At Classic Canadian Tours we pride ourselves in our exceptional guest experience and we are proud to share the following testimonials that we have received from our customers:
My daughter and I have the privileged and the thrill of going on your Polar Bear tour/safari on Sunday, November 13. It was an incredible experience that we will cherish forever! I am still smiling about it and in awe when I go through my pictures. I hope my daughter and I, can participate in your other tours in the next few years, Canada is really an incredible country with so much to see. We were very impressed with our whole experience with your company, from the moment we were guided to park our vehicles, checking in at the airport, the meals on the plane and the guest speakers and the incredibly time on the tundra buggies, everyone was friendly, and knowledgeable. We look forward to future trips with your company.
- Patricia, Polar Bear Safari Nov 13, 2016
My daughter and I had such a wonderful time on your polar bear safari, and the two hour delay didn’t dampen our trip at all. I thank you for the travel credit. I will be looking into using it on a summer tour. Again thank you for the wonderful polar bear safari.
- Marilyn, Polar Bear Safari Nov 13, 2016
I've heard nothing but great things and seen some awesome pic's from my clients who participated in the November 13th tour out of Edmonton. Thank you for everything!
- Andrea, Polar Bear Safari Nov 13, 2016
Thank you for an amazing day! The experience was beyond anything I expected. I have already recommended this tour to many people.
- Katelyn, Polar Bear Safari Nov 13, 2016
My wife and I have been fortunate enough to travel and see wildlife in Africa, Asia and Australia. We both agreed after our experience yesterday with you in Churchill that our tour was equal to if not better than any of the experiences we have had to date in those other locales. Congrats to you for establishing a company that not only provides employment, hopefully makes a profit but also truly does enrich the lives of those who purchase your product. A rare combination indeed!
Thanks again for an unbelievable day.
- Nigel and Anita, Polar Bear Safari Nov 13, 2016
Our group had an amazing trip, loved it all, and we saw 18 or so polar bears, really great, our kids were thrilled as were all our invitees.
- Ruth, Polar Bear Safari, Nov 5, 2016
I never got a chance to thank you for a wonderful trip this summer. We all enjoyed it immensely, and I thought the professionalism you and your company showed regarding the plane delay was exceptional.
I do have a complaint to pass on regarding the tundra tour. At the time of year we were there was essentially no chance of seeing polar bears. This was verified by our tour guide. Had I known this I would not have spent to several hundred dollars for three of us to attend that tour. Without the chance of seeing the polar bears, this short tour was not a good value. Thanks again for what was otherwise a wonderful trip.
- Martin, Beluga Whale Tour, August 2016
We want to thank-you for organizing a wonderful trip for us to the Yukon. We had a wonderful time. We were impressed with Air North,the Westmark Hotels in Whitehorse, Dawson City and Skagway. We were also impressed with the Edgewater Hotel in Whitehorse. The train/bus trip was a real highlight for my husband. We enjoyed the whole trip from start to finish. It was so nice to have everything booked in advance, that just made the journey so stress-free. I have made mention to others about Classic Canadian Tours and look forward to booking another adventure someday. Sincerely,
- Malcolm & Lori, Yukon Gold Rush, July 2016
Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed yesterday. Came home feeling very peaceful and relaxed. Loved getting on and off the plane so easily without the security hassle. Like the “old days”.....
- Liz, Grizzly Bear Tour, July 25, 2016
Thanks for hosting such an incredible tour to the Khutzeymateen on June 11th. This is the second tour that we have taken with you, the first to see the polar bears in Churchill in 2014. Both have been incredible once in a lifetime experiences, of which we will hold many great memories for years to come. Both you and Les are great hosts, providing a perfect mix of knowledge and information, flawless service, and care and attention to your guests. You and your team provide all of this in a seemingly effortless manner, but rest assured we fully understand and appreciate all that you do behind the scenes to make this happen.
- Richard and Judy, Grizzly Bear Tour
We had a fantastic time on the grizzly bear tour this weekend. The tour was great. The tour guides and staff were accommodating, knowledgeable and very entertaining. Loved the wildlife especially the Bears. The Eagles were quite a treat too. Thank you for an amazing trip.
- Shannon & Dan, Grizzly Bear Tour, June 11, 2016
Just wanted to thank you for such an incredible day on Saturday. It truly was an awesome experience (in the true sense of the word!) and we feel so honoured and blessed to have been able to do the trip. It was great to meet you too, and was wonderful to have your expertise and knowledge so readily available :o). Best regards and thank you again for an excellent trip!
- Aileen & Crae, Polar Bear Safari, November 14, 2015
Everyone had a great experience on the Polar Bear Safari, everyone has contacted me to say what an amazing time they had. A few of these guests are now interested in the BELUGA WHALE TOUR for this coming Summer.
