The Hudson Bay Adventure
Hudson Bay, in northern Manitoba, is wilderness at its finest. This huge body of water was discovered by Henry Hudson in the 17th century. Here the Hudson’s Bay Company established its first trading post to trade for furs with the Cree, Inuit, and Naskapi who inhabited the area.
Churchill, a town of about 1000 people, a mixture of Dene, Cree Inuit, Metis, and Caucasian, nestles on the western shore of the bay. The smaller settlement of York Factory, which encompasses a Reservation and a white settlement, has a population, all told, of under 1000, and is further south along the shores of the bay.
This is a country of contrasts. Summers are short but warm, and, if you visit during July and August, experienced scuba divers can find a real adventure scuba diving with beluga whales. In winter, dog sledding is an excellent pastime. Another great pastime – just sitting at your window watching the brilliant display put on by the aurora borealis – the northern lights as they play across the sky.
During summer, temperatures are mild, often rising to sixty degrees Fahrenheit. In winter, however, it can drop to 40 below zero, and often much colder. Add to that, strong wind and blowing snow, and it’s a good time to stay indoors beside a roaring fire.
If you are a wildlife connoisseur, the Hudson Bay area is the place for you. Water creatures include seals, walrus and beluga, bowhead, and killer whales. Birds include everything from barn owls to ravens to Canada geese. Dozens of species of animals inhabit the area – polar bears, beaver, moose, caribou, and wolves.
Add it all up, and, for the adventurous, it’s the place to go. Besides the wildlife, the scenery is magnificent and varied, from the waters of the bay to the rolling, treeless plains of the tundra. The Churchill River flows into Hudson Bay at the town of Churchill and the Hayes and Nelson Rivers convene to flow into the bay at York Factory.
Of course, you don’t have to “rough it” unless that’s what you want to do. Several excellent hotels and fine restaurants in Churchill are ready to cater to your needs. A tour to suit your every desire awaits you – view the whales, take a tour by dog sled or by helicopter. Take a nature tour to see the birds or the bears, or go hunting or fishing. My favorite? The tour to the Tundra Aurora domes where you can relax in warm comfort and watch the glory of the northern lights.
History is alive in Churchill. It lives in museums and historical points of interest. This is an exciting and interesting spot to visit. Don’t miss it because it’s a bit remote. Have an adventure. You won’t be sorry.