Taking the limelight: Northern Lights in Manitoba

With dancing skies and giant bears, clients don’t need a zoom lense to get up-close to nature in Manitoba – it’s on their doorstep

While most places experience impressive sunrises and sunsets, only a few are lucky enough to enjoy skies lit up by the Northern Lights year-round. Manitoba is one of those places.

DANCING SKIES

Sitting directly beneath the Auroral Oval in the Northern Hemisphere, Churchill is considered one of the top three places in the world to see the Northern Lights. Although sightings are year-round, the best visibility tends to be in the colder months of January to March. Clients can see the dazzling Northern Lights in the comfort of a custom-built structure offering 360-degree views of the sky, a cosy Plexiglas-topped dome, or the more affordable open-air deck of the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, 30 minutes outside of Churchill.

Nanuk Operations offers Nights Under Lights, a guided evening photography outing for the chance to get that money shot of the aurora with the backdrop of the boreal forest.

Meanwhile, the remoteness and lack of light pollution makes Riding Mountain National Park in the southwest of the province another hot spot for Northern Lights. With sightings recorded from August onwards, clients can have the magical experience of camping under the dancing skies in this rugged landscape.

bears

BEARING ALL

Churchill’s other natural wonder is its population of polar bears that inhabit the Hudson Bay area. Clients can enjoy what Frontiers North Adventures claims is the ‘best access in the world to view wild polar bears’ onboard The Tundra Buggy®, a mobile viewing vehicle. The polar bears are most active in October and November as they wait for the ice to form on Hudson Bay, giving access to their winter hunting grounds. Alternatively, Churchill Wild offers ground-level walking safaris to view polar bears and other arctic wildlife, such as arctic fox, as well as beluga whale viewing in the summer months.

Riding Mountain National Park boasts one of Manitoba’s largest population of the polar bear’s smaller cousin, the black bear. The boreal forests, grasslands and wetlands create the ideal habitat for these creatures. And with sightings on the rise this year, clients have got excellent opportunities for spotting bears alongside elk, moose, lynx and bison, simply by driving through the park.