Saturday, November 12, 2011

Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

Located on the southwest shore of Hudson Bay, Churchill has a long history in the trading and shipping industry. Previously it had also been a rocket testing area for the Canadian and U.S. military. Today its harbor, which is open for about four months of the year, is a major grain shipping port.

Churchill is very small, with one main street that has 15 street lamps. This picture is of one of the side streets which are mostly residential. The town has a large town center that holds the library, town offices, a theater, pool, hospital and essentially provides a place for the local residents to congregate during the winter. There is one supermarket and one hardware store. Everything must come in by boat, rail or air.

Today industry in Churchill means tourism with the town promoting the northern lights during the winter, birds during the spring migration, beluga whales and brown bears in the summer and polar bears in the fall. Accommodations are basic with about five hotels, similar number of restaurants, an Eskimo museum, about eight gift shops and a post office that has a “Polar Bear Capital of the World” cancellation stamp.

I have been in some out-of-the-way places but Churchill seemed the most desolate to me. I don't know if it was the cold or clouds or the short days but I also have to admit this is the first time I stayed in accommodations where one of the emergency telephone numbers was for Polar Bear Alert.

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