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A Winter Adventure in Churchill, Canada—One of the Best Places to See the Aurora Borealis!

In the same land that hosts the brief, brilliant summer of beluga whales and the polar bears of autumn comes an amazing phenomenon that illumines the dark winter skies. The ethereal northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, meaning “north wind of the dawn,” brighten the night sky in a mystical display of color. Churchill, Manitoba has one of the heaviest concentrations of auroral activity on Earth, making it an ideal destination for a northern lights tour. View the lights from varied heated vantage points including our custom-built Aurora Pod®, offering 360-degree views of the night sky through its glass top and sides. On this exciting Arctic adventure, our days are filled with distinctly northern activities such as dog sledding, and our nights with the potential for the best aurora viewing on the planet

Highlights:

  • Experience the northern lights in warmth and comfort from our innovative Aurora Pod® with glass ceiling and sides, and from inside heated circular aurora domes
  • Ride the Hudson Bay Railway from southern prairie to subarctic tundra, enjoying unobstructed views from the observation car—or choose a direct flight option
  • Discover local lifestyles and traditions of northern indigenous peoples on an array of winter activities in and around Churchill, including an authentic dog sled ride

Day 1: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Arrive in Winnipeg and transfer to the Fort Garry Hotel. Built in 1913 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, the French chateau-style hotel remains the grande dame of Canada's prairie capital, offering first-class hospitality. Enjoy a welcome dinner this evening with your Expedition Leader and fellow travelers.

Day 2: Winnipeg / Tundra Train
In preparation for our northern lights encounters, we attend a planetarium program at the Manitoba Museum focusing on the science of the aurora borealis. We'll also tour exhibits reflecting the human and natural heritage of the province, including the history of Canada's northern indigenous cultures. Contingent on the train schedule, we board the Hudson Bay Railway to Churchill around lunchtime. As darkness falls, make your way to the train’s new glass-domed observation car for possible sightings of the northern lights from this panoramic indoor vantage that allows you to gaze straight up into the sky.

Day 3: Travel to Churchill by Rail
Continuing northward on the train, we leave the southern prairies behind and enter the landscape of the subarctic. Throughout the day, enjoy the fishbowl view of the wild expanse beyond as you relax in the domed observation car. Plains transition to dense boreal forest, also called taiga, the coniferous zone that circles the planet beneath the Arctic Circle and comprises one-third of the earth’s forests. This morning, we disembark for several hours, with time to eat lunch in town and explore the frozen waterfall at Pisew Falls Park. Back on board this afternoon, watch stunted spruce trees and boggy muskeg give way to frozen tundra as we continue toward Churchill, a frontier town on the edge of Hudson Bay. The “Tundra Train” is relaxing and comfortable, and each cabin has its own private bathroom. At night, we may get a preview of the northern lights outside the large individual windows of our sleeper cabins, and from the observation car.

Days 4–6: Churchill—History, Culture, Nature & Aurora Viewing
On arrival in Churchill, transfer to our hotel and take a brief tour of this historic northern outpost town. The Hudson’s Bay Company established a fort here in 1717 as part of its fur-trading network across the Canadian North, but indigenous cultures had already been flourishing here amid the harsh Arctic climate for thousands of years. We explore Churchill's heritage and traditions on a visit to a local dog musher, enjoying a dog sled ride through the boreal forest; at the Eskimo Museum; and through cultural programs featuring the arts and traditions of the Inuit, Dene and Metis peoples. Outside town, our Expedition Leader introduces us to northern ecology and the stark yet alluring winter landscape.

As night falls, we await nature’s magic: the spectacle of the aurora borealis, the legendary northern lights. Each evening holds an opportunity to witness the phenomenon in warmth and comfort. Our custom-designed Aurora Pod® features 360-degree views of the sky, courtesy of its exclusive geometric glass construction. Another view on the lights happens in Plexiglass Aurora Domes positioned outside town in complete darkness. Relax on the sofas below, or climb the ladder to the upper level for an unimpeded circular view of the heavens.

Often, the aurora begins as a white glow low in the sky that slowly starts to shift and undulate. Wavy patterns evolve, colors appear and change, until the lights look like shimmering curtains of green. Sometimes, we even see yellow, red or purple tones. For centuries, the phenomenon of the northern lights was a mystery, inspiring a host of mythical explanations. While we now know that the aurora is caused by the interaction of the solar wind with the earth’s magnetic field, more poetic stories of their origin linger, including the Hudson Bay Inuit’s belief that the lights are the ethereal display of their ancestors' souls dancing in the sky. Of course, since the lights are a natural phenomenon, we are never guaranteed to see them, but Churchill has some of the most frequent and intense auroral activity on the planet...meaning our odds are very good!

Day 7: Churchill / Winnipeg
The morning is free to wander Churchill’s main street, where several locally owned shops offer authentic local handicrafts from traditional mukluks to caribou-hair sculptures. We then transfer to the airport for our flight back to Winnipeg. This evening we'll gather one last time for a farewell dinner.

Day 8: Winnipeg / Depart
After breakfast, our northern lights tour comes to a close as we transfer to the airport for flights home.

Please note: Specific timing on all of the activities in Churchill is flexible to accommodate varying weather conditions.

Starting from canadian $5995

Travel from January 20, 2018 to 24 March, 2018

 

Prices are per person based on double occupancy and are given in U.S. dollars. Dates for 2019 are tentative and will be allocated to guests on a first-come, first-served basis. 2019 fees may change slightly. Guests who reserve their space prior to final pricing confirmation will receive the lowest rate within the range offered.

TOUR CODE: NH

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