- Ed, Co-op Travel Polar Bear Safari, November 14, 2015
The tour was an Awesome Experience and now is checked off of Bobbi's (my wife of 40 yrs) bucket list. The short trip from the airport to the Buggy was a lot of fun, very informative and we were fortunate enough to be on the bus with the boss of the bus line. As many people in Churchill...very colourful . Our Buggy driver Neil did an excellent job and kept everyone smiling throughout the afternoon. We met a lot of wonderful people throughout the day (including the staff and flight crew). We have travelled extensively and have made a lot of great memories.....our 1 day trip to Churchill to see the Polar Bears is definitely near the top of that list of memories.
- Craig & Bobbi, Polar Bear Safari, Calgary November 8
I thoroughly enjoyed the Polar Bear Safari Tour. Everything was so well planned. My friend came with me to keep me company and sure glad that she did. She we totally impressed. We saw at least 15 bears. Ann, Polar Bear Safari, November 7, 2015
I just wanted to thank you for helping to make my birthday last Sunday an experience of a lifetime. It was everything I dreamed of and more. Thanks again and thanks to all of the people involved with Classic
- Shannon, Polar Bear Safari, November 1, 2015
Want to tell you how much I enjoyed the trip to Churchill. Saying it was awesome, would be an understatement!! Everything was first class. The flights, meals, the tundra buggies.....everything was great. Of course, seeing so many polar bears was incredible!
Polar Bear Safari,
I was recently on your tour to Churchill and although we saw only 2 bears, I thought your entire operation was inspiring! Thank you!!
- Jane, Polar Bear Safari,
You probably have more than enough polar bear pictures; nevertheless I thought you might like to see these. Great tour BTW; next time we hope to find some cubs! :-) Thank you,
- Michael, Polar Bear Safari, October 23, 2015
WOW what an amazing trip to Churchill Manitoba! Thank you all so very much for the spectacular experience, organizing and getting us there & back safely. We thank Les & Owen as well for all their enthusiasm & insightful information. This trip far exceeded our expectations – we will definitely sign up for another adventure with you.
- Liz & Russ, Diane, Anika, Beluga Whale Tour August 22, 2015
Just wanted to let you know how much Tristan and I enjoyed this Beluga Whale trip. I was a bit worried that Tristan was too young when we first arrived and there were no other children his age. Everyone was so nice to him from the guides to the other participants, and he was in his glory. He thinks he will go back when he is older. He wants to see the polar bears now. He told me more than once "this is amazing grandma, well worth it".
- Glenys, Beluga Whale Tour August 22, 2015
I just want to say a huge thank you for that wonderful day; the staff, the flight, the tour, the food and the weather! I appreciate all your fine work in making it run smoothly and enjoyably.
- Glenice, Grizzly Bear Adventure July 4th, 2015
I would just like to thank you and everyone involved with Classic Canadian Tours for making our day trip to see the Polar Bears so simple and so wonderful. It was a magical day from start to finish. Everyone at Ptarmigan thanks you for a great experience. We all are telling everyone and making so many people jealous. However we are nice and give them the opportunity to make others jealous as we all highly recommend Classic Canadian. I have no doubt that our paths will cross again.
- Gary, October 24, Polar Bear Safari 2014
I was on the Polar Bear Tour out of Edmonton a week ago, Oct.26/14, I did not see anything on the trip to leave a comment on how and what we experienced. I want to say how impressed I was with how the whole trip turned out. Right from being picked up at the parking lot, checking at the terminal, the in-flight crew and our guides, to the people in Churchill. Your own people treated us exceptionally, the bus drive and Neil our Tundra Buggy operator were so knowledgeable, willing to give their thoughts, stories and experiences and answer any questions we had. Thank you for an experience of a lifetime and a new found respect for the Polar Bear. We did not have any snow on the ground and I guess it was something I had hoped for, to get those true polar bear photographs, to see the landscape as we did was amazing, a truly different type of conditions and how harsh that part of our country is. Another trip in November will have to be added to my bucket list. Thank you again to Bill our guide on our buggy and to the rest of you team, what a wonderful and memorable experience!
- Rick, October 26, Polar Bear Safari 2014
Just wanted to thank you for such a wonderful adventure. I had a fabulous time and I can't seem to shut up about it. Everyone involved was great and there to answer any questions. I learnt so much about polar bears, the tundra and Churchill that day. I was so impressed that every detail was taken care of and the tour went so smoothly! The meals on the plane were great - I cannot remember the last time I was served a hot meal on a flight let alone everything else. I cannot thank you enough for making my day and everyone else's so special! Looking forward to doing this again sometime - hoping a tour to see grizzlies fishing during a salmon run in BC or Yukon may become available in the next few years.
