Churchill Manitoba~

Oh course I have to lead with the bears. Churchill is often referred to as ‘The Polar Bear Capitol of the world’ and I do have more of them to show you. This is a different mother and cub from the ones I posted before and they are shot in black and white.

Churchill itself is a most remarkable and unique place. In the summer it is nippy, but in the winter, it is another story altogether. Hudson Bay freezes over and the polar bears are in their element. People, not so much. But clever and resourceful humans have adapted many ways to make life in this forbidding climate livable. Check out this polar research vehicle which you have to admit is pretty darn nifty. (In the background you can see an abandoned missile silo. More about this later).

Decades ago polar bear populations around Churchill were in very serious decline. Protection and creative bear management practices have brought numbers up significantly. This is the ‘Polar Bear Holding Facility,’ which locals call, “Polar Bear Jail.” Bears that cause repeated problems in town are held in this facility and then relocated by helicopter far away in the tundra. The town has a Bear Patrol, which is called out when bears become a threat, to shoo them out of town. These smart practices are saving the lives of both bears and people.

Inukshuks were used by northern Inuit people as traditional directional markers. An Inukshuk like this one symbolizes friendship and safety. Today, “Inukshuks have been transformed into worldwide symbols of hope and friendship transcending borders and welcoming people all over the world.”

(Source: https://www.sustainabilitytelevision.com/news/why-inukshuk-represents-heart-canada)

Respecting the meaning of symbols like this seems more important than ever in today’s world.

Note: the femur bone at the bottom right of the photo. Most likely caribou. This is polar bear country after all.

Traditional Caribou Hall is a National Landmark and a town centerpiece.

My son is checking out the wreck of a plane that crashed in Churchill in 1979. All aboard survived, but what ends up in Churchill, often stays in Churchill, because the only way in and out of town is either a train ride that takes about 45 hours, or an air flight. The commuter airline that makes the trip between Winnipeg and Churchill is called “Calm Air.” It offers a lovely ride that we enjoyed immensely, even though some locals refer to the airline as “Calamity Air,” due to, errrr…..unforeseen weather variations enroute.

These are the community vegetable gardens. Vegetables are prized and hard to grow in this frozen tundra environment, so community effort is important. Recycled arctic buggy wheels make useful above frozen ground planters.

A traditional cabin built to withstand the arctic winter.

Our lodge was built of reclaimed logs and has this sign in front.

Churchill is filled with amazing open air art. Click on this link and read how and why this is so. You will be glad you did. The story is awe inspiring: https://www.cbc.ca/cbcdocspov/features/a-winnipeg-artist-brought-hope-to-churchill-manitoba-when-they-needed-it-th

This abandoned building is a concrete blast shelter connected to a former missile test facility by underground tunnels. This facility operated in Churchill from the 1950’s until the mid 1980’s. All the missile testing buildings are now abandoned.

The seemingly endless miles and miles of tundra topography surrounding Churchill is stunning and utterly unique.

Cheers to you from amazingly beautiful Churchill Manitoba~

229 thoughts on “Churchill Manitoba~

  1. It is beautiful! I’m thrilled they have done something to help the bears.
    I checked out the artist’s article. I adore public art!!!!
    The best, makes me laugh, is the pole with the directions and mileage! a new age inukshuk!

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    • Your history fascinates me Rebecca. I am home now, already thinking of returning, maybe in a couple of years in spring when the birds arrive. The train ride would be interesting too, crossing all that solitary taiga. I think I would love it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad you led with the bears – heart melting.
    I’ve never been to Churchill but I’d love to – for the bears of course.
    After years in/close to the Yukon those log buildings look awfully familiar.
    Alison

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  3. Oh my… what beautiful bears and photos Cindy and loved reading that these bears are now being protected more… Love the artwork on that building. And what a great way of recycling old worn tires in that community garden..
    Many thanks for sharing your travels and amazing photography skills..
    Much love your way ❤

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  4. Thank you for introducing us to this remote part of Canada. I also read the story of the artists, which was heartwarming. I was particularly struck by the polar bear photo because both their postures and their expressions look exactly like those of my white Siberian Husky.

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  5. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    If you are not out dancing this Saturday night then I think you should at least go out on the town in Churchill Manitoba, but watch out the bear patrol does not put you in the lock up for troublesome visitors. As always Cindy Knoke brings the wild and the beautiful to us, especially grateful not to travel by calamity air!!! Head over and enjoy and watch out for bears.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Folks who suggest “may you lead an interesting life” is a curse need to follow you for a while to get an attitude adjustment. Churchill is yet another interesting place in your portfolio. (And I didn’t realize that there could be trees in the tundra.)

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    • Yes, that is a pointed quote isn’t it. The trees are stunted and sparse, with branches often growing on the leeward side only. They have shallow roots. There are berries growing all over too, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries. You can eat them but they grow flat on the ground like grass with no bushes and the berries are miniaturized. Completely unique.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great narrative story for the great pics. I’m assuming Churchill was named after Winston Churchill as it is was under British rule? Would be a great place to visit. I love the polar bear pics in all these posts. I have been to Vancouver, B.C., Alberta and Nova Scotia and one other province up in Canada on vacation trips in the past but not been to Churchill but would be awesome to visit there. Very resourceful people there it looks like with what they do to withstand the cold artic climate.

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  8. I had no idea about polar bears and their fur not actually being white. That was very interesting. I
    Also love the outdoor murals that’s very cool. I think they brighten up many places, be they up north in the wilderness or on the middle of a busy city. I like the beluga whales though and couldn’t help but think they like the polar bears are both-endangered and it would be a great loss not to have them.

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  9. BONJOUR AMIE ET GENTLLE CINDY BEAU COMMENTAIRE SUR LA VIE DES OURS BLANCS

    Chaque jour quelque soit l’heure
    J’allume mon ordinateur
    Ce n’est qu’une petite boîte rectangulaire
    Parfois elle me fais râlé
    Parce qu’elle me fait attendre
    Pourtant elle a le cœur tendre
    Elle t’envoie mes courriers
    Sans jamais se fatiguer
    Elle affiche mes mots
    Sans jamais me dire si c’est trop
    Elle transporte mes images
    Qu’elle affiche sur tes pages

    Maintenant encore
    Elle t’envoie un bisou de ma part
    Te souhaite une très très belle journée
    Profite bien
    Bernard

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