If you want to see ursus in Canada, you are in luck. This is bear-viewing country. You can track the elusive white Spirit Bear in coastal rainforest, watch grizzlies grappling with spawning salmon, paddle by browsing black bears and see massive polar bears lumbering through the frozen Arctic.
Here are the best places to get up-close (safely!) with environmentally conscious outfitters in Canada’s beautiful wilderness areas during the seven month season.
Great Bear Lodge, British Columbia
It’s fair to say few thrills match the moment when a 1,100 pound grizzly bear emerges from the tangled forest. Guests stay at a floating lodge set on a fjord of the Great Bear Rainforest, then take float and hiking trips out to observe the predators in their natural habitat. They also observe from hidden blinds — close enough to hear the bears splashing. Otters, eagles and whales are often spotted too.
There’s a reason they call it the Polar Bear Capital of the World. An all-terrain, 100 metre long Tundra Buggy takes guests safely to an exclusive preserve to see wild polar bears roaming along Hudson’s Bay waiting for it to ice over. Highlights: snapshots of sows feeding their cubs and vibrant Aurora Borealis displays.
You can get to know Inuit culture, and see polar bears plus thousands of seabirds, at the world’s end. Arctic Kingdom Polar Expeditions takes travellers by qamutik (sled) to observe bears and on tundra hikes with local guides. Other options: swimming with tusked narwhals and white belugas, nicknamed the canaries of the sea. A cushy base camp is set up at the floe edge, a wildlife magnet.
You can combine glamping in Ontario with bear-viewing in Ontario’s northern boreal forest. WildExodus Adventures puts together getaways that include a hike with a trapper, fishing outing and canoe down ancient routes, plus sleeping under the stars in prospector tents with white-linen dining service.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Inuit-run Torngat Mountains Base Camp and Research Station leads heli-hiking excursions in search of polar bears, wolves and caribou, in Newfoundland and Labrador. Add to that 7,000 year-old archaeological sites, the Northern Lights, angling for Arctic char and storytelling by Inuit elders. Learn a little Inuktitut too.