Churchill (Manitoba)

Churchill is located on the southwest coast of Hudson Bay in the Canadian province of Manitoba small town with 813 inhabitants (as of May 10, 2011 ). The place is located in the border area of ​​two natural zones: the boreal forest region in the south and the arctic tundra landscape in the north. The city is mainly known through the many polar bears that migrate here to the coast from inland in the autumn, and wait for the seal hunt on a freezing of the sea, giving the town the effective advertising label " Polar Bear Capital of the World" earned.


Archaeological finds show that the area around Churchill and the nearby Wapusk National Park was inhabited before about 4,000 years ago by nomadic hunters who belonged to the pre- Dorset culture. Their descendants, the members of the Dorset culture, the region populated by 600 BC To 500 AD Dene came from the north of here, where in 1000 AD, followed by the first representatives of the Thule culture around the year, the direct ancestors of today's Inuit. In the so-called " pre-contact ", ie before the arrival of the first Europeans and also the occurrence of Métis in the 17th century, lived in the Churchill region Inuit, Chipewyan and Cree Indians as nomads and camps.

The first Europeans arrived in the region in winter 1619. The Danish Captain Jens Munk wintered here in search of the Northwest Passage with two ships and 64 men, of whom only three survived. The first permanently inhabited settlement was a 1717 -built wooden fort at the mouth of the Churchill River - as part of the expensive fur trade network, which was then established by the Hudson 's Bay Company ( HBC). The city was named after John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, the governor of the HBC to the end of the 17th century ( an ancestor of Sir Winston Churchill). 1741 replaced the HBC the wooden fort with a larger stone fort, Fort Prince of Wales.

This fort was occupied in 1782 by a French squadron under the command of the later explorer Jean -François de La Pérouse and destroyed without a shot was fired. A new fort was built a little upstream. Trading was driven at this time mainly with the Chipewyan, the north of the boreal forest, ie the forest border, lived. Because the continued relatively remote lay the fields, which gave rise to land disputes between the North West Company and the HBC occasion, it turned constitutes a relatively safe, highly profitable fur trading post

Between the years of decline of the fur trade and the rise of agriculture ( mainly cereals in the southern regions of Alberta and Manitoba ) Churchill saw its importance wane and increase again. After decades of frustration with the dominance of the Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway false promises of several provinces banded together and fought for the establishment of a railway line north from Winnipeg to Churchill, Hudson Bay Railway.

The construction and commissioning of the railway line crossed due to difficult landscape conditions has been very slow, so that Churchill in 1929 got a connection to the southern railway network. It took years before the commercial trade could be measured with other places. 1932 visited the Briton Grant MacEwan was the first regular railroad passenger Churchill.

The area was also used as a " Churchill Rocket Research Range ," part of a Canadian-American research project that dealt with the atmosphere. The first rocket was fired in 1956; until the closure of the range 1984 -offs were carried out for commercial and research satellites regularly. Today is located on the territory of the former rocket test site the " Churchill Northern Studies Centre ", a device for Arctic Research.


The large quantities of fresh water, which pour the numerous opening out between Arviat and Churchill rivers in the Hudson Bay, have the consequence that accumulate large amounts of ice preferentially at the Churchill to Cape Churchill extending north coast in November, since the flow in the Hudson Bay in counterclockwise runs. This is beneficial to the polar bears, but it affects the usability of the only hotel on the Arctic Ocean seaport of Canada in the winter and spring months. From it outsized cargo to be shipped on supply vessels in the Arctic north of Canada. The shipment of grain overseas, once an important source of income for the city is Churchill, sharp declines in recent years, but put investors on new upswing in the course of global warming. Unaffected by climatic changes still proves to the tourism industry as a robust economic factor for the community.

Churchill is a popular destination for eco-tourism for years. Tourists may well secured from busähnlichen, known as Tundra Buggy special vehicles observe polar bears, which were developed for tours in the tundra. The best months for observing polar bears are October and especially November. The polar bear then wait around Churchill through to Cape Churchill in Wapusk National Park that the Hudson Bay freezes, so that they can their main food, seal hunt. Near Churchill, one can observe, moreover, during the summer months polar bears; However, special attraction then practice belugas, many species of birds ( including the rare Rosenmöwe ) and the abundance of wild plants.

It is also significant that Churchill offers for its excellent infrastructure for Arctic research; in particular the polar bear research benefits from the easy accessibility of the site and the nearby Wapusk National Park.


Roads linking Churchill with other places in Canada, there is not. So Churchill relies on his 1929 completed railway connecting Hudson Bay Railway, via the export of grain, as well as all other heavy transport; by air such shipments are only possible with restrictions.

, Operated by VIA Rail Canada Fernzug ​​The Hudson Bay Churchill connects with the approximately 1,700 kilometers further south Winnipeg and thus also makes the connection to the rest of the North American rail network.


Sons and daughters of the town