Great Polar Bear Season Sets the Stage for Aurora in Churchill

CHURCHILL, MB, Dec. 13, 2016 /CNW/ - VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) passengers who visited Churchill in October and November were particularly lucky this year, and brought home some lasting memories. The polar bear watching season was especially good, and the VIA Rail route to Churchill saw its highest ridership since 2007 for the months of October and November.

Natural beauty all year long
While fall is the time to watch polar bears migrate onto the newly formed ice in search of food, belugas are the big tourism draw in summer as thousands gather at the mouth of the Churchill River.

And in winter, it's showtime! The northern lights are resplendent and multi-hued. VIA Rail will officially launch the "aurora borealis season" on January 24, taking you to one of the best spots in the world to enjoy Mother Nature's greatest show up-close - Churchill. Every year, thousands of tourists from all corners of the earth take the train to watch the sky change from green to pink to violet. While it is possible to see the northern lights almost year-round, the optimal viewing conditions are from January to March.

"A train trip to Churchill, Manitoba is the ultimate Canadian adventure. The destination offers nature in its purest form. VIA Rail's train provides a unique and unparalleled way of discovering the Northern Manitoba region and all the communities along the route. From one season to the next, Canadians and tourists from all over the world can enjoy Churchill's rugged northern beauty, its resident polar bears and beluga whales and the scenic beauty of its aurora borealis," said Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail.

A culinary experience in the Prince of Wales' Fort
Picture yourself in a 300-year-old stone fort, watching the northern lights above you, while enjoying a world-class meal prepared by one of Canada's best chefs. In 2016, Frontiers North Adventures created RAW: Churchill, an unprecedented culinary and adventure travel experience at the Prince of Wales' Fort, northwest of Churchill. It's become so popular that there's already a waitlist to buy tickets once they go on sale, so reserve now! For more information, visit the website.

"Kudos to those who have set up tourism initiatives like RAW: Churchill, which is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy a meal fit for a king in the totally immersive ambiance of an unexplored landscape," added Michael Woelcke, General Manager, Regional Services of VIA Rail.

Blogger Lauren Carter went to Churchill this November to discover the northern city. Excited to see the northern lights and get close to the Churchill's unique wildlife, Lauren's trip, she was happy to report, didn't disappoint! While there, she discovered how different life in a northern town really is, from historic sites dating back over three centuries to seeing more polar bears than you can shake a stick at. She also spoke with locals about Inuit art, and got some tips from a photographer who specialises in capturing the essence of the city, even if it means braving the "frigid cold". Read more about her adventure on VIA: The Blog.

About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail (viarail.ca) and its 2,600 employees are mandated to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking over 400 communities across Canada, and about 180 more communities through intermodal partnerships, and safely transports nearly four million passengers annually. The Corporation was awarded seven Safety Awards by the Railway Association of Canada over the last eight years. For more information, visit: www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail.

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SOURCE VIA Rail Canada Inc.

For further information: Mylène Bélanger, Advisor, Public Relations, VIA Rail Canada, 514 871-6309 | 1 877 393-8787, mylene_belanger@viarail.ca

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