CHURCHILL CANADA’S DIVERSE LANDSCAPES

 

As  tiny as the sub-Arctic region of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada  is, it nevertheless contains a multitude of  separate ecosystems that merge together to create a perfect environment for a wide diversity of forests, plains, freshwater and marine animals.   Since it was summer, albeit briefly when I visited, I was able to capture these “biomes” ( a large naturally occurring community of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat) in photos and I hope you will agree that the vistas  are stunning. First, a short ecological dissertation.

HUDSON BAY  – The Hudson Bay is part of a large inland sea system that mixes Arctic marine seawater with freshwater runoff from river systems such as the Churchill river. Partly within the Arctic Circle, it connects with the Atlantic Ocean via the Hudson Strait and Sea of Labrador, and with the Arctic Ocean via the Foxe Channel, Foxe Basin, and Gulf of Boothia. .  The Bay is very shallow – less than 600 feet – but it is the second largest bay in the world, second only to the Bay of Bengal:

LOWLANDS – The coast of Hudson Bay, from the shore  to the taiga forest inland, is an area thriving with wildlife that borders the taiga, the northern coniferous boreal forest, and the expansive treeless tundra further north.

 

TAIGA/BOREAL FOREST – Taiga is a Turkish  word  meaning “coniferous forests.”  It is also known as  “boreal” (of the north or northern regions) forest and it is the largest terrestrial biome on earth. It’s broad band extends across North America, Europe, and Asia to the southern border of the arctic tundra. Much of the taiga was once under glaciers, and as the glaciers receded, swathes of depressions were left in the landscape that with rainfall  became lakes and bogs.

 

TUNDRA – is a wide  open area  and it is the coldest of the biomes. The word tundra comes fromthe Finnish word tunturia, meaning “treeless plain.” The tundra receives low amounts of precipitation, making it similar to a desert in many ways. Vegetation on the tundra has adapted to the cold and the short 0 to 60 day growing season. Mosses, sedges and lichens are common, while trees are few and concentrated near waterways. The trees that do manage to grow on the tundra stay close to the ground and are insulated by snow during the cold and windy winters. And, due to the strong directional winds, they often  branches only on the leeward side, due to the fierce freezing wind across the open land.  This effect is known as Krumholz:

Churchill also has massive  rock formations, many with colorful lichen adornment:

 

 

Unique eye candy seems to come easily to this most fascinating town.

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6 thoughts on “CHURCHILL CANADA’S DIVERSE LANDSCAPES

  1. Lovely post and beautiful photos. I’ve always been fascinated by the taiga, it’s one of those fantastic places where you can really feel alive and experience the unspoiled wilderness. Would love to visit during the winter month, yes, I know it’s harsh and cold, but seeing nature at its rawest would be a dream come true moment.

    • Thanks! I have seen winter pictures and it is incredibly beautiful and the locals have told wonderful stories about the grueling lives they have in winter. The biggest issue is getting there – there is no road access so the only way is by plane or train, and during the harsh weather they do not run. In addition the train is a 10-12 hour ride from Winnipeg in the best of weather. Churchill is often left to fend for itself for weeks on end with no supplies like food, etc coming in. In addition, there is the ever present danger of roaming polar bears so unless you have a bear guide with you – not advisable to be walking around. So, in closing – certainly not for the feint of heart – But, I also would love to see it in person!

  2. The train ride is 48 hours one way from Winnipeg! The train and planes usually run all winter except in extreme weather conditions (usually snow storm or fog). Taking the plane is the best option but it’s very expensive! It’s the same price as taking two trips south in the winter, so you can imagine why so few Manitobans make it up to Churchill. Long cold winters make for tempting trips south rather than going further north.

  3. As usual, very informative. Will I go, don’t think so, too cold. I did Patagonia and it was brutal even in summer!

    • Thanks Karin! When we were there it was summer which lasts for about three weeks – and at times it was really hot – even on the coolest days we needed nothing more than a sweatshirt – that last night in Israel was colder. it is a unique and wonderful place to visit!

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