- Lisa, October 24, Polar Bear Safari 2014
Nigel and I really want to express our appreciation for the wonderful polar bear experience we enjoyed on Nov. 1st. The day was very well planned and exceeded all our expectations. Even the bears co-operated, it was particularly lovely watching the mothers and cubs. We've captured it all on some great videos. We have already recommended this trip to our friends for next year and we will keep in touch regarding future tours with you. Thank you very much,
- Marian and Nigel, November 1, Polar Bear Safari 2014
Wow !! What an absolutely amazing day we had... Now Linda & I know what it's like to travel with a rock star !
Our morning started early & we looked out to see a light sprinkling of snow falling....perfect for the start of our adventure.
Mum had celebrity status from the time she stepped out of my car with Linda @ the West Wind Terminal " oh she must be our celebrity" the gal standing outside yelled to us. Everyone were so wonderful the entire day, Bill,Les from Classic Canadian Tours had every detail organized for us,seats reserved for us @ the front of the plane as well as the tundra buggy. There were shuttle arrangements for only her & her entourage ( daughters) so no long walks from the terminal to the plane etc
We were greeted on arrival at Churchill by the Mayor & deputy mayor bearing gifts ( bunny hug,travel mug,journal all with the town of Churchill label on them )..flashes from cameras as many were taking pictures of the arriving Celebrity ! Oh my ! They were waiting for her.
The whole town of Churchill seemed to know she was coming. Jodi our school bus driver who transferred us from the air terminal to the tundra buggy launch & back was very excited to have her aboard & was anxious to show her off. At the end of our day when Jodi dropped the other bus passengers off to shop @ " 58 North" ,she thought Mum should go to " Gypsy's Bakery & Restaurant " where the bathroom facilities were more accessible & so we went ....,refreshments were enjoyed and we were greeted with " that's the lady from the paper" ,apparently there had been several stories in the Winnipeg paper all week .
Simon our tundra buggy driver was so great,a native of England, you could tell he loves his adopted home of Canada, specifically Churchill,Manitoba. He is so knowledgeable & shared his love of the polar bears & nature with us for 6 + hours. We saw bears !!! Our 1st encounter was about 5 minutes into our tundra buggy experience. That was a mother & her two 11 month old Cubs....wonderful. That & each sighting after, Simon's enthusiasm & excitement was contagious. We saw 2 young bears standing on their hind legs sparring, a mother & her 2 year old cub jumping on the ice....learning for the future use when the seal hunting takes place. We saw bears scooching along the ice, another encounter was a large male intimidating a smaller female, chased her away as if to say "out of here ,these are my tourists !" We saw furry "rocks" as bears hunkered down on the snowy terrain. Bears feeding on kelp.All in all we saw 20-25 bears
We were told all day how fortunate we were to have such wonderful weather (-17 which was -25 on arrival) the light was spectacular. We saw double sun dogs & a beautiful sunset at the end of the day. Simon pointed out the various vegetation,spruce,tamarack ,19 species of willow etc interesting to see the "flag" trees,spruce trees that only have branches on one side because of the winds that wear them down. I wish I could remember all his stories.
Just everyone made our day great; the staff @ Air North from check in to drop off, the other passengers, no one ever made us feel we were a inconvenience rather it was a privilege to be travelling with us ! Simon the tundra driver presented mum with a Hudson’s Bay throw to keep her warm on the tundra buggy. She was served first and told she had brought good luck "my sun glasses had cobwebs on them until Pauline came " the sun shone & the light was amazing. Simon even wanted her to drive the buggy but only managed to get her into the drivers seat" I haven't had my driver’s license for year " she said. The huge machine lumbers along @ about 3 mph. It wasn't as rough as I expected & of course we stopped for watching those magnificent animals. To see them in their pristine habitat was a I Love Canada moment. The people of Churchill are so proud of their home town and so very friendly. We never met one sour mean spirited person all day from the start of our day to the end!
Thank you Classic Canadian Tours and especially Bill Lamberton who spent the day with us on Tundra buggy #14 & made sure we knew exactly what to expect next " you'll be off first" or " you'll be off last " etc they also presented her with a framed polar bear print ,that had been shot by Les Stegenga ,our naturalist with us. The Churchill Chamber of Commerce gave Mum a diploma declaring her to be an esteemed ,exalted ,historical & honourable chief inspector of Polar bears.....wow. Mum ,Linda & I raised our wine glass to each other on the flight home & decided we had a most remarkable,wonderful day & Mother / daughters experience ! Loved it !!!
- November 1, Polar Bear Safari 2014
We would like to take this opportunity to say we had an awesome time at Churchill and we have enjoyed watching the Beluga.
- Eva & Terry, Calgary, Beluga Whale Tour 2014
Thank you for the most wonderful wknd!! We enjoyed it thoroughly.
