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Polar Bear Watching in Canada

The best accessible and most popular location for polar bear watching in Canada is Churchill, Manitoba. 

When you’re planning to travel to Manitoba, Quebec or Ontario during fall, you’ll have a good chance to see polar bears as they are waiting for the ice to form over the Hudson Bay.

Polar bear range

Within Canada, polar bears are native within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, including its surrounding landmasses and seas.

Polar bears are found in 7 out of 13 provinces and territories:  Newfoundland and Labrador (as far south as Newfoundland Island), northern Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec (as far south as James Bay), Nunavut, and the Yukon as well as the Northwest Territories.

Where to go to see polar bears in Canada

The most popular and best accessible location to see polar bears is from Churchill, Manitoba.

During fall, the bears are congregating while waiting for the ice to form over the Hudson Bay.

Several outfitters offer bear watching tours from Churchill; polar bear capital of the world.

I spent hours online, searching for more good locations to view polar bears in their natural habitat. 
Below diagram shows a summary.  Be aware that most locations are very remote. Accessibility is a challenge. There are hardly any outfitters offering polar bear tours other than the ones around Churchill.

prime polar bear habitat within Canada

The best time to go polar bear watching

The polar bear tends to frequent areas where sea ice meets water in order to hunt the seals that make up most of its diet.

Depending on the location, polar bears can be seen during spring, summer, fall, and/or wintertime. Please check above diagram.

Outfitters offering polar bear watching tours

a polar bear around Churchill, Manitoba

Polar bear tours Churchill

polar bear watching off the beaten path

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Sources and references

The IUCN Red list of threatened species: Ursus maritimus

Polar Bears by Ian Stirling and Peter L. Clarkson -PDF

Sea World/Busch Gardens: Animals; discover, explore, connect