Day 1: Winnipeg, ManitobaArrive in Winnipeg and transfer to the Fort Garry Hotel. Built in 1913 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, the French-chateau-style hotel remains the grande dame of Winnipeg, offering first-class hospitality. Enjoy a welcome dinner this evening with your Expedition Leader and fellow travelers.
Day 2: Manitoba Museum / Train to ChurchillIn preparation for your Northern Lights encounters, this morning attend a planetarium program at the Manitoba Museum that focuses on the science of the aurora borealis. Tour exhibits reflecting the human and natural heritage of the province, including the history of Canada's northern indigenous cultures. Contingent on the train schedule, board the Hudson Bay Railway to Churchill around lunchtime.
Day 3: Train to ChurchillHeading northward by rail, leave the southern prairies behind and enter the landscape of the North. Plains transition to boreal forest, the coniferous zone that circles the globe beneath the Arctic Circle and accounts for one-third of the earth’s forests. Stunted spruce trees and boggy muskeg give way to frozen tundra as you approach Churchill, a frontier outpost town at the edge of Hudson Bay. The “Tundra Train” is relaxing and comfortable, and each cabin has its own private bathroom. At night, you may even have a preview of the Northern Lights outside your large private windows.
Days 4 - 6: ChurchillOn arrival in Churchill, transfer to your hotel and take a brief tour of this historic settlement. The Hudson’s Bay Company established a fort here in 1717 as part of its fur-trading network across the Canadian North, but Native cultures had already been flourishing here against the harsh Arctic climate for thousands of years. Explore their heritage on a dog sled ride through the boreal forest, on a visit to the Eskimo Museum, and through cultural programs featuring the arts and traditions of the Inuit and Dene peoples.
Your Expedition Leader introduces you to northern ecology and the stark yet alluring winter landscape. As night falls, move into heated viewing domes to await an unparalleled experience of nature’s magic: the spectacle of the aurora borealis, the legendary Northern Lights. Often, they begin as a white glow low in the sky that slowly begins to shift and undulate. Wavy patterns evolve, colors appear and change, until the lights look like shimmering curtains of green, blue, yellow or red. For centuries, the phenomenon of the Northern Lights was a mystery, inspiring a host of mythical explanations. While it's now known that the aurora is caused by the interaction of the solar wind with the earth’s magnetic field, more poetic stories of their origin linger, including the Hudson Bay Inuit’s belief that the lights are the magical display of their ancestors’ souls dancing in the sky. Of course, the lights are a natural phenomenon, though there is no guarantee they'll be seen, Churchill has more auroral activity than any other place on the planet...meaning the chances are high.
Day 7: Churchill / WinnipegThe morning is free to wander Churchill’s main street, where several locally owned shops offer authentic Native handicrafts from traditional mukluks to caribou-hair sculptures. Transfer to the airport for your flight back to Winnipeg. This evening, gather with your fellow travelers one last time for your farewell dinner at the Fort Garry Hotel.
Day 8: Winnipeg / HomeAfter breakfast, your Northern Lights tour comes to a close as you transfer to the airport for flights home.
Departure dates and itinerary subject to change. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to confirm departure schedule before purchasing air tickets. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Train Schedule: Train timetables are unconfirmed until shortly before each departure. Changes to train schedules may affect the itinerary on Days 2-4.
Six Day Itinerary: 2/18/2014
The total length of these departures is six days. You will fly to Churchill mid-morning on Day 2. The Churchill inclusions and activities are identical to the regular itinerary. Depending on flight schedules, you may have time to take a guided tour of the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg after your return flight on Day 5. You will not have a planetarium program.
Feb 15, 2014; Mar 16, 2014
R/T transportation between Winnipeg and Churchill (train and plane, except as noted above for the 6 Day itinerary); accommodations; all meals (except those taken aboard the train); services of Expedition Leaders and assistants; most gratuities; airport transfers; permits and entrance fees; all taxes.
Travel to and from start and end point of trip; meals aboard the train; alcoholic beverages; some gratuities; optional activities; items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry, etc.); optional travel insurance.