- Gail & Don, Calgary. Beluga Whale Tour 2014
Thank you for a wonderful weekend and experience. You managed to pack so much into two days in a seamless manner (seamless to this participant anyway!). The world of Churchill is exciting and beautiful and filled with friendly people. I don’t know if you had a word with the head beluga, but they certainly put on a great show of numbers for visitors delight – awe inspiring. Having such knowledgeable people there in Brian and Les was certainly a bonus. Thank you again to you and your team.
- Irene, Calgary, Beluga Whale Tour 2014
What a great trip... another item off my bucket list... thanks! Les and Brian are fantastic guides... very knowledge and also fun to be around. Please pass along my thanks to them and everyone involved in organizing this trip. I enjoyed all the tours. The local guides were excellent and I really felt a sense of pride from them when they were talking about the area. They are very knowledgeable about all facets of Churchill. Gerald and Jennifer are fantastic people and their love for their home and animals is very apparent. I was very impressed with their dog sledding operation and most importantly, how well they treat their animals. Jennifer also went above and beyond when she offered to call us at the hotel if she saw any Northern lights later that night and then, to top it all off, she even volunteered to pick us up and take us out to the Boreal forest for a better view, at 1:30 in the morning!
The tour of the grain elevator was excellent and the guide was very information, not only about grain and the elevator but also about the shipping and the Churchill area. The lodge staff were fantastic, from the front desk to the dining room and the food was excellent. The two days were so full that it felt like we had packed a 4-day trip instead of 2 (that is a good thing).
Also, the airplane food (if I should even use that term) was very good and I really like the added touch of wine on the way home. This was my 2nd trip with you and I will definitely book other excursions with you in the future. Thanks for all the personal touches.
- Trixie, Calgary, Beluga Whale Tour 2014
Just wanted to say thank you and how highly impressed Justin and I were on the Grizzly Tour Saturday July 05. Everything was absolutely perfect, the flights, the meals, the vessel, the tours, the bus shuttle etc. very well organized! We really enjoyed ourselves. Once again, thank you and Justin and I look forward to being able to participate in the polar bear tour this fall! Thank You for a very well done/run tour, appreciated!
- Jackie, Edmonton, Grizzly Bear West Coast Tour 2014
Hello, I just wanted to drop you a quick note regarding yesterday's tour. I am sure I don't have to tell you that the opportunity to see grizzlies, orcas and bald eagles was a magical and amazing experience and I hope you receive that kind of feedback regularly. As someone who had organized over 1000 events, large and small, I wanted to give you feedback on something that maybe you don't hear about often enough. Your organization did an amazing job of just logistically organizing the day. It is rare that a day with so many 'moving parts' goes so smoothly and I realized after the tour was over that I didn't even notice the logistics of the day because you just did such a thorough, professional and seamless job of everything. Kudos to you for that. Very very well done.
- Rhonda, Calgary, Grizzly Bear West Coast Tour 2014
Hi...just wanted to drop a note and send you a big thank you to you and the crew for the trip to the Grizzly Sanctuary on Saturday....it was a really good trip and well organized! Having the 2 naturalists on board is excellent...I liked the commentary and insights they both had and the captain did an awesome job manoeuvring the boat around! I had a great time and the wildlife viewing was excellent! I am considering the Polar Bear trip...but the Grizzly trip for next year is a must again!
- James Calgary, Grizzly Bear West Coast Tour 2014
"Just a note to say thank you for a great Polar Bear Safari trip on October 20th. The whole day was superbly well organized and I thoroughly enjoyed all parts of it. Les and Bob (our driver) were very helpful and informative and although we didn't encounter many bears, I was fascinated by the ones we did have the opportunity to observe. But what really captured my imagination was the grandeur of the territory. Bleak though it may be, it was an incredible beauty all its own with its rich tapestry of colours. Thank you for a memorable day."
- Sheila, Calgary, Polar Bear Safari Tour 2013
"We were on your Edmonton Polar bear excursion last Saturday the 9th. It was wonderful, the guide, Simon, and also Brian, were wonderful. My husband and I had a wonderful time, your suggestions for clothing worked perfectly. Everything worked smoothly, I really enjoyed it. Right up there with my 2001 trip to the Galapagos."
- Lyn, Edmonton, Polar Bear Safari Tour 2013
" We're here at Loews for our last night-just wanted to check in and tell you that we are "over the moon" with our trip. The timing was perfect-the leaves are glorious in Quebec-we were lucky and saw whales not everyone does) belugas even! The food was excellent, everyone was very accommodating with our diet restrictions. Thank you thank you again."
- Pat & Jim, Calgary, Montreal, Quebec, Charlevoix Tour 2012
"G'Day. Yes, the Oil Sands Tour was excellent all around and I was especially impressed with the Reclamation Project. Also, the Discovery Centre display was excellent. Thank you for your efforts in arranging the tour for me. I am heading back down under on Thursday so I would like to wish Classic Canadian Tours all the best for the future."
