The northern sky dims, but doesn’t stay dark for long. Bright stars start to wink from the cloudless expanse above. Then the sky awakens. Through the skylight of Frontiers North’s Thanadelthur Lounge, the northern lights dash, painting the dark scene with colour and light. Silence falls over your fellow travellers as amazement sets in.
Churchill, Manitoba sits directly beneath the auroral oval, making it one of the best places on Earth to see the northern lights. The end of February and beginning of March offer the best conditions for northern lights viewing. Frontiers North’s Northern Lights and Winter Nights tour takes full advantage of the time of year and remote location to create an awe-inspiring viewing experience.
The Tundra Buggy® leaves the town of Churchill, crossing the frozen Churchill River, to get to Thanadelthur Lounge. Away from the light of the town the northern lights shine more brightly. Through the panoramic windows of the lounge, the natural display is dazzling but up on the outdoor observation deck, the beauty of the northern lights is breathtaking.
The guide shows the group some tricks for photographing the northern lights. You capture an exceptional photo, but know you won’t be able to capture the incredible feeling of standing under Mother Nature’s light show. You wish you could stay all night, but as the Tundra Buggy® brings you back to town, you’re already looking forward to tomorrow evening – dinner and a show.
Dan’s Diner is similar to Thanadelthur Lodge, away from the lights of the town, with wooden beams along the walls separated by large windows, but as the name suggests it also offers an exquisite dining experience. The smell of searing scallops fills the space. Anticipation for the meal buzzes in the room.
The courses are mainly regional foods – elk, local pickerel and roasted parsnips and beets served with wine. The food is nearly too delicious and almost distracts from the beauty above, but as dessert is served, the northern lights catch your eye again, twisting and turning as you savour the last bites.
Culture and adventure fill the days between these exceptional evening experiences. Churchill is home to a plane crash site, a shipwreck and a former rocket research range. A sightseeing tour takes visitors past points of interest around the town of Churchill and to the Polar Bear Holding Facility, an important part of keeping the balance that exists between the polar bears and the people of Churchill.
Before the culinary experience at Dan’s Diner, there is an opportunity to go dog sledding through the boreal forest.
The dogs are eager to start running and after you get to know them each by name, they take off through the snow. The crisp air on your cheeks cools you as your heart pumps with excitement. You zip past spruce and fir trees on the mile-long ride.
On the second-last day in Churchill there’s an opportunity to get even closer to the natural beauty of the boreal forest on a snowshoeing trek. A naturalist from the area shares insight into the eco-systems of the boreal forest, Precambrian rock region and the shore of the Hudson Bay.
The final day on the tour is spent at the Parks Canada Visitor Centre learning about Churchill’s history and at the Itsanitaq Museum, which houses almost 1000 pieces of Inuit art.
The eight-day trip is packed to the brim – four nights of northern lights viewing, a culinary experience like no other, a dog sledding adventure, a snowshoe hike, a tour of Churchill’s highlights and a full day in Winnipeg are all included in Frontiers North’s Northern Lights and Winter Nights Adventure. Join the tour and experience nights in the north like never before.