With tens of thousands of beluga whales in the Hudson Bay and polar bears making their way off the ice, Churchill, Manitoba, is a fantastic place to visit in the summer for anyone with a passion for wildlife. The town offers many ways to catch a glimpse of these creatures, from guided walks to boat trips, and all adhere to strict conservation guidelines.
Found only in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, the Kermode bear – also known as the “spirit bear” – is a unique white subspecies of the more common black bear. Prime viewing time is September and October, when the local mammals feast on spawning salmon (with luck you’ll see wolves and grizzlies, too).
What could be more iconically Canadian than a moose? And where better to see them than in Ontario’s stunning Algonquin Park? Take an early morning or evening paddle along Hailstorm Creek, or drive through the park along Highway 60 in the spring, when these magnificent beasts are drawn to the salt spread on the wintry roads.
Walk with the caribou and get a sense of what wildlife on the North American continent must have been like before European settlement. The incredible spectacle of the mass migration of tens of thousands of caribou some 1,200 miles across Nunavut’s Arctic tundra occurs twice a year, in late spring and early autumn.
Whales, orcas, belugas
On the east coast you can find up to 20 different species of whale in the waters of the Atlantic. Humpbacks and minke the most common, but finbacks, pilot whales and even blue whales might make an appearance. On the Pacific coast, look for humpbacks and grey whales, but orcas (the distinctive black and white killer whales) are most plentiful. Meanwhile, off Manitoba in Hudson Bay, you’ll find belugas, their ability to sing earning them the moniker “canaries of the sea”.
Food and Drink
Shellfish season and PEI Shellfish Festival
Prince Edward Island is a culinary treasure trove at harvest time, but the bounty of the sea takes some beating. The annual Shellfish Festival (14-17 September 2017) features oyster-shucking competitions, celebrity chefs, an “all-you-can-eat” oyster bar and the world’s longest lobster roll. Party all night to some of the best good-times music on this side of the Atlantic. A short hop from London by air, you could leave in the morning and make it to the bar well before the final encore.