I Backpack Canada » Provinces http://ibackpackcanada.com A backpackers travel guide to Canada Mon, 26 Jan 2015 19:54:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Daybi talks Rap, Arts, & Culture on the Kahnawake Mohawk Reservehttp://ibackpackcanada.com/daybi-rap-arts-kahnawake-mohawk-reserve/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/daybi-rap-arts-kahnawake-mohawk-reserve/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 19:54:12 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7018 I was away in British Columbia for the last 5 days enjoying some snowboarding, which unfortunately pushed my Sunday Canadian Travel Video back by a day. This week’s video features Daybi, one of Canada’s well known rap artists. Montreal film director Mathieu Favreau’s most recent video on Canadian rapper and media artist Daybi is a tribute […]

Daybi talks Rap, Arts, & Culture on the Kahnawake Mohawk Reserve is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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I was away in British Columbia for the last 5 days enjoying some snowboarding, which unfortunately pushed my Sunday Canadian Travel Video back by a day. This week’s video features Daybi, one of Canada’s well known rap artists.

Montreal film director Mathieu Favreau’s most recent video on Canadian rapper and media artist Daybi is a tribute to the artist and his community. Currently residing with his son on the Kahnawake Mohawk reserve on the outskirts of Montreal, Daybi grew up in Vancouver and Winnipeg, where he began rapping at an early age before living in New York and Los Angeles. His music has brought him to connect with a number of American and Canadian artists such as Moka Only, Aceyalone, and the Freestyle Fellowship.

I love using these weekly video shares to cover unique communities, cultures, and people, and I think this short kind of nails them all. The cinematography that Mathie Favreau captures is unreal, and you really get a sense of Daybi’s passion for music, his family, and the thriving rap scene in Kahnawake Mohawk Reserve and Montreal. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This video was brought to you by the Rap loving Canadian Sandwich Artists at Subway Sandwiches.

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Vice International Covers Prohibition in Northern Canadahttp://ibackpackcanada.com/vice-prohibition-in-northern-canada/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/vice-prohibition-in-northern-canada/#comments Sun, 18 Jan 2015 12:24:34 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7001 Nunavut is a beautiful arctic territory, isolated from the rest of Canada with its own culture and language. While expensive for most to visit, over 30,000 people call Nunavut home. It’s widely known, however, that despite strict alcohol laws, this territory suffers from some serious social problems. This week’s Sunday Canadian Travel Video is going to cover some of […]

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Nunavut is a beautiful arctic territory, isolated from the rest of Canada with its own culture and language. While expensive for most to visit, over 30,000 people call Nunavut home. It’s widely known, however, that despite strict alcohol laws, this territory suffers from some serious social problems. This week’s Sunday Canadian Travel Video is going to cover some of those issues the people of Nunavut face. Vice International recently sent one of their reporters there to cover the story.

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Kayaking with Belugas in Churchill, Manitobahttp://ibackpackcanada.com/kayaking-with-belugas-churchill-manitoba/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/kayaking-with-belugas-churchill-manitoba/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 15:58:32 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=5362 The tip of my paddle sliced through the cold arctic waters of the Hudson River, a loud burst of air and mist erupted from the water. I watched as a smooth, silky white body of one of Churchill Manitoba’s yearly visitors, the belugas, gently peeked out of the water. As I swivelled my head I […]

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The tip of my paddle sliced through the cold arctic waters of the Hudson River, a loud burst of air and mist erupted from the water. I watched as a smooth, silky white body of one of Churchill Manitoba’s yearly visitors, the belugas, gently peeked out of the water. As I swivelled my head I realized I am completely surrounded. I let out a nervous laugh & quickly decided that it was time to make friends with these 2000 lb cetaceans.

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Paddling with Churchills Belugas

My sea kayak glided towards a pod of belugas headed straight for me. I worried that I found myself in an arctic version of chicken that I have yet to learn the rules to. Thankfully, they all dove before impact and barrel rolled underwater, studying the kayak and no doubt wondering what this cold, wet, bearded fellow above is all about.

I soon discovered that belugas love playing cat and mouse. Chasing a colourful kayak through these cold waters is considered a good time by belugas, and judging by how much I abided, I have to admit it’s my kind of game as well. After an hour of padding with pods of these magical creatures, encouraging as many to follow in my wake, they had all but completely wore me out.