- Terry, Australia, Alberta Oil Sands Tour 2012
"Thanks Dean and everyone at Classic Canadian Tours...first class tour....what a awesome day! One we will always remember."
- The Vogelgesang family!, Calgary, Polar Bear Safari 2012
"I went on the Polar Bear Safari and I wanted to let you know that it was the most amazing experience! The buggy drivers were a wealth of knowledge as were the Canadian Classic guides. Brian Keating's enthusiasm for wildlife is truly infectious. I feel very lucky to have experienced this once in a lifetime adventure!! I look forward to recommending it to everyone! Thanks!!"
- Lara, Calgary, Polar Bear Safari 2012
"Thank you for a truly great experience! Everyone that my wife and I encountered, from the staff at the hotel, to the personnel of Canadian North, as well as the naturalists and drivers of the busses and the Tundra Buggy, were universally helpful and informative. This was truly a once in a lifetime experience.
My only question is how can you possibly find anything to top this?"
- John, Polar Bear Safari 2012
"I want to thank you all so much for my polar bear safari on Saturday. I had the most amazing day that I will never forget. All morning I have been sharing my experience with my co-workers and clients hopeful that they all will be able to take part in this unique experience. Even though this is referred to as a "once in a lifetime" – I think I will be repeating this one!!"
- Heather, Edmonton, Polar Bear Safari 2012
"WOW! That was amazing. Thank you for such a memorable experience. We met Bill on the plane and got to spend the day with Les in the Tundra Buggy. His knowledge of the history, animals and nature was amazing. It added a lot to our trip to be able to hear his stories and learn so much. Jim, the driver was terrific. The entire experience exceeded any expectations we could have had. Thanks for organizing such a unique and interesting event."
- Dorit & Ogen, California, Polar Bear Safari 2012
"I just wanted to let you know that we had a fabulous time on Sunday. I would go again in a heartbeat and in fact, I plan on doing so sometime in the future. Every moment was special and I will be sending a letter to Bill Lamberton, QR77 Radio and Canadian North to express my appreciation for making this trip so memorable! I also plan on telling everyone I know that this is an experience they cannot afford to miss and it sure elevates your feeling of being a proud Canadian.
Thanks again for your kind helpful assistance leading up to the departure. Classic Canadian Tours should be so proud of its first class Customer Service and the extra personalized touches it offers, which unfortunately is very lacking with so many companies these days.
My travelling companion enjoyed the trip as much as I did (in fact, this is her second time to Churchill and she will definitely return)."
- Barb, Calgary, Polar Bear Safari 2012
"This is an overdue THANK YOU! My husband and I were part of your generous offer on 20Oct to Churchill on the Polar Bear Safari. What an experience!"
- Heather, Saskatoon, Polar Bear Safari 2012
"My wife Ruth and I really enjoyed our tour of Hudson Bay on Oct. 20. You had a very well organized trip."
- Rich, Edmonton, Polar Bear Safari 2012
"I did had the most amazing day on Sunday, October 28 and I just had to share. We flew to Churchill, Manitoba and went on a Polar Bear Safari, flying up and back in the same day. AMAZING.
We were at the airport by 5:15 – sadly, we weren't even close to the first people there. Talk about keeners?!?! There was coffee and pastries for those who could eat them. We were traveling through one of the smaller terminals (North Cariboo Air) so didn't have all the hassle of security. We also got free parking. It was like travelling was years ago and was a very pleasant experience except for the fact that we had to walk outside to the plane and up the stairs.
We were over an hour late by the time we got boarded and taxied down to the de-icing station for a quick bath. It was still totally dark when we left at 7:30 with 114 people on the expedition. There were a number of naturalists and other people along to explain things (Brian Keating and Les Stegenga from the Calgary Zoo, the President of the Airline and the Owner of the tour company). We were served a full hot breakfast (they even had a special gluten free one for me). The naturalists gave us a very good talk on the history of polar bears, Churchill, what to expect, etc. They even passed around a skull, fur, claws and a seal skin so we got a very good idea of the animals and landscape we would (hopefully) be seeing. One of the most interesting things I learned is that the bears haven't eaten since they came off the ice in July so are at their leanest and laziest right now, just waiting for the ice so they can go back out to hunt seals. They are conserving energy which is why they are not very active.
We landed in Churchill to a mix of sun and cloud and a temperature of –8C then boarded school busses for the drive out to the Tundra Buggy Expedition launch, where we boarded the buggies. They are ugly, cumbersome, home-made contraptions that are like a school bus on steroids. They have huge tires (6'?) that allow them to go through mud, ice, slush, rocks, etc., all the things that seem to be a part of driving on 50-60 year old trails built by the military on muskeg. The interior is quite roomy, with rows of school bus seats and a large open area between (buggy is about 15 feet wide) with a stove, washroom and kitchen nook. The windows open so you can hang out and take pictures, which everyone was doing like crazy.
