Churchill Wild is proud to announce that we’ve been included in The Stories of Canada™!
Created by Entrée Destinations in partnership with Destination Canada, along with local and territorial tourism boards, The Stories of Canada™ is an epic collection of 20 new travel itineraries covering so much of the Canadian landscape. The wildly new itineraries dig deep on Canada’s landmarks, cultures and people, and aim to facilitate authentic, memorable connections between visitors and the communities they travel to.
“When the pandemic hit, I took the time to address what I felt my company needed,” said Entrée Destinations owner Marc Telio. “One of the big things that we lacked at the time was new and fresh destinations to offer guests across the country, beyond the traditional places that Canada is known for. It was a new opportunity to really explore the whole country and work with provincial and territorial tourism boards.
“We really had a beautiful time creating these itineraries, which include both Indigenous and non-indigenous partnerships and storytelling. It was originally my idea, but from there we cultivated, curated and developed it with Destination Canada. We both wanted to offer travellers new, bold and enticing experiences that told the stories of Canada, and it wouldn’t have happened without such a successful collaboration together.”
Over the past 15-20 years, Telio has enjoyed partnerships and friendships with several Indigenous guides, hosts and operators, as well as the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, and he’s been privileged to be invited into Indigenous communities and tourism development initiatives across Northern and Western Canada.
Across Canada, there are thousands of Indigenous tourism companies, guides and hosts that want to share their stories and culture with visitors. Naturally, these opportunities became an essential ingredient in the Stories of Canada™ collection.
From standing in the rainforest of Desolation Sound, watching a bear snatch salmon from the shore, and cleansing the soul in an Indigenous smudging ceremony in BC; to hiking in dense boreal forest, fishing on mirrored lakes, or seeing bison roam in a gathering space used by Northern Plains peoples for six thousand years in Saskatchewan; to an eight-night itinerary backdropped by the Northern Atlantic, exploring an idyllic collection of romantic and charming inns, colourful saltbox homes, and inspiring locals who share fascinating tales of Newfoundland and Labrador, there’s something for everyone in this superb collection of experiences across Canada.
Telio has partnered with an epic collection of wilderness lodges, resort operators and storytellers across Canada to create the Stories of Canada™, and through the creation of these programs has developed a must-watch set of videos featuring the collection.
He chose beloved Canadian actor and friend Michael J. Fox to start the narration process and the remainder of the videos were narrated by someone Telio had connected to during the development of each itinerary, including Canada’s poet laureate and many of the lodge and resort founders.
He chose beloved Canadian actor and friend Michael J. Fox to start the narration process and the remainder of the videos were narrated by someone Telio had grown particularly close to over his 29 years of developing Entrée Destinations, including Canada’s poet laureate and many of the lodge and resort founders.
“Michael was part of the original vision,” said Telio. “He’s a great representative ambassador for Entrée Destinations, a friend, and a Canadian who means a lot to a lot of people. He was on board from day one.”
Many of the itineraries in The Stories of Canada™ collection are crossover destinations. If you love one, you’ll love the next, and that includes walking with polar bears on Canada’s Hudson Bay coast with Churchill Wild.
The decision to include Churchill Wild in the collection was an easy one for Telio.
“I’d already been lucky enough to experience the Reimer’s hospitality and Churchill Wild’s product at Seal River Heritage Lodge and loved every second of it,” said Telio, who felt the same about his trip to Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge to film Churchill Wild’s video for The Stories of Canada™.
“We loved it Nanuk,” said Telio. “It exceeded my expectations. We had an excellent indigenous guide, Albert Saunders, who came out with us. Having Albert there, spending time with him and being on the land with him, was particularly special.”
Telio arrived at Nanuk on November 7, and saw polar bears, wolves and moose, all of which were captured beautifully in the video, which was narrated by Churchill Wild co-founder and owner Mike Reimer.
“Within minutes of arriving, we were told by the guides that they’d been tracking a pack of wolves for two weeks prior to our arrival,” said Telio. “They talked about establishing a relationship with the wolves, meaning trust and barriers. So we went out to photograph them, and within the hour we were standing outside of the compound fence with wolves walking around us, walking by us, literally feet away, in the wild.
“It was a ‘Wow’ moment. We had the guides with us, and I wasn’t scared for a second. Nobody was. There was a sense of calm. The guides were well equipped, but the wolves weren’t threatening at all. It was beautiful. That was really unique for me. I’ve never been that close to wolves, and every wolf I’d seen before that had been skittish. This was a healthy, robust population of wolves that were walking around us, among us. It was incredible and I took a picture of the wolf next to the crowd.”
The first snow of the season at Nanuk began to fall at the same time as Telio and his crew arrived, and they had a front row seat to the change of seasons in the sub-Arctic. The fall colours had faded and the early grays of winter had descended on the landscape.
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“That was cool, “said Telio. “When it started to snow, we saw the whole shift of the landscape in one week. Bleak grayness and then major snow, but we had some nice weather too, and we made the most out of the sunsets, with a polar bear that just posed perfectly for us.”
Entrée Destinations is a trusted innovator in the luxury wilderness travel space, partnering with both Canada’s and Alaska’s top wilderness lodges and resorts, and The Stories of Canada™ collection is attracting attention from major media outlets and travellers from around the world.
The leader in bespoke journeys to Canada’s top wilderness lodges, Indigenous cultural experiences and wildlife viewing adventures from coast-to-coast, Entrée Destinations is telling the stories that need to be told.
Churchill Wild is proud and humbled to be one of them.