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An Encounter with an Infant Beluga

As I rested, watching the 4 other paddlers in my group laugh at the excitement of seeing belugas at every angle, I dipped my hand into the cold waters, hoping to get my newfound group of underwater friends attention. A grey juvenile beluga swam closer, inspecting my hand. We maintained eye contact, starring into one another’s eyes, studying. I held still, hoping with all my might that this young beluga might see me as friend and not a foe. The juvenile gracefully floated closer, nudging my hand with his nose. Suddenly he (or she) swam away, only to return a few seconds later to touch my hand again. “Hello to you too“, I quietly said. I pulled my hand from the water in shock, and yelled to the group “I just touched a beluga!“. Jealousy erupted in our group, as I spent the last hour kayaking in complete disbelief, laughing and shaking my head, wondering how I got so lucky. This was hands down one of the highlights of my life!

Polarbears & Belugas

While many people head north in search of polar bears, I traveled north to Churchill for the belugas. Not only because summer is their high season, but because as a child I was Raffi’s biggest fan, belting out the words to “Baby Beluga” louder than Axl Rose could scream. Despite being such a huge fan of his hit song, I had never seen a beluga in real life. I was convinced that this summer was to be the one that changed that, looking back, that was one of the best goals I had set in a long time.

kayaking with belugas in churchill

Churchill’s Kayak & Beluga Experts

The folks at Sea North Adventures offer travellers a wide range of adventures, including kayaking & snorkelling with belugas, exploring the Churchill Fort, or hopping on a zodiac in search of polar bears. The staff at Sea North Adventures have to be some of the hardest (and friendliest) workers in Churchill. When you don’t see them touring people through the frigid waters of the Churchill River, you might find them serving guests at the Tundra Inn Pub.

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VIA Rail from Winnipeg to Churchill

I boarded VIA Rail’s “Hudson Bay” train from Winnipeg to Churchill, a 40 hour ride that let’s you truly experience the vast distances and picturesque landscapes of the Canadian prairies, the boreal forest, and the sub-arctic tundra. This is by far the cheapest way to get up to Churchill, and despite the long hours on board a train, you’ll find that it’s just part of the journey. Part of what makes Churchill so intoxicatingly alluring! Be sure to try and remember your fellow VIA Rail passengers names as you’ll likely be seeing them throughout town when you arrive. While flying is an option to get to Churchill, VIA Rail is significantly more friendly on the budget, and in my opinion a better way of traveling to this small northern Canadian town.

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Churchill is for the Adventurous

Churchill brings about a certain type of traveller. You’ll find that they all have something in common. Whether it’s their desire for the great outdoors, an insatiable quench for adventure, or a passion for arctic wildlife, you’ll come to realize those you meet in the small town of Churchill are here for a lot of the same reasons as you. What’s more shocking than this is the fact that residents of Churchill continue to possess these same qualities, and best of all, they’re willing to share their slice of heaven with visitors from all over the world. With a population of under 1000 people, you’ll come to find that each and every one of them have a story worth listening to. Be sure to take the time to listen, next to the belugas and polar bears, they’re the most interesting form of life this far north.

Special thanks to the folks at Frontiers North Adventures, Sea North Tours, and the warm folks at Tundra Inn for helping out with my Churchill Adventure. Another thanks to the helpful staff at Travel Manitoba for bringing me in to cover the region.

Please forgive the Instagram quality photos in this post, I wasn’t brave enough to haul my DSLR out for this kayak trip and I only ended up having my Waterproof Case for my iPhone to snap these.

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5 Snowboarding Tips That’ll Keep You From Dyinghttp://ibackpackcanada.com/5-snowboarding-tips-keep-you-from-dying/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/5-snowboarding-tips-keep-you-from-dying/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 20:03:43 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=6999 We’re going to talk about snowboard safety here – no, wait just there. Don’t go clicking away. Safety isn’t the most exciting topic to write about – I know, but if you’re new to the sport, or just a smart ass know-it-all who’s too cool for helmets, let’s get things straight. This sport is a […]

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We’re going to talk about snowboard safety here – no, wait just there. Don’t go clicking away. Safety isn’t the most exciting topic to write about – I know, but if you’re new to the sport, or just a smart ass know-it-all who’s too cool for helmets, let’s get things straight. This sport is a somewhat riskier sport than most with a high rate of injury. Adrenaline causes people to make some questionable decisions, and even before that kicks in, we can all sometimes get a bit cocky. So in an effort to keep you from dying on the mountains this season, I wanted to share 5 snowboarding tips that’ll keep you from dying.

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Hey cool helmet. You like safety or something?

