The Polar Bear Capital of the World


One of the ironies of Churchill is that its residents, who have so much to lose from climate change, often have to drive for their own safety. Signs emblazoned with the silhouette of a polar bear warn pedestrians not to walk in certain areas around town and on the banks of the Churchill River. People leave their cars, and sometimes their houses, unlocked, in case they or a passerby need to make a quick escape from a hungry animal.

Like Juneau, Alaska, there’s no way to get to Churchill by car—Highway 6 ends in Thompson, several hours south. Visitors either fly or take a two-day train ride from Winnipeg. Food comes in by rail or through the port, a concrete hulk on a nearby inlet that freezes solid in the winter.

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