Saskatchewan Polytechnic is excited to offer its third Polar Bear Eco Trip November 10-16, 2024

Join tour guides Leslie Tuchek and Josh Davidson on an adventure to Canada’s famous polar bear capital, Churchill, Manitoba. We will travel through Saskatchewan parkland, then boreal forest to where taiga and tundra meet the Churchill River and Hudson Bay.

Sustainability and the environment are at the core of our adventure to this sensitive region. Participants travel to Churchill by shared van, then train.

Surge Micro-credential - Learn before you travel

As part of the trip package, participants will earn a Surge Micro-credential badge through pre-trip learning with subject experts. In September and October registrants will meet for lectures in person or by Zoom on the topics of geology, history, northern culture and the effects of climate change on our ecology.

Trip highlights and itinerary

November 10: Travel to The Pas, MB
  • Travel from Saskatoon to The Pas in 15-passenger vans with lunch and bio breaks on the way. Join us for supper in a local restaurant and then relax in shared motel rooms as we await the early morning departure of the train.
November 11: Train departure and scenic journey
  • Board the train for a scheduled 2:30 a.m. departure. Settle in and be rocked to sleep by the gentle sway of the train and the faint sound of its whistle (or stay awake and watch for the Aurora Borealis!). Enjoy leisure activities or take in the scenic beauty. You might spot wildlife such as caribou, foxes and northern birds. Lakes, rivers, muskeg and outcrops of rocks provide captivating views of Canada's boreal forest and Canadian Shield. The train has two washrooms in each car, and food is available for purchase. Fresh air is free during stops at remote communities along the way!
November 12: Arrive in Churchill
  • We arrive in Churchill – The polar capital of the world! We may see a polar bear on our 24 km drive to our accommodations at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre (CNSC). The CNSC is a LEED-certified building on the historic Churchill rocket research range—a national historic site of Canada. After check-in and a tasty lunch, we will have an afternoon of area exploration. Keep your eyes peeled for polar bears!
November 13: Tundra Buggy® day
  • Embark on an unforgettable adventure on a Tundra Buggy®. The rugged yet comfortable safe viewing vehicle will give you a “tundra buggy massage” as it ambles along the shoreline military roads. These specialized vehicles have a viewing deck on the back and the windows open for excellent photographic opportunities. Rest easy with a self-contained washroom onboard, ensuring comfort and convenience throughout this exciting expedition. You could be gazing over the frozen landscape at bears, Arctic or red fox, Arctic hares, or ptarmigan as you enjoy a delicious lunch, a coffee/hot chocolate break or a snack.
November 14: Churchill exploration day
  • Our last day in Churchill is an exciting day of van exploration, ensuring we see the highlights of Churchill, and have some free time for souvenir shopping. We will board the train at 7:30 p.m. but first gather for a farewell supper in a local fine-dining restaurant serving specialties such as Arctic char.
November 15: Train journey to The Pas
  • You and the last hours of your train journey are winding down. Viewing photos, reminiscing about trip experiences, visiting with new friends, watching the ever-changing landscape and catching up on your sleep may be on your personal itinerary. The train is scheduled to arrive in The Pas at 11:30 p.m., where double rooms await you at the Wescana Inn.
November 16: Travel The Pas to Saskatoon
  • The staff at Wescana Inn's restaurant will be waiting to serve you a delicious breakfast. Our departure for Saskatoon will be 8:30 a.m. With lunch and bio-breaks included, we plan to have you back in Saskatoon by 5 p.m.











In Churchill, we travel in the Churchill Northern Studies Centre (CNSC) coach to tour the town site and visit historic Cape Merry bastions, the Miss Piggy plane wreck and Bird Cove. Our Churchill accommodations at the research station are shared bunk rooms and include meals, bedding and lectures.


A full day on the Tundra Buggy® brings us along the coast on the polar bears' traditional route to Hudson Bay where they wait for the ice to freeze so they may resume hunting seals. Foxes, ptarmigan, snowy owls and peregrine falcons are often sited.


Our last day in Churchill includes visits to the Town Complex, Itsanitaq Museum and Parks Canada Interpretive Centre.


$3,995 (Includes tuition, student fee, GST and PST)

Included with tuition:
  • Travel by shared vans from Saskatoon to The Pas and return
  • Economy class seats on VIA Rail from The Pas to Churchill and return
  • Shared accommodations at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre (two nights)
  • Shared accommodations at the Wescana Inn, The Pas (two nights)
  • Lunches on van travel days (days one and seven)
  • Meals in Churchill
  • Pre-trip learning sessions with a Surge micro-credential badge for attending (includes shared knowledge and experiences of guides/interpreters, researchers and guest speakers)
Not included with tuition:
  • Pre-trip or post-trip travel to or from Saskatoon
  • Breakfast and supper on group van travel days (days one and seven)
  • Meals/food on the train
  • Any meals or additional accommodation required due to delays


Registration opens Friday, March 8, 2024, at 8 a.m.

