'Polar Bear Town'

This Canadian town hosts over 1,000 polar bears every year

‘Polar Bear Town’ documents the famous annual migration.

Michael d’Estries

Polar Bear Town

A character from the new Smithsonian Channel series. (Photo: ‘Polar Bear Town’)

If you happen to make the drive to Churchill, Manitoba, during the fall months, don’t forget to leave your car unlocked. The small town, located along the Hudson Bay, has made locking vehicles illegal for one very big reason: escaping polar bears.

Every year, starting in September and lasting through November, roughly 1,000 polar bears migrate through Churchill en route to the Hudson Bay. The bears, many of them 10 feet long and weighing more than 1,400 pounds, bide their time along the peninsula until the bay freezes and opportunities to hunt seals become plentiful. During that fall window, Churchill’s permanent population of 800 or so residents balloons with more than 10,000 tourists descending on the “Polar Bear Capital of the World” to witness the invasion. Read more.