Gear Up with Quality Snowboard Equipment

You’ve got your snowboard, bindings, boots, what else do you need? First and foremost – grab a helmet. Don’t be a dummy. If they’re cool enough for the pros, they’re cool enough for you. Now I’m the first to admit, I used to never wear a helmet. My reasoning was that since I didn’t plan on doing backflips, or anything more crazy than a 180 here and there, that it just wasn’t needed.

For 13 years of snowboarding I got on fine. I’m not sure if it was my growing maturity, or the one face-plant where I knocked my head on the ground heard enough to freak me out. But I decided then, that not wearing a helmet was just stupid. I remember thinking to myself “What if I broke my skull! I’d be screwed”. I didn’t want to get carried off the mountain. That would be far more embarrassing than wearing a helmet.

Get properly fitted for all the gear you need. Talk to a local snowboard shop or take your things in and get their opinion. If you’re new, you might want to consider investing in some wrist-guards, knee-guards, and if you might even want the hip-guard/butt-guard combos that I’ve been tempted to get. If you’ve ever hurt on your tailbone, you’ll know that these aren’t as silly as they look.

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Couple of Buddy’s

Use the Buddy System

If you’re unfortunate enough to injure yourself seriously, or do something as goofy as losing your snowboard because you forgot to wear a snowboard leash, the buddy system is going to be your lifeline. Don’t snowboard alone. Stay within shouting distance of a friend at all times, and regularly check to be sure you’re still snowboarding with the guy or girl you rode up with. It’s an easy system, but it works.

Don’t be a Dick

This is just a good philosophy in general, but in terms of snowboarding. Avoid dickish behaviour. Dickish behaviour can not only get yourself injured, it can also hurt others. Plus it’s just super irritating. What might you ask is dickish behaviour?

  • If you’re chatting with a friend in front of the off-ramp of the chairlift, you’re being a dick.
  • If you’re skiing or snowboarding in a wall-like fashion, preventing people from easily being able to get by, you’re being a dick.
  • If you’re cutting people off going downhill, yes, you’re being a dick.
  • If you’re riding within a couple arms reach of someone else, you’re not just being a dick, you’re being a stupid dick.

It’s fairly simple, just be courteous and watch your surroundings. Oh, and if you can avoid all of the above, that would be great.

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Stay on the trails

Each year we hear about some poor soul that ended up out of bounds. Most times the story ends on a sad not. Either they get turned around and lost, or hurt themselves bad enough that they couldn’t get back to the trail to be found. People go missing for days, some are never heard from again. Groomed trails keep people safe. No, they might not always have the freshest pow (that’s a cool-guy-snowboarder term for “powder”), but they’re maintained, and are regularly watched out over by Snow Patrol. Break an arm on a trail, you’re going to get help. Break one out of bounds, and you might be there a while.

Just note, as soon as you cross that line into the out of bounds, you’re signing your life away. I personally advise you to stick within the mountains trail system. Safety first!

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Respect Your Limits

As adrenaline courses through your veins, it’s sometimes possible to think you’re invincible. New snowboarders on their 2nd day of snowboarding find themselves biting off more than they can chew on a black diamond. Avoid taking on something you’re just not ready for. You’re more likely to hurt yourself, and you’re really not going to enjoy sliding on your butt all the way down.

This rule doesn’t only apply for trail colours. If you’re new to snowboarding, or it’s your first weekend trip back. You’re going to be sore. Expect it. Sometimes you have to listen to your body instead of your brain. You’re brain is going to urge you to get the most bang for buck, hit as many runs, keep up with your friend that gets out every other weekend. There is no shame in calling it quits a run or two early if it means you’re going to be able to get back on your board the next day.

You can read all of the snowboarding safety tips you can find on the internet, but at the end of the day, common sense goes a long way. Use your brain, trust your gut, but enjoy yourself!

This post was published in collaboration with SecuriGlobe Travel Insurance. Check them out if you’re in the market for some quality travel insurance.

