Home - Churchill Bear Smart Manitoba
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Welcome to Churchill, Manitoba!

Polar Bear Capital of the World

You are in bear country here. Churchill boasts sightings of all three North American species of bear. Many of you came here to view these majestic animals in their natural environment. Please do your part to keep the bears safe from harm and keep yourself out of danger as well.


Whether you’re living in town or a visitor, you need to be wary of polar bears year-round, but, particularly in October and November, when the bears are more commonly around the town.

We take a lot of pride in our home, so please treat it with respect.

Following safety guidelines keep you safer, but it also keeps the bears safer - bears involved in an incident with people are often killed.

Keeping people and bears safe

Polar bears are part of life in Churchill. Long before there was a community here, polar bears gathered on this coast waiting for the ice to form on Hudson Bay. As our community has grown it has worked to find a balance between people and nature. The formation of the Churchill Bear Smart Working Group is part of this effort. Churchill Bear Smart is committed to finding ways to ensure the safety of both people and polar bears. Use this site to find out what we are doing, and to find information on how you can best stay safe in polar bear country.

Top Tips 

When in bear country, be prepared, be aware:

  • Avoid situations where you might come too close to bears
  • Look around carefully when exiting buildings or vehicles, especially when it’s dark
  • Avoid poorly lit areas and stick to main streets when walking around town
  • Stay with another person or group when possible
  • Carry a deterrent (Bright flashlight, handheld flare, noisemaker, or bear spray if available)

If You Encounter A Polar Bear:

  • STAY CALM and do not run
  • Check that all people in your group are accounted for and stay together
  • Back away, keeping the bear in sight until you reach safety
  • Get into your vehicle or a building as rapidly as possible
  • Do not run
  • Call for help by phoning Polar Bear Alert at: 204-675-2327

More info

Polar bear tourism operators

A big part of staying safe while visiting polar bear country is finding experienced and knowledgeable tourism operators who can provide a quality polar bear experience.  

You can find tour companies here:  

Town of Churchill

Who we are

We are a group of people interested in making sure life in Churchill is safer for both people and bears. We were brought together by the Town in 2019. Our membership includes people from: 

Town of Churchill 

Tour operators 

Chamber of commerce 

Community at large 

Polar Bears International 

Government of Manitoba 

Government of Canada 

What we’re doing

Since its formation in 2019 the Churchill Bear Smart group has been working on a variety of projects: 

Purchase and placement of additional bear-proof garbage containers

New bear safety video

Reinstatement of end of season meetings between province and tourism operators

Campaign to change bear relocation policy

Review of regulatory environment for polar bear tourism

Regular briefings/
updates on local polar bear research findings