We didn't travel more than 5 km as the crow flies, but as the buggy goes, we took 1 1/2 hours to get to the "camp" where they have hauled out some dormitory units and where tourists can stay for 3-7 days and watch the bears. As we were driving up, a bear rose from the bush very close to the buggy, stretched and walked away – our first bear, what a thrill!!! When we got to the actual shore, there were 2 bears play wrestling for a couple minutes then they both settled down for another nap (did you know that bears can lay around like that for 20 hours a day?). They didn't move again until we all had our hands full with spoons and soup bowls?!?!? Who says Mother Nature doesn't have a sense of humor?
Shortly after that, we drove to a new area and saw a bear snoozing while draped over a good sized rock. He kept twitching like his pillow was too hard, but didn't move away from it for a long while. We had 3 buggies there by the time he got up, but wow!?!? He walked over to our buggy, sniffed, looked up at us, stood up and looked in the back, wandered around between and under the buggies, etc., giving everyone an amazing photo op. While we were watching him, someone spotted a red fox on the other side of the trail, approaching us. I guess the bear smelled our food and decided he wanted some lunch as well, so he chased the fox for a bit. That didn't work out for him, so he came back and wandered around us some more. Even the naturalists were thrilled with the actions of this bear as they normally don't chase land animals.
Our driver (another former zoo worker) backed our buggy up to the back end of another buggy and we exchanged naturalists without anyone having to get on the ground. As we were driving away, the red fox re-appeared and put on his own show. Some of the pictures look like he only has 2 legs and he should fall over. I didn't notice it at the time, but the photos are cool. The ice just started to form a couple of days ago, so the buggy goes through some huge areas of slush and ice, causing disturbances. The fox was scavenging for small fish called sticklebacks which were in the water and being thrown up to the edges by the passage of the buggies.
We also saw other critters – a gyrfalcon, lots of ptarmigan, snow buntings (small birds).
We spotted a total of 7 polar bears in the 6 hours we were out on the buggies. We saw all males or females with no cubs as mamas do not take their babies near the males because it is too dangerous. We saw some relatively small bears but also some huge old guys who truly were impressive, even from a distance. Apparently, it is cloudy most of the time in the fall so we were very, very lucky to get some sunshine during the day and the most amazing sunset you can imagine. It lasted over 1/2 hour as well, which was nice as you had time to take good photos.
The land there is incredibly flat with any elevation of 15' being very high. The tide rises and falls about 6' which leaves massive tidal flats all along the shore. Apparently, the bay is very shallow there, near the river outlet and a point. It is this combination that causes the ice to form in that area quicker than other places on the coast (shallow fresh water freezes quicker than open salt water). This is what attracts the bears to the area, and has for thousands of years. It just so happens that what attracted the bears also attracted the western culture so they have had to adapt to each other.
Only bears with repeated bad behavior like coming into town, entering private homes or raiding at the dump end up in jail. The bear jail only had 4 residents on Sunday, but has space for over 40. Because people are finally smartening up about our environment and the animals, the bears are no longer being killed for their behavior but instead are being transported out to the ice, once it becomes solid enough for them.
On the way back, our driver pointed out a Innui grave and a ring of stones from an old shelter site. People have lived in this area for thousands of years and if you know how and where to look you can find evidence of the very light impression they have left on the land in all those years.
We went into town for a bit of tourist shopping and photography. About the only things open at 6:00 on a Sunday evening were tourist shops and the bar, but that seemed to cover everyone's wants and needs. For such a small community (800), it sure is spread out. The airport is out by the old military base, 3-4 km from town and the grain terminal is almost the same distance the other side of town.
We left for home shortly after 7:00 pm and had another hot meal, steak and noodles for most and chicken and rice for me, along with beverages (wine included). The naturalists spoke again, very enthusiastic about how great the day had been, which everyone agreed with. We were back to Calgary by 9:20 and away from the airport by 9:30. This really is the only way to fly, if you get the chance.
All in all, it was a spectacular day and one I will remember for the rest of my life. I would highly recommend it if you get the chance. I have heard about this trip for a number of years and this year circumstances worked out so that I could finally go on this wonderful excursion. There are only 3 flights from Calgary and 3 from Edmonton each year about this time but man is it worth doing."
- Karen, Calgary, Polar Bear Safari 2012
"I was in the tour group that traveled to Churchill and wanted to let Classic Canadian Tours know what an incredible day this was for me. I saw many polar bears and got some great pictures. I thought that the tour was very well organized and professionally conducted - lots of great information provided by the interpreters and guides. I guess Classic Canadian Torus can't take credit for the great weather!! but it sure did help."
