!

BBB, as we like to call it, has the best of the best in an Arctic summer experience for wildlife lovers, it is a step beyond the traditional Churchill polar bear tour - beluga whale swims, incredible scenery, incredible Arctic cuisine, approximately 250 species of birds and Churchill Wild’s trademark polar bear hikes. It’s all on the ground, up close and personal with the world’s largest carnivore and environmental poster child.

Here’s part of what she had to say about the food at Churchill Wild’s Seal River Heritage Lodge:

Most of the recipes come from the array of cookbooks written by Jeanne’s mother, but the creative chefs come up with their own as well. Breakfast included homemade granola, a hot cereal call Red River, yogurts, and fresh fruit. There were also homemade muffins, breads, egg dishes – like frittatas or egg blossoms, and bacon. The coffee is strong and delicious. The chefs (usually related to the Webbers/Reimers in some way, or friends of the family) cook in the open and the dining room completely surrounded by windows. The panoramic views really make you feel you are on top of the world and make wildlife spotting easy and there is a telescope and a deck accessible here.

Here’s part of what she had to say about swimming in the Hudson Bay with beluga whales:

Kayaking was a cool experience, because there were no bugs and the Belugas came quite close to us. At one moment, I felt like I was accompanied by many of them. Listening to their constant and highly physical breathing above the water was calming, like a meditation.

:::

…the dry suit was cumbersome to put on and take off because I was sharing it, so I was a bit grumpy… until it was my turn to get into the water! The water was not at all cold (dry suit) and I opted not to wear the wetsuit hood. I had a snorkel and mask and was being “trolled” by my feet, face down on a 15 foot tether. An awkward position, but perfect for attracting the whales.

I did not get close enough to see the Belugas, as others did, but I heard them! It was absolutely magical! Their sounds are really incredible and I felt like I was on another planet surrounded by hundreds of welcoming, sentient beings talking to me in another language. I did not understand what they were saying, but I could FEEL their curiosity and their acceptance and love! I think the human group was disappointed that I did not see the Belugas underwater or get a picture of them, but I was completely satisfied. I would do it again in a minute, if I had the chance. It was undeniably another life changing moment within my 6 days at Seal River Lodge! As a travel writer, I have had hundreds of amazing experiences, but this is rated amongst my top five!

Make sure you go past the JohnnyJet website and read the whole thing. Georgette – thanks for coming up and sharing your experience!

Polar Bear Adventure in Churchill Canada

Polar Bear paw

Polar bear paw print + rubber boot

GeorgieJet, from the popular travel website “JohnnyJet.com“, came up to the Seal River Heritage Lodge this summer to experience Churchill Wild’s “Birds, Bears & Belugas“, a one-of-a-kind Arctic summer adventure.

BBB, as we like to call it, has the best of the best in an Arctic summer experience for wildlife lovers, it is a step beyond the traditional Churchill polar bear tour - beluga whale swims, incredible scenery, approximately 250 species of birds and Churchill Wild’s trademark polar bear hikes. It’s all on the ground, up close and personal with the world’s largest carnivore and environmental poster child.

Rick Kemp, Churchill Wild’s Director of Marketing & Communications, met with GeorgieJet in New York this past spring and was able to entice her to pay us a visit. With the support of Travel Manitoba Georgie made her way to the “Wildest Place on Earth” and logged her experiences regularly from the lodge.

Here’s part of what she had to say about her life changing experience at Churchill Wild’s Seal River Heritage Lodge:

We walked about 500 yards out on the mudflats as it was low tide. The large bear, approx. 1000 pounds, was another 500 yards farther out on a point of rocks. I was astounded at how close we were. He put his nose up in the air and got a whiff of our scent. Their sense of smell is incredible and their eyesight and hearing are keen as well. He sensed that we were not a threat or food, and continued to relax on his spot of sand and rocks, aware of us, but tolerant.

Go past the JohnnyJet website and read the whole thing! Georgie told us she will be writing about her beluga swim and Jeanne’s renowned meals next. We’ll let everyone know when that story becomes available.

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!

Churchill Wild chefs serve up gourmet meals for Canadian Tourism Commission on Olympic Torch weekend

Wild Tundra Cranberry Cake with Warm Butter Sauce

Wild Tundra Cranberry Cake with Warm Butter Sauce

A delegation from the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) ventured to the polar bear capital of the world – Churchill, Manitoba – to join in the festivities on the weekend the Olympic Torch arrived in this small arctic seaport town, and the Churchill Wild chefs had the honor of cooking dinner for them!

Helen Webber and Dave Schellenberg prepared dinner for a group of 15 which included delegates from the CTC, a representative from Travel Manitoba, Frontiers North owners Linda and Merv Gunter, Frontiers North GM John Gunter and his wife Lisa Joy. Below is the menu the Churchill Wild chefs prepared for the group:

Appetizers
Bacon-Wrapped Manitoba Snow Goose
Any Port in a Storm Blue Cheese Spread
Baked Brie with Wild Cranberry Ginger Chutney

Salad & Bread
Mixed Field Greens with Mustard Vinaigrette
Artesian Style “Shaggy” Bread

Entrée
Manitoba Wild Rice and Black Bean Casserole
Lemon Thyme Spinach
Potato and Bacon Au Gratin
Slow Roasted Organic Caribou Served with Double Mushroom Ragout
Individual Horseradish Bread Pudding

Dessert
Wild Tundra Cranberry Cake with Warm Butter Sauce
North Knife Lake Blueberry Cream Cheese Tart

Your Dinner tonight has been prepared fresh for you while you were out on your Tundra Buggy Adventure. Our bread is made fresh daily with fresh ground flour and all berries are hand picked on hands and knees and are local to Churchill and our Lodges.

Feel free to ask questions, indulge and enjoy!