POLAR BEAR

POLAR BEAR MIGRATION!


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Answer the call of the wild! The mighty ‘King of the Arctic’ is on the line as we embark on Fantasy’s Polar Bear Migration to witness the incredible migration of the largest land carnivores known amid the majestic beauty of Northern Canada. The change of season from the fading warm light of summer to the crisp onset of fall is the instinctive signal for polar bears to leave their summer habitat on the tundra for the ice blanketing massive Hudson Bay.  This tour is not for the timid.  This tour is for the hearty thrill seeker — ready, able and willing to tackle a sub-arctic safari by RV, train, plane and even tundra buggy!

PEACE GARDENThe adventure unfolds with a two-day rendezvous at the International Peace Garden in Dunseith, North Dakota.  Located in the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota, this tiny park marks the international border between Canada and the United States.  We have our always-popular Welcome Dinner, and take a guided tour of the International Peace Garden, as well as the North American Game Warden Museum.  This unique museum pays homage to all game wardens on the dangerous and often deadly front lines of resource protection. It is entirely dedicated to educating the public about the natural resources protected by these brave men and women.

CHURCHILL - HUDSON BAY - inukshuk

The next day we’re in Canada – in Dauphin, Manitoba to be exact!  En route, we view the Boissevain Murals, an unusual outdoor gallery of colorful murals depicting local community history. We learn more about the rugged history of Western Canada with a visit to Fort Dauphin for afternoon tea.  This trading outpost is full of archaeological fur trade and pioneer artifacts. All of the museum buildings are protected by massive wooden palisade walls. We celebrate Canada’s rich Ukrainian heritage with a Ukrainian dinner and a Ukrainian church tour.  Ukrainians originally immigrated to Canada in the 19th century as farmers.  Today, Canada enjoys the many cultural, economic, political and sports contributions of the world’s third-largest Ukrainian population, ranking only behind the Ukraine and Russia itself.

Day 4 means dinner at the Aseneskak Casino – “The Best Little Casino in Canada” in The Pas [Té Pah], Manitoba. Inside, the rich First Nations wood décor and artwork creates a warm ambiance. Surrounded by trees of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation, just minutes from the Saskatchewan River, the outdoor setting is equally welcoming.

Thompson, Manitoba is an interesting two-day stop capped by a visit to the Heritage North Museum. Log structures and mounted animals indigenous to the area, along with First Nations, fur trade, and mining artifacts, speak to the area’s rugged outdoor heritage.

A bucket experience of this magnitude is best shared with others, and as Fantasy so well knows – getting there is part of the adventure. No actual roads lead to Churchill.  It is only accessible by rail and plane. All aboard! We leave our RVs in Thompson and take a train from Thompson to Churchill, complete with our own sleeping compartment and breakfast onboard. We’ll fly back to Thompson after our Polar Bear adventure in Churchill – note: some tours will plane up and return by train.

TUNDRA BUGGY - CHURCHILL

Welcome to Churchill, Manitoba, the “Polar Bear Capital of the World!”  This rustic outpost attracts visitors from all over the world for a unique and rare wilderness experience. We stay in the center of town — at the family owned and operated Tundra Inn. We’re here in early October—prime time for viewing these great white beasts. Worshipped as Nanoo, Nanuk or Nanuq, “Master of Bears,” by the Inuit, polar bears are best observed from a moving point of view. On Fantasy’s Polar Bear Migration, you’ll see them up close and personal from the safety, warmth and comfort of a privately chartered tundra vehicle that moves smoothly over snow and ice, with all the comforts of home (including lunch!) onboard.

POLAR BEARS - CHURCHILLHere are a few polar bear fun facts for you. Polar bears have a very thick black skin that soaks in the sun’s warming rays underneath their coarse white coats. Their white coats act as camouflage against the Arctic terrain.  Ringed seals a la carte are the bears’ food of choice, and their acute sense of smell allows them to detect the presence of seals beneath three feet of snow and ice. Polar bears remain active year-round, and do not hibernate in the winter like other bears do. Finally, polar bears are often falsely featured in commercials cavorting with penguins, but the polar opposite is true:  polar bears live only in the Arctic, and penguins live in the Antarctic as well as in other parts of the southern hemisphere.

Lots to see and do in Churchill! The Itsanitaq Museum, formerly known as the Eskimo Museum, is very highly rated for its lovingly curated collection of some of the oldest Inuit artifacts and carvings in the world – all in one room! On a comprehensive Churchill City bus tour, we’ll visit historic Cape Merry Hudson, and the Polar Bear Jail, located in a former aircraft hangar.  This is where “bad bears go!”  We’ll also visit the 1979 crash site of the Miss Piggy, a Curtiss C-46 aircraft that famously crashed on landing, thankfully with no fatalities. We explore the 1960 Ithaca shipwreck on a seabed just east of Churchill, but at low tide only, please!  With Fantasy, you always have options; these optional tours include dog sled and helicopter rides.

Fast food is in a civilization far, far away, and home-cooked meals are the order of the day.  We lunch with the locals at Gypsy’s Bakery & Restaurant, and share impressions of the day over dinner at the Tundra Inn every evening.

POLAR BEARS - CHURCHILL

But it’s really all about the bears in Churchill.  The 1,000 or so resident bears are usually hungry, infinitely entertaining, sometimes unruly but always have the right of way in Churchill. In fact, the number of polar bears passing through Churchill in October far surpasses the number of human inhabitants, and needless to say no one wants to argue with a 1,400-pound, 10-foot bear!

It’s already Day 10, and after breakfast at the Tundra Inn, we take our sack lunches from the hotel and fly Churchill back to Thompson, Manitoba to reunite with our RVs and the RV lifestyle we know and love. Dinner in Thompson tonight!

We overnight in Fairford, Manitoba on our way to the vibrant capital city of Winnipeg/Iles- Des-Chene, known as the “Gateway to the West.” But we’re not done yet! A guided city tour gives us our bearings beginning with the beautiful Saint Boniface Cathedral, the “Mother Church of Western Canada,” founded in 1818.  We visit Assiniboine Park & Garden, 1,100 acres of pure landscaped joy. This sacred green space features 400 acres devoted to English landscape style, a forest, a zoo, a conservatory, a sculpture garden, a miniature railway and an outdoor theatre. (Everything except a “partridge in a pear tree!”)  We also visit the magnificent Manitoba Legislative Building, known for its history and architecture.

WINNIPEG - assiniboine parkA fitting closing to our Polar Bear Migration is our Farewell Dinner at Winnipeg’s most famous meeting place on the banks of the mighty Assiniboine and Red rivers.  This has been a gathering spot for all people and cultures for more than 6,000 years. After we break camp at our farewell breakfast in the morning, you’ll have time to ponder this amazing journey as you move on to your next RV adventure.

Invitations to meet the rare, precious, and beautiful polar bear in his natural habitat are not easy to get, and by now we know that the most fearsome land predators on the planet aren’t easy to get to since we traveled by RV, train, plane and tundra buggy just to meet them. All arrangements are professionally handled for you by the experienced Fantasy staff.