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6 Best Casinos In Canadahttp://ibackpackcanada.com/6-best-casinos-in-canada/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/6-best-casinos-in-canada/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 00:16:20 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=6933 As a travel destination, Canada is known primarily for its awesome blend of natural beauty and wonderful cities. But for those looking for specific means of entertainment, the country also offers a number of great casino experiences every bit as enjoyable as those in U.S. destinations like Las Vegas or Atlantic City. If betting on black, […]

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As a travel destination, Canada is known primarily for its awesome blend of natural beauty and wonderful cities. But for those looking for specific means of entertainment, the country also offers a number of great casino experiences every bit as enjoyable as those in U.S. destinations like Las Vegas or Atlantic City. If betting on black, or chasing that royal flush is up your alley, here are six of Canada’s best casinos to check out.

jade-room

River Rock Casino Resort

Where It Is: Richmond, British Columbia

Why It’s One Of The Best: The River Rock Casino Resort offers all of the traditional perks of a top-notch casino destination. There are endless gaming options, luxury accommodations, and great restaurants on site, including the Sea Harbour that boasts its own demonstration of Richmond’s status as the “Asian food capital of North America.” But it’s the setting that gives the River Rock an edge. Situated on the Fraser River, it’s a stunning destination that looks equal parts ski lodge and casino resort.

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Casino Niagara

Where It Is: Niagara Falls, Ontario

Why It’s One Of The Best: Like the River Rock Casino, Casino Niagara excels due to the natural beauty of its surroundings. Located a block away from the picturesque Rainbow Bridge near Niagara Falls, the casino naturally draws tourists who are already in the area to see the landmarks. As a result, it tends to have a particularly lively crowd.

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Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino

Where It Is: Windsor, Ontario

Why It’s One Of The Best: Like the Casino Niagara, the Caesars Windsor benefits from close proximity to the U.S., in this case drawing on tourism from Detroit, Mich. Beyond that, it’s a reliable destination in that the Caesars Entertainment group tends to be at the forefront of advances in gaming. The company has a firm hold on many of North America’s top casinos, and even partnered with the Betfair Casino to work toward bringing the online gaming industry into parts of the U.S. This sort of progressive ownership tends to keep the Windsor, and Caesars’ other locations, updated with the best in gaming and entertainment.

Casino-Montreal

Casino de Montréal

Where It Is: Montréal, Quebec

Why It’s One Of The Best: Casino de Montréal may offer the grandest casino tourism destination in all of Canada. According to USA Today’s own countdown of some of Canada’s finest casinos, Casino de Montréal is one of the largest casinos on the planet. It is home to over 3,000 slot machines, 100 gaming tables, and its own street outside the venue. Combine all of that with the fact that Montréal itself is considered by many to be the most fascinating Canadian city for tourists, and this is a must-see casino for travellers.

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Casino Nova Scotia

Where It Is: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Why It’s One Of The Best: It’s somewhat off the beaten path for a major casino, but its gorgeous location right on the Atlantic makes it well worth a visit. As you’ll find reading through Trip Advisor’s reviews on the casino, it’s not the biggest gambling experience in Canada, but many visitors appreciate the cosier and friendlier quality of the casino. If you’re looking to visit a smaller or even somewhat-quaint casino in Canada, Casino Nova Scotia is definitely one to consider.

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Photo by Rishad Daroowala – CC Licensed via Flickr

River Cree Casino Resort

Where It Is: Enoch, Alberta

Why It’s One Of The Best: While technically in Enoch, this is essentially the main casino for the Edmonton area, which makes it an exciting venue. There are lots of gaming options and there’s generally a strong crowd of visitors and gamers. Perhaps the most unique aspect of the River Cree, though, is that it offers a glimpse of Canada’s hockey enthusiasm for foreign travellers. The venue includes full-sized hockey facilities, and many fans hope to see Edmonton Oilers players from time to time.

Where to find these casinos in Canada?

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Explore the Great Bear Rainforest in 4khttp://ibackpackcanada.com/explore-great-bear-rainforest-in-4k/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/explore-great-bear-rainforest-in-4k/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 02:52:56 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=6131 I recently came across my new favourite video on youtube. This awe-inspiring video of British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest summarizes the beauty and pristine nature of this area. The Great Bear Rainforest spans 12,000 square miles (or 32,000 square km) of BC’s temperate rainforest. This part of Canada has been in the news quite a […]

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I recently came across my new favourite video on youtube. This awe-inspiring video of British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest summarizes the beauty and pristine nature of this area. The Great Bear Rainforest spans 12,000 square miles (or 32,000 square km) of BC’s temperate rainforest. This part of Canada has been in the news quite a bit lately due to the Northern Gateway Pipelines Project. This project would expose this region to crude oil tanker traffic that would regularly pass through the narrow channels. Simply put, it’s not a matter of if an oil tanker were to spill, but when.

Devin Supertramp, the videographer behind this amazing video, managed to not only capture the wild expanse of this beautiful BC rainforest, but also some insanely awesome shots of the wildlife that call this part of Canada home.

Where is the Great Bear Rainforest?