Register now

How to register:

  • Review the Saskatchewan Polytechnic refund policy for domestic
    educational tours.
  • Complete and submit the registration form. Fifteen spots are available
    to members of the public. Acceptance is based in the order registration forms
    are received. A wait list will be maintained to replace any cancellations.
  • Await contact from the Saskatchewan Polytechnic Continuing Education
    team starting on Wednesday, May 1, 2024. They will collect payment at this
    time and finalize your registration. Ensure that your payment method is ready
    to guarantee your spot.
  • A student who withdraws three months prior to the tour start (up to August 9, 2024) will be subject to a non-refundable $350.00 administration fee.
  • No refunds for withdrawals after three months prior to the tour start date (after August 9, 2024).
  • Travel cancellation or interruption insurance is highly recommended to protect your investment.
  • This trip has been carefully planned by experienced guides to put you in the best places at the optimum time to see bears. However, nature, wildlife and weather are unpredictable so no guarantees can be offered.
  • The itinerary and planned activities of this tour may be subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances.
  • Saskatchewan Polytechnic is not responsible for expenses incurred due to weather or travel delays.

Tour guides

Leslie Tuchek
Leslie Tuchek
Tour guide
Josh Davidson
Josh Davidson
Tour guide


Additional information

  1. Are there homework assignments or exams to earn the Surge Micro-credential?
    • No, the micro-credential is based on attendance at the pre-trip information sessions.
  2. Why does Saskatchewan Polytechnic recommend out of province medical insurance?
    • The areas we are travelling through and to are very remote. Churchill has a health centre but if you were to require urgent medical attention, you may have to be airlifted to a hospital.
    • If you are injured or otherwise medically unable to attend this trip, you would lose your tuition fee based on Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s refund policy for domestic education tours (before August 9, 2024).
  3. Why does Saskatchewan Polytechnic recommend trip interruption and cancellation insurance?
    • Due to circumstances beyond our control (such as weather/road conditions or train delays) there may be travel delays. Additional accommodations, meals or other expenses are not covered in your tuition fee.
  4. Why does Saskatchewan Polytechnic suggest I allow one extra day at the end of this trip?
    • Due to circumstances beyond our control (such as weather/road conditions or train delays) there may be travel delays.
  5. Is there much walking on this trip?
    • No, walking is very limited. In Churchill, outdoor activity is not recommended during this season due to the presence of bears. Our walking will be mostly in the Churchill townsite and to and from the vans on travel days.  
  6. Why is this trip classified as ‘moderate mobility required’?
    • Our travel to The Pas, MB is via 15-passenger vans which can be cumbersome to get in and out of, especially in the winter.
    • Moving around the train requires good balance as the train cars rock.
    • Weather conditions may result in slippery surfaces.
    • Our accommodations at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre are shared rooms with bunk beds but you can request a bottom bunk.  
    • Our accommodation in The Pas may required climbing two flights of stairs.
  7. What happens if I cannot attend the trip after I have registered?
    • Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s refund policy for domestic education tours is:
      • A student who withdraws 3 months prior to the tour start will be subject to a non-refundable $350.00 administration fee.
      • No refund for withdrawals after 3 months prior to tour start date.
    • Refunds may take up to 4 - 6 weeks for processing.
    • Programs and courses cancelled by Saskatchewan Polytechnic will result in a full refund of paid fees.
    • Deferrals will not be permitted.
  8. How many people are you taking in the 2024 tour?
    • Our group will be composed of
      • 15 members of the public
      • Four Saskatchewan Polytechnic students in a related field
      • One Saskatchewan Polytechnic department head
      • Two experienced guides
  9. Where do we stay in Churchill?
    • Our accommodations are at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, approximate 24 km east of Churchill. It is an independent, non-profit research station located on the site of the former Churchill Rocket Research Range. It is a modern LEED certified building.
  10. What expenses am I responsible for on the trip?
    • You will be responsible for your:
      • Breakfast & supper on day one
      • Meals/food on the train
      • Breakfast & supper on day seven
      • Personal spending money
      • It is customary to give the Tundra Buggy driver a tip and our Churchill bus driver as you see fit (optional)
  11. What currency do I need?
    • Canadian dollars.
  12. What clothes/supplies do I need to take?
    • A detailed list will be provided to registrants at our pre-trip learning sessions.
  13. Will I see a polar bear?
    • Our trip has been carefully planned by experienced guides to put you in the best places at the optimum time to see bears. However, nature, wildlife and weather are unpredictable, and no guarantees can be offered.
  14. What wildlife, other than bears, could I see?
    • On the train, red fox and northern birds; caribou have been spotted on some occasions. In Churchill, red fox, arctic fox, ptarmigan, snowy owls, caribou, Arctic hare, and Northern birds are all possible.
  15. How long is the train ride?
    • The train from The Pas, MB to Churchill is scheduled for 30 hours.
  16. How long is the van ride to and from The Pas?
    • With a lunch stop and a few bio-stops along the way, the drive will be about five hours.
  17. What temperatures can I expect in Churchill?
    • The average daytime temperature in Churchill is -3 to -11 degrees C. However, strong, cold winds off the Hudson Bay can make temperatures feel bitterly cold.
  18. When will registration open?
    • March 8, 2024. You will need to complete and submit the 2024 registration form located on the website. Acceptance on the trip will be assigned on a first come basis. Successful applicants will receive a confirmation email. The next set of five applicants will receive a ‘wait listed’ email opportunity. Full registration fees will be due on May 1.
  19. Where can I purchase Trip Interruption/Cancellation Insurance?
    • This insurance can be purchased through most travel agencies.
  20. Is food available on the train?
    • A limited selection of food is available for purchase on the train.
  21. Do you accommodate dietary restrictions?
    • When dietary restrictions are identified we do our best to accommodate them.

Contact us

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