The 'Polar Bear Capital of the World,' Churchill lures people to the shores of Hudson Bay for its majestic predators, beluga whales, a huge old stone fort and endless subarctic majesty. But while the highly accessible wildlife is enough for Churchill to be on any itinerary, there's something less tangible that makes people stay longer and keeps them coming back: a hearty seductive spirit that makes the rest of the world seem – thankfully – even further away than it really is.

Prime times to visit are July and August and then again during the peak polar-bear-viewing period of mid-October to mid-November. In winter Churchill is frozen and desolate, which has its own appeal for chasers of the sky's eerie light show.