With a series of varying climates and habitats that allow for its diverse multitude of flora and fauna, Canada is the ideal place to spot several types of bear. Adored all around the world for their visual appeal and merged into pop culture through children’s toys and cartoons, the humble bear is now a sort of mammalian superstar amongst other similar species. But no matter which interpretation of bear you are particularly fond of, the environment that Canada boasts will have eagle-eyed guests ticking off away at their bucket lists every day.
Those who are more daring and less risk averse may want to brush up on some standard safety tips while freely perusing the forests. Bears may look like just as cute as your childhood companion but when cornered they can be a serious threat. Anyone who made it through the traumatising Revenant scene without covering their eyes will know that bears are a genuine threat, so keep in mind that you may wish to carry some bear spray just incase you have an unexpected encounter. The general rule for what to do when you come face to face with one can easily be remembered by the rhyme “If it’s brown, lay down, if it’s black fight back”. Of course the much less scary way to see and enjoy bears as they go about their day is to make sure you are alongside guides and experts who will keep you at a safe distance.
Grizzly bears are one of the most well known breeds and they have a good foothold in the hills of the Rocky Mountains. Alberta is a great place to spot them as they plod around looking for food or relaxing in the sun. The two National parks here are both great places to head to if you want to see wildlife of all varieties, but Banff has an upper hand in that it has a bear sanctuary, which means the probability of you spotting one is extremely high. Banff Tours is the place to go if you want to get face to face with a bear without having your life flash before your eyes.
Amongst the ice is a much different kind of bear, and one you definitely don’t want to bump into alone, in fact the ominous end to the bear safety rhyme is ‘If it’s white, goodnight’. However the best place to set your peepers on one of these brutal bears is unquestionably the ‘Polar Bear Capital of the World’ otherwise known as Churchill in Manitoba. The breathtaking and heart racing footage at the Churchill Wild site should convince you to stop searching for any other tours.
As if this wasn’t enough for bear fanatics, there is an even more coveted breed in Canada’s borders that you can encounter. The fabled Spirit Bear has been part of local myths for years but you can break the mystery and see some for yourself. Stay at the Spirit Bear Lodge in Klemtu for your best chance to spot an extremely rare living legend.