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My favourite Canadian Architectural Wondershttp://ibackpackcanada.com/canadian-architectural-wonders/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/canadian-architectural-wonders/#comments Wed, 24 Dec 2014 16:03:37 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=6798 Canada is known by most to be scenic view after view of wild and rugged nature. Surprisingly enough though, this nation is also home to some incredibly designed buildings. A couple of which were even included in the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, a list started by The American Society of Civil Engineers. I’ve always had a strange […]

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Canada is known by most to be scenic view after view of wild and rugged nature. Surprisingly enough though, this nation is also home to some incredibly designed buildings. A couple of which were even included in the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, a list started by The American Society of Civil Engineers. I’ve always had a strange fascination with awe-inspiring buildings, perhaps from that one drafting class I nearly failed in High School. Either way, when I’m on the road, I love making an extra special effort to check out buildings. These are my current four favourites that I came across during my last cross Canada road trip.

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Banff Springs Hotel

Starting in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta is one of the most iconic hotels in Canada and has stood proudly as a destination of the highest quality for over 100 years. Designed by Bruce Price in a Scottish Baronial style, the resort has over 750 guest rooms, yet still manages to offer an incomparable peace surrounded by the mountains and woodland. Built between 1887 and 1888, it became one of Canada’s grand railway hotels and at one point was even the tallest building in Canada.

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CN Tower

Of course that’s now eclipsed by the magnificent CN Tower, standing over 1,800 feet high and overlooking the country’s largest city – Toronto.

The tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere, it was completed in 1976 and to this day still holds a number of records including the world’s highest bar, largest revolving restaurant, longest metal staircase with 2,579 steps, and that’s not to mention being able to walk along the edge of itIt’s a truly spectacular building and is one of the most iconic buildings in Canada.

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Casino de Montreal

Shifting our focus down a thousand feet or so is the Montreal Casino, the largest casino in the country and one of the most interesting pieces of architecture in Montreal.

Opening in 1993, it consists of three interconnected buildings and is famed by its unconventional features which include low ceilings and even windows. The casino itself has never been more popular with gaming hitting new heights in the country both online on the likes of Canadian Royal Vegas games, and on the casino floors of this incredible building. Situated on the banks of the Fleuve Saint-Laurent, the casino also has an even more interesting feature, in the fact it’s surrounded by the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve – home of the Canadian Grand Prix.

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Chateau Frontenac

Another of Canada’s magnificent hotels, the Chateau Frontenac has been welcoming visitors to Quebec City since 1893, and is another of Bruce Price’s grand railway hotels.

Overlooking the Saint Lawrence River, this uniquely designed hotel has been the favoured stay of the likes of Sir Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and many other popular figures throughout history. The building’s Chateauesque architecture cuts a very imposing figure in Quebec’s skyline with its tall chimneys and steeply pitched roofs.

It’s both ideal for a look or a stay if you’re planning a visit one of the oldest cities in North America.

Have you visited any of these buildings? Can you think of other awesome buildings throughout Canada? Comment below and let me know!

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Visit the Polar Bear Capital of the World With Google Mapshttp://ibackpackcanada.com/visit-the-polar-bear-capital-of-the-world-with-google-maps/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/visit-the-polar-bear-capital-of-the-world-with-google-maps/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 04:26:29 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=6240 So the other day I found myself perusing some Canadian travel videos, and came across this little number. The folks at Google Maps visited Churchill, Manitoba, a favourite location of mine, and strapped their fancy camera’s to some of the rugged tundra explorer vehicles.  They captured some superb shots of the town, as well as some […]

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So the other day I found myself perusing some Canadian travel videos, and came across this little number. The folks at Google Maps visited Churchill, Manitoba, a favourite location of mine, and strapped their fancy camera’s to some of the rugged tundra explorer vehicles.  They captured some superb shots of the town, as well as some great video of polar bears. I was completely surprised that I hadn’t come across this yet. Perhaps I was on the road when this thing went out to the masses, or maybe I can blame it on me just living under a rock for the last couple of years hammering away at work. Either way, it’s worth showing to anyone keen on seeing polar bears in Canada.

Churchill is accessible by air or train (VIA Rail). I’d highly recommend the train ride from Winnipeg, through northern Saskatchewan and onwards to Churchill, Manitoba. It’s a 2 day trip, but a totally unique Canadian experience. Check out Frontiers North Adventures for tours in and around Churchill, and I can’t recommend Churchill Tundra House Hostel enough to keep costs down while you’re visiting.

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