Polar Bear Blog

Dymond Lake Ecolodge. Where it all began.

Dymond Lake Ecolodge. Home of the Great Ice Bear Adventure. Christine Hayden photo.
Dymond Lake Ecolodge. Home of the Great Ice Bear Adventure. Christine Hayden photo.

Dymond Lake Ecolodge is the host for our Great Ice Bear Adventure. It is also where our family originally learned how to walk with polar bears.

It was the first of our lodges built by Jeanne Reimer’s father Doug Webber. It was also where Jeanne’s mother Helen first applied (and tested) her cooking skills with guests, and where Doug learned his customer service skills (the hard way), also courtesy of guests. (Thank you everyone!) Both valued skillsets would be passed down through generations of our family working at North Knife Lake Wilderness Lodge, Dymond Lake Ecolodge, Seal River Heritage Lodge and Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge.

And not only was Helen’s cooking prowess passed down to her children and grandchildren, it was also combined with that of longtime friend Marie Woolsey, to co-author the bestselling Blueberries & Polar Bears cookbook series. Over 100,000 copies have since been sold, in a day when 5,000 is considered a bestseller, and the Blueberries & Polar Bears cookbooks form the basis for all the culinary delights served at our lodges today.

Dymond Lake Ecolodge is situated halfway between Churchill and Seal River Heritage Lodge, where the boreal forest transitions to tundra. It’s just 30 km from town and yet, nestled between the tree line of the forest and a small inlet of Hudson Bay, it has a true wilderness feel.

Cuddle time at Dymond Lake Ecolodge. Waiting for the ice. Graham Copping photo.
Cuddle time at Dymond Lake Ecolodge. Waiting for the ice. Graham Copping photo.

The lodge’s proximity to the coast, the forest and a freshwater lake means the area comes alive with a flurry of wildlife activity each fall, and encounters with the locals are never far away. We share this spot with polar bears, moose, wolverine, snowy owls, wolves and shorebirds, as well as the migratory birds that make their temporary home in the coastal mudflats that seem to extend forever at low tide.

Originally purchased by Doug and Helen Webber in 1967, Dymond Lake Ecolodge was often a refuge for Inuit and First Nations peoples traveling between Churchill and northerly Nunavut. We’ve hosted many souls who have found themselves caught in a sudden storm or who have seen our lights on and, weary from their journey, stopped in for a hot drink and a rest.

Polar bear stops in for a visit at Dymond Lake Ecolodge. Dafna Bennun photo.
Polar bear stops in for a visit at Dymond Lake Ecolodge. Dafna Bennun photo.

Historically, nearby Button Bay, an inlet of Hudson Bay just a few hundred metres from the lodge, served as an important source of shelter for those following the same route. Prevailing winds from the north would create an accumulation of snow in this spot during a storm, perfect for building an igloo in which to ride out the bad weather.

This unassuming property has all the charm and access to wildlife of our other lodges, but the shorter season of Dymond Lake gives it a certain exclusivity that sets it apart. Button Bay is one of the first places to freeze over in late fall and polar bears naturally migrate to this spot, patiently awaiting freeze-up so they can begin their annual seal hunt.

As they bide their time waiting for the ice, we have the great privilege of observing and admiring these amazing Lords of the Arctic, without the crowds. On the Great Ice Bear Adventure.

Note: Portions of the above text were excerpted from our new anniversary book, Churchill Wild 25 — Years of Adventure on the Hudson Bay Coast.

Dymond Lake Ecolodge Photos

The Great Ice Bear Adventure

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