Seeing the northern lights is a bucket-list-worthy endeavour. They’re a dazzling, dancing, irreplaceable vision of nature at its best that, once seen, are never forgotten.
When your heart needs wonder, Canada’s heart is calling
Churchill, Man., is at the top of Canada’s middle province, sitting like a pearl on the shores of Hudson Bay. It’s a place where everyone knows everyone else and wants to get to know each visitor that comes to town; where you can see enormous white polar bears, kayak with beluga whales, and be beguiled by nature’s most spectacular light show. The first sign that you’re going to a special place is that there are no road signs to get you to Churchill. This is because the subarctic northern town 1,000 kilometres from Winnipeg has no roads that lead to it. A plane or a train are your means of transportation. Yet, while remote, Churchill offers plenty of options for viewing the northern lights.
The town sits directly under the auroral oval, offering up to 300 nights of viewing. The dark, clear nights of February and March make these months the best time to see the vivid veil of lights, and while your nights will be occupied, this leaves days to fill. Churchill has you covered here, too, whether you’re a wildlife adventurer, a nature viewer, or a culture seeker. Some tours incorporate photography classes; others include snowshoeing, dog sledding, or inukshuk building workshops; still others offer guided tours such as of the Itsanitaq Museum, Polar Bear International House, or the Parks Canada Visitor Information Centre.
Embrace the cold night and clear skies, or be cozy inside: The best ways to see the lights
You have options. The best way to see the lights include:
One of the coolest ways to see the aurora borealis while still keeping warm is through the Aurora Pod, which is a heated, custom-built structure with a geometric glass roof and surrounding walls. Parked deep in the boreal forest, the Aurora Pod lets you escape any possible light pollution and get prime 360-degree views of nature’s night lights and ground-level views of the frozen tundra.
The Aurora Domes sit atop a lounge set in the wilderness. Sit comfortably inside to mingle and meet fellow guests, with jaunts to the rooftop domes to catch views of the changing lights.
Travel across the frozen tundra in a vehicle built for the uneven and terrestrial-like terrain for a unique pop-up dining experience in a custom built tundra machine with panoramic views of the northern lights.
Set in the boreal forest, these yurts provide views of the lights from a wraparound balcony. When the chill becomes too much, sit by the woodstove inside and warm up with a beverage of your choice.
Warmed by a fire at a dog musher’s camp, you can see the lights from an authentic tipi and be part of the pack at the same time.
Set your sights on a trip to Churchill to see the northern lights. Visit Travel Manitoba to select the tour that’s right for you