There's little doubt that Manitoba's real highlight are the polar bears. The city of Churchill, which sits on the shores of the vast Hudson Bay, is often referred to as the 'polar bear capital of the world'. Each autumn hundreds of bears assemble on the western shore and wait for the winter ice to form over the bay and for the hunting season to begin. Visitors can head out from the city into surrounding tundra in custom made tundra vehicles in order to catch a glimpse of the bears as they become more active and prepare to head off to their winter habitats.
The bears are not the regions' only draw however, with the summer months being a great time to see beluga whales in the Churchill River – the world's largest population of these charming creatures along the bay's coast. The darker winter months on the other hand, create the perfect environment to witness the beautiful spectacle of the Aurora Borealis or take part in the thrilling activity of dog sledding.
All trips to Churchill will begin and end with at least one night in the state capital and gateway city of Winnipeg, which is a popular destination in its own right. Located at the confluence of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers, the Forks region was a key meeting, trading, fishing and hunting point for First Nations people for thousands of years before first European settlers arrived. It became an important fur trade centre from the mid-18th Century. Today it's a diverse, multilingual city, with a strong First Nations culture. Highlights of the city include the Canadian Museum of Human Rights – the only national museum outside of Ottawa – and the previously mentioned historic area of the city, The Forks. There are plenty of festivals to enjoy year round as well as a vibrant nightlife scene in the historic Exchange District.
GMT -6 hours
Provincial capital: Winnepeg
English is widely spoken all over Canada except Québec, which is bilingual (French-English).