Lords of the Arctic

A celebration of polar bears
Discover the polar bear

A subarctic symbol

Upcoming Learning Vacations

Six days I 36 spots

in 2022

$4199

Oct. 29 to Nov. 3
November 3 to 8
November 9 to 14

in 2023

$4409

Oct. 31 to Nov. 5
November 6 to 11
November 12 to 17

Churchill is the polar bear capital of the world, and the Churchill Northern Studies Centre is in the heart of all the polar bear action.

Typically solitary creatures, polar bears congregate every fall on the shores of the Hudson Bay in the hundreds. While they wait for the bay to freeze, they can often be spotted sparring, snoozing, or even snacking on seaweed.

As part of your Learning Vacation, you’ll have two opportunities to go onto the tundra in a specialized polar bear viewing vehicle. This heated vehicle has an outdoor viewing platform, so you’ll have the chance for intimate, unobstructed views.

Plus, you’ll be staying at the Centre, which is located inside the Churchill Wildlife Management Area, 23 kilometres from the town. Curious polar bears have been known to approach the building, offering another potential viewing opportunity.

On top of the incredible experience of seeing polar bears and other wildlife in their natural habitat, you’ll be busy with loads of authentic experiences with a focus on local history, culture, and the natural world, including a helicopter tour of the rugged Hudson Bay coastline and an afternoon of dog sledding.

Your expert instructor will offer insights and observations during each outing, and he’ll be presenting engaging polar bear lectures every night, providing you with an even deeper understanding of this iconic species and the challenges it faces.

Of course, polar bears are not the only wildlife in the area, so you’ll have to keep your eyes out for arctic fox, arctic hare, ptarmigan, snowy owls, and more!

Sample Itinerary

Orientation & Building Tour
Get settled at the Centre and take a compelling journey through our environmentally friendly LEED-certified research station.

Rocket Range Tour
Take a guided tour of the Churchill Rocket Research Range National Historic Site – built in 1954 – and learn about its ties to the Canadian Space Agency and NASA.

Tundra Buggy Tour
Embark on a full-day polar bear adventure aboard a custom-built Tundra Buggy, designed to keep guests (and bears) safe. Heated interior, packed lunches, and built-in bathroom mean that you can comfortably spend the whole day on the tundra.

Helicopter Tour
Get a look at the landscape from the unique perspective of a helicopter. Keep your eyes peeled during your 45-minute tour – it’s possible you’ll see bears moose, caribou, seals, or wolves.

Dog sledding
Learn about the history and philosophy of dog sledding in Churchill from a local musher as you experience it first-hand.

Tundra Buggy Tour
Another full-day Tundra Buggy excursion. Trust us; you won’t be bored. 

Churchill and Area Tour
Get to know our amazing little town better as you spend the day exploring some of its most fascinating features. You’ll visit the Cape Merry Battery, which is part of the Prince of Wales Fort National Historic Site. You will also get to see the transition from tundra to boreal forest as your tour heads south along the Churchill River.

Farewell
We’ll transport you back to the train station or airport and make sure you’re set up with our photo sharing app so you can keep in touch with your new contacts. You may get a lucky glimpse of one last bear on your way back to Churchill.

Why choose a Learning Vacation?

Notable experts

Your group's guide will be with you for the duration of your visit, providing insight and information every step of the way. Plus, your guide will provide engaging, in-depth lectures every evening, allowing you to develop a genuine connection to the subject.

Northern Appreciation

Each Learning Vacation features a mix of scientific, cultural, and true-to-Churchill activities, ensuring that your visit is fun, educational, and authentic. You will hear unique perspectives from members of the Churchill community as they share their skills and knowledge with you.

Convenience & Affordability

At the Centre, we provide all essential services, including high quality meals, housekeeping, gear rentals, and transportation within the town. Plus, our communal accommodations help keep costs competitive. Once you book your Learning Vacation, the only other thing to do is arrange your travel to Churchill — and we can help.

Exclusive location

The Centre is located inside the Churchill Wildlife Management Area, about 23 kilometres outside of town. From the safety of our outdoor viewing platform, you'll get some truly wild views of local species, like migratory birds and a variety of terrestrial mammals. And before bed, don't forget to keep your eyes on the sky from the warmth of our indoor Aurora dome.

contribution to research

Your participation will also have a major impact on subarctic research, since you'll be helping to provide scientists with an affordable, accessible location to continue their valuable work. As an independent, registered non-profit research station, the CNSC invests all revenue into its mission to understand and sustain the north.

at the Centre

Your Learning Vacation includes accommodations, on-site meals, tours, activities, lectures, and travel within Churchill.