- Pat, Calgary, Polar Bear Safari 2011
"I put a huge gold star on my bucket list. November 11th, my husband and I spent the day with the polar bears. It was amazing and over exceeded our expectations. The flight was excellent and the meal was above any other airline meal we've had. We've traveled extensively and other airlines could learn a lot from Canadian North. Les' info session made us even more excited for what we were about to experience. The staff on the buses were friendly, knowledgeable and answered any and every question. Our Tundra Buggy driver, tour guide and chef, J.P. really made our day. He was informative, friendly and clearly set-out rules and expectations of the day for our protection, as well as, the bears. It was a busy day and we crawled into bed with smiles on our faces and polar bears in our dreams."
- Donna, Edmonton, Polar Bear Safari 2011
"We had a wonderful time! We saw 28 bears! It was so amazing. Thank you so much for your help and your kindness. The staff on the plan from Edmonton to Churchill were extremely kind and friendly too. I think we had the best tundra buggy driver! Jim was knowledgeable, witty and shared his passion for the polar bears with us! We were so close that I got over 550 photos that I'm so proud of!"
- Lorna, Toronto, Polar Bear Safari 2011
"Thanks to Dean, Bill and anyone else who had anything to do with the Polar Bear Tour on Oct. 29th. It was truly a memorable day, one that will not be forgotten. Thanks so very much."
- Ron & Pat, Calgary, Polar Bear Safari 2011
"I was fortunate to travel on the Polar Bear adventure. I can't than you enough for giving me and my sister such a wonderful opportunity. I returned to work today with my photo frame and stick of pictures to share with my staff. Everyone is amazed by the adventure we enjoyed. It is my opinion that I would not change or complain about anything from the day! It was perfect in every way. Thank you again to you and your staff. Also, if you could pass along a big thank you to Jim our driver, or as I have named him PB & J (polar bears and Jim). He added to the day as well!
It is apparently the trip of a lifetime, but I might consider doing it again!"
- Janette, AMA Travel, Edmonton, Polar Bear Safari 2011
"Just a little note to say what an enjoyable trip the November 11th Safari was. I thoroughly enjoyed it and felt that the trip was "First Class" all the way."
- Amelia, Edmonton, Polar Bear Safari 2011
" I just wanted to tell you how much my husband and I enjoyed our Polar Bear Tundra tour. It exceeded all our expectations; the talks given by Bill & Les on the plane and by our Tundra Buggy driver Brian gave us a greater understanding of the bears, their habits and the events influencing their lives and for that we thank them. A truly amazing experience. Walking behind a young woman on the tarmac between the plane and the terminal after arriving back in Calgary I overheard her say it was the best day of her life! So thank you again for a great day."
- Christine, Calgary, Polar Bear Safari 2011
"You guys put on one hell-of-a-trip. Top notch service, food, guides, etc. My daughter and I enjoyed it immensely."
- Bryce, Regina - Polar Bear Safari 2011
"I wanted to send you a quick note to tell you just how much we enjoyed our polar bear excursion on Saturday. I have to say it was the number one highlight of my life, and I would highly recommend it to anyone!
There was not a glitch in the whole day; we were greeted by Bill and Les at the airport, where all the other tourists smiled and chatted.
The airline staff were superb, meals on the plane were great, as was the presentation Les did prior to us arriving at Churchill. From the time we left the plane to the time we arrived back at the airport, everything ran like a well-oiled machine. Our tundra buggy guide, Neil, was fantastic; he was knowledgeable, down-to-earth, had a great sense of humour, and was more than willing to do whatever he could to make our trip a very memorable one. Bill was readily available for anything, and shared much of his wisdom; having Les available to 'quiz' was an added bonus. By the end of the day, we felt as if we'd known our new friends for years!Thank you for this opportunity! I feel very honoured to have spent time not only with the bears, but in a northern area such as Churchill. I can understand why people are drawn back, again and again, once given the chance to witness the beauty that it has to offer. As much as this was originally a "once in a lifetime" trip, I hope to be able to return again to witness the beluga whales."
"Just wanted to say thanks to you all and tell you how much Dave and I enjoyed your day-trip Polar bear tour we took Nov 7th out of Edmonton. We had a wonderful time and saw more than 15 bears! Great photos and memories for ever. Not only that, our friends were extremely jealous when we reported back and showed our photos! Thanks to Bill and Les for being such good hosts, giving us background and information on the bears and the natural setting (while not losing any of us on the tundra or in the shops!) Our bus driver gave us a running commentary on Churchill and its history, and Neil our Tundra Buggy driver was hilarious and informative. Remarkable how serene and relaxed the bears were, though I know they would have leaped instantly and gracefully on any seal or person in their path! It was a real privilege to have had the opportunity to visit the bears in their natural environment. Also a really impressive reminder of how precious our wildlife and habitats are, that we must protect them."
