Ecological edge helps polar bear tour company create 30 years of encounters

May 30, 2018
​When you think of Great White Bear Tours, you might think of polar bears and auroras; you might think of tourists on the adventure of a lifetime; of the enthusiasm and joy on their faces.
For the past 30 years, Great White Bear Tours – a member of The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce – has given people access to the stunning phenomena and community of Churchill Manitoba, and has become known for providing the ultimate experience with polar bears.
This year, they celebrate their accomplishments and share memories that have shaped the company into what it is today. ​

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Rare tourist experiences range from witnessing seasonal phenomena to meeting local artists in Churchill, participating in cultural talks and engaging in scientific research. While tourism in Churchill continues to hold its own – especially with the polar bear attraction and interest – Great White Bear tours still sets a precedent for a sustainable, respectful eco-tourism. This is largely because of owners Marilyn and Don. They strive to respect, protect and admire the local tundra ecosystems and environment, and run their business with strict guidelines on waste disposal, water management, interaction with bears and other wildlife. Having lived, worked and raised a family in Churchill, they possess a great appreciation for the delicate environment in which humans and wildlife must co-exist. They are clear to communicate to their clients the appropriate ways to view and enjoy wildlife, and to minimize the collective footprint left by customers, staff and Polar Rovers.

Great White Bear Tours
gratefully supports the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, whose research provides information required for the company and all residents and visitors to Churchill, to respect and protect the Polar Bear population and protect and sustain the environment.

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What remains one of the most unique aspects of the company is the way they have revolutionized moving across the tundra. Their equipment has improved and the fleet has grown year after year. The construction of the machines themselves, which take place in Winnipeg at Anything Custom (the fabrication shop that was created in order to build the Polar Rover fleet) is an example of the company’s extremely high standards. The engines are built to use less fuel; the low-pressure tires and biodegradable toilets on both the lodge and the Polar Rovers exemplify this. The healthy growth of Churchill’s polar bear tourism is dependent on other companies stepping up and setting high standards of service as set by Great White Bear and its owners.

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Don and Marilyn’s vision for the industry is clearly evident in their progression from one machine in 1988 to the present day fleet. A love of the North is continually imparted to their clients. Their pro-active philosophy is seen in the constant upgrading practices and is a key to their success. Don and Marilyn also attribute their success to hard work, perseverance and a dedication to excellence from both themselves and their staff.

 

Visit their website to discover stories and memories from the friends, family and staff over the past 30 years.