Guest rooms accommodate four people in bunk beds, with individual closet space, a small writing desk, bedside shelves, and individual reading lamps. We provide all linens, including bed sheets, comforters, and towels. Separate female and male washrooms have toilets, sinks, and private showers.

The building is equipped with top-of-the-line wireless internet.  Local calls can be made from the Weston Family Welcome Lounge.  Please note that cellular coverage is unreliable at the CNSC.

Your financial contribution has a major impact. Not only does it cover the costs of running the Learning Vacation, but it also allows us to provide researchers an affordable, accessible location to continue their valuable work.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Lords of the Arctic

Fees for Lords of the Arctic are $4,199 CDN in 2022 and $4,409 CDN in 2023. This covers accommodations, on-site meals, tours, activities, and lectures, and travel within Churchill.

A non-refundable deposit is due upon booking.

For monthly payment options, please contact our finance department.

Your financial contribution has a major impact. Not only does it cover the costs of running the Learning Vacation, but it also allows us to provide researchers an affordable, accessible location ( board, lab space, equipment, access to the north) to continue their valuable work.

Plus, each guest will receive CNSC membership for one year, ensuring you can stay up-to-date on all our activities. 

At time of booking, a 20% of the total trip fee is due immediately. This deposit is non-refundable, except in cases of trip cancellation due to low registration numbers (see Refund Policy).

Payments for Learning Vacation bookings are due 60 days before the start of the trip. Bookings made within 60 days of the Learning Vacation will need to be paid in full.

Click here to see the full Learning Vacation Payment and Cancellation policy.

In the event that you need to cancel or reschedule your trip for personal reasons, your deposit will not be refunded. If you cancel 120 days or more before the Learning Vacation, you will receive your full payment, less the deposit.

If you cancel 119 to 60 days before the start of the Learning Vacation, you will receive 50 per cent of your payment.

Payments for trips cancelled 59 days or less before the scheduled start date will not be refunded.

Click here to see the full Learning Vacation Payment and Cancellation policy.

About a week after you leave, we will send you a survey so you can provide feedback on your experience.

Since your Learning Vacation fees also includes a one-year membership to the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, you will receive a copy of The Birdfish magazine to help keep you updated on all our activities.

Of course, you are always welcome to book another Learning Vacation, or experience the CNSC a different way by applying for a Volunteer Expedition.

Churchill is accessible only by train and airplane. ViaRail and Calm Air offer regular return service from Winnipeg to Churchill. We are happy to help you figure out schedules if you need it.

Once you arrive in town, we will pick you up and get you settled in at the Centre.

You will be assigned a room within the CNSC for the duration of your stay.

Guest rooms accommodate up to four people in bunk beds, with individual closet space, a small writing desk, bedside shelves, and individual reading lamps. We provide all linens, including bed sheets, comforters, and towels.

Separate female and male washrooms have low flow toilets, sinks, and private showers. Washing machines are available every evening.

The building is equipped with top-of-the-line wireless internet. Local calls can be made from the Weston Family Welcome Lounge. Please note that cellular coverage is unreliable at the CNSC.

The Centre has a small gift shop which carries postcards, stamps, books, CNSC brand clothing, locally made jams and jellies, and other souvenirs.

Yes! Once you book, we will send you a Welcome Package that includes a packing list for each season. And if you need anything while you’re here, we have a selection of gear available to rent.

We will do our best to accommodate you, provided you give us ample notice of your needs.

All Learning Vacations

Winter Skies

February & March

Winter Skies

Six days

Immerse yourself in the magnificence of the Northern Lights.
MORE INFO

Spring's Wings

June

Spring's Wings

Five days

Enjoy bird watching opportunities in Canada's subarctic.
MORE INFO

Belugas in the Bay

July & August

Belugas in the Bay

Six days

Get up close and personal with hundreds of belugas.
MORE INFO

Lords of the Arcitc

October & November

Lords of the Arctic

Six days

Polar bears in their natural habitat along the Hudson Bay.
MORE INFO

Winter Skies

February & March

Winter Skies

Six days

Immerse yourself in the magnificence of the Northern Lights.
MORE INFO

Spring's Wings

June

Spring's Wings

Five days

Enjoy unique bird watching opportunities in Canada's subarctic.
MORE INFO

Belugas in the Bay

July & August

Belugas in the Bay

Six days

Get up close and personal with hundreds of belugas.
MORE INFO

Lords of the Arcitc

October & November

Lords of the Arctic

Six days

View polar bears in their natural habitat along the Hudson Bay.
MORE INFO