Town of Churchill
Churchill is located on the shore of Hudson's Bay in Manitoba. It is believed that nomadic Arctic people who first populated this area in 1000 AD evolved into the Inuit. The Dene people also came into this area around 500, long before the Europeans first arrived in 1619 where only three of the 64 explorers survived their expedition. The Hudson's Bay Company had an important role in colonizing the area by setting up a permanent settlement in 1717, and named this trading post after one of Winston Churchill's ancestors, John Churchill, who was governor of this famous company and also known as the first Duke of Marlborough. Like many newly populated areas, Churchill had its share of wars, conflicts, and growing pains. Approximately 1000 people live in Churchill consisting of non-native, Aboriginal (Chipewyan and Swampy Cree), Métis, and Inuit.
Churchill is known worldwide for its polar bears and for its efforts in the research and preservation of this animal and others. The town is also known for its beluga whales, its northern lights and for its birds. Scientists, researchers, and tourists flock to Churchill every year to experience these jewels by air and by train, as this isolated community has no roads linking it to other communities. Located at the estuary of the Churchill River that flows into Hudson's Bay, it is an ideal location for its seaport, the Port of Churchill, which exports Canadian grain to Europe. Despite its isolated location, Churchill is ecologically very diverse. Three biomes contribute to the town's beauty — the harsh tundra, marine, and Boreal forest add different facets to this precious gem. The interpretive centre also helps tourists in exploring and respecting the fragile ecosystems found in Churchill.
Many have and are still contributing to the development of Churchill. From the Thule and Dene people, the Danish and other Europeans who first arrived to the area, to the present leaders and inhabitants of today, all have contributed in shaping the town of Churchill. There are a few people and organizations that will be mentioned but they are far from being the only ones that should be mentioned. The Hudson's Bay Company should be mentioned for having built the Churchill River Post, which was a trading post. The Bay influenced the economy and progress in this area. The Canadian Pacific Rail linked the isolated community to the rest of the world. The Churchill Northern Studies Centre educates and is a leader in Arctic studies. The local businesses and people are also worth mentioning. They show the world what Churchill is all about through their tundra buggy/boat/helicopter tours, interpretive presentations (Parks Canada), delicious meals, inviting accommodations, or precious keepsakes.
By promoting Churchill on television, radio, newspapers, and the internet, the world is constantly learning, exploring, and discovering this special place. Parks Canada plays an important role in this field, as does Via Rail, the "Eskimo Museum," and the local businesses. The building of the multiplex has also contributed in making this small community consist of everything the bigger towns have (swimming pool, curling/hockey rinks, library, hospital, health and day care centres, cinema, etc.).
Churchill is important to everyone on this planet because it is the eyes to what is happening to our environment. The world watches with great attention at what's happening to our polar bears and other ecosystems. Churchill links Canada to Europe through our seaport. Tourists come visit Churchill to learn more about our whales, birds, seals, bears, and northern lights... Churchill is also well rooted in culture and history. For such a small town, it sure has a big place in the hearts of millions throughout the world.