- Heather, Yellowknife, NT – Polar Bear Safari 2010
"Just to pass on our thanks for a memorable trip to the big north. Lots of bears and other excitement all day kept our younger members interested and taking pictures."
- Jack & Bernice, Calgary – Polar Bear Safari 2010
"Now that we have returned to the U. K, I had to write you to thank your Company or a fantastic day in Calgary. The tour itself was faultless, the airline that you used was excellent and your Company's hospitality was amazing. My wife had wanted to see the Polar Bears for a long time, we had seen penguins in the Antarctic and Kangaroos and Koalas in Australia, and we had visited Alaska and Spitzbergen in Norway, with no sightings. To see the numbers we did on your tour was highly satisfactory. We can have tours to Calgary from the U. K. but they are quite expensive, we did your tour including five nights in Calgary for less than half the cost the U. K. operators charge for one person. We have web sites in the U.K. where I can certainly let people know about the tours your Company organize, and how good you are. Again, thank you for your help with the booking, and grateful thanks for seeing the Bears at last."
- Sincerely, Arthur and Florence, UK – Polar Bear Safari 2010
"Just a quick email to thank you and Classic Canadian Tours for the fantastic charter service to Calgary on Sunday. The service/staff/logistics were fantastic! Other than the outcome of the football game, everything was great.
- Karen Mazurak, Regina, SK - Grey Cup 2009 Charter
"Just wanted to drop a line, and thank you for the great time we had using your services to attend the Grey Cup game from Regina.
We sincerely appreciated the last minute arrangements you made to accommodate our visit to downtown Calgary before we were taken to McMahon Stadium for the game. All of the staff were very friendly and helpful. We would certainly use your services again." Thank you again!
- Bev Aaston and Wayne McGillivray, Regina, SK - Grey Cup 2009 Charter
"Good evening, I am lying in the hotel bed having returned form my Polar Bear Express day tour today and just wanted to email my grateful thanks for a wonderful day. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. We got to see 30+ bears - more than ever imagined! It truly was a magical day and one that will leave wonderful memories!"
- Many thanks, Carol Everitt - Polar Bear Tour, November 2009
"Just a quick hello to let you know shat a wonderful trip we had to the Yukon.It was a great introduction to a very special area of our great country andwhat a nice group of people."
- Joe Louwenaar - Vancouver, BC - Yukon Klondike Tour 2008
"I had the pleasure of the Tar Sands tour last Friday, 6th and I want to thank you for a first class experience. I would highly recommend your tour. It was extremely well run and the entire experience was most informative and enjoyable."
- Nigel Potts - Surrey, BC - Alberta Oil Sands Tour 2008
Click here to see a video created by Warren and Susan, guests on one of our Polar Bear Tours.
- Warren Arnholtz & Susan Steele - Calgary, AB - Polar Bear Tour 2007
"A quick note to say what a fabulous day I had yesterday. The tour was sensational, definitely a lifetime highlight, and so very well run – congratulations!"
- Kate Findlay - Calgary, AB- Polar Bear Tour 2007
"We had a trip to remember. The weather really cooperated and everything went like clockwork. Bill and Les were terrific and perfect guides. The bears were the most cooperative and we saw many. We have done nothing but rave about the trip since returning to Edmonton. Once again thank you to all."
- Bill, Mufty & Wendy Mathewson and Craig Hicks - Edmonton, AB - Polar Bear Tour 2007
"Hats off to Classic Canadian Tours. Anytime I have had a concern or question, it was handled promptly, personally and efficiently."
- Joan Schneider - Saskatoon, SK - Polar Bear Tour 2007
"I just wanted to say how much we enjoyed the tour last Wednesday Nov 7th. Everything was well organized and Chris, our tundra buggy driver, was very informative and looked after us well. Even the polar bears cooperated! Thanks for an unforgettable day."
- Jill Gardiner - Regina, SK - Polar Bear Tour 2007
"The trip to Churchill last Wednesday was one of the most memorable days of my life and I thank you for coming up with the concept of the day trips - I would never have been able to see those beautiful polar bears in their natural surroundings otherwise."
- Penny Graylin - Sydney, Australia - Polar Bear Tour 2007
"I would like to congratulate you on a successful trip to Calgary at Christmas. My husband and I were able to visit our daughter and my sister and her husband and numerous relatives something we were able to do only because you provided the air service.My husband is 92 tomorrow and I will be 91 in February so the trip was extra special. The plane was comfortable, the service was excellent and not having to go to the big airport was an added treat. Thank you."
- Mr. & Mrs. Turpin - Brandon, Manitoba - 2007 Christmas Flights