A Family History of Adventure Tourism

On a beautiful spring day in 1993, Churchill Wild co-founder Mike Reimer and professional wildlife photographer Dennis Fast struck gold while flying along the coast of Hudson Bay north of Churchill, Manitoba.

They were looking for a site on which to build a wildlife ecolodge and when they saw the spot where Seal River Heritage Lodge sits today, Mike knew he’d stumbled upon something special.

After spending many years working for wife Jeanne’s family outfitting business in the Churchill area, Mike predicted that polar bear tourism was about to take off. He envisioned polar bears meandering past the lodge he would build, biding their time on land until the sea ice formed. The location was mere feet away from the Arctic Ocean where beluga whales congregate each summer, and a short plane ride away from Churchill, the Polar Bear Capital of the World.

Mike acted quickly, securing permits to the property he and Dennis had found, and the rest, as they say, is history. A history that goes back on Jeanne’s side of the family for nearly 100 years and now includes three wilderness ecolodges in the heart of polar bear territory.

Mike and Jeanne knew the road to success would include building on the tradition of family-owned and operated adventure tourism which had brought Jeanne’s parents so much success.

They opened the doors of Seal River Heritage Lodge in July of 1994, welcoming just one guest for the world’s first and only on-foot polar bear safari.

As word spread of the world’s only ground-level polar bear safaris, people started coming from around the world to experience Mike and Jeanne’s signature combination of immersive wildlife encounters, family-run service, ecofriendly operations, and tundra-inspired meals.

Churchill Wild now operates polar bear safaris from three distinct fly-in ecolodges on the Hudson Bay coast. Each season we’re privileged to host hundreds of polar-bear-loving guests, many of whom become lifelong friends, at Seal River Heritage Lodge, Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge, and Dymond Lake Ecolodge.

30 Years of Adventure on the

Hudson Bay Coast

For 30 years, Mike and Jeanne have poured their hearts into Churchill Wild. They’ve mentored and inspired hundreds of staff, welcomed thousands of fellow wildlife lovers, and raised the bar for wilderness lodging.

We’re ever-evolving, always improving, and forever grateful to all the guests who’ve visited us at our homes-away-from-home over the years.

Learn more about Churchill Wild’s history in our commemorative 25th anniversary book.