26 recommended wildlife locations. The species listed below are just a selection of those you may see.

Churchill

Northern Manitoba is a pristine wilderness with a coastline so remote that it has not changed in thousands of years. The ‘Polar Bear and Beluga Whale Capital of the World’ lies right in the migratory path of the polar bear, as they head north onto the ice floes to spend the winter hunting seals.

  • Where: Churchill province
  • Ideal for viewing: Arctic fox, Polar bear, Ptarmigan, Snowy owl, Gyr falcon
  • Excellent for: Vehicle safaris, Bear watching, Polar bear watching

Chatham Sound

This inlet between the Haida Gwaii (a.k.a. Queen Charlotte Islands) and Dall Island, extends from Porcher Island north for 65 kilometres to Portland Inlet. Between 12 and 24 kilometres wide, it runs from Dundas Island in the west to the Tsimpsean Peninsula. The Skeena River joins it just south of Prince Rupert.

  • Where: British Colombia
  • Ideal for viewing: Humpback whale, Minke whale, Orca, Dall’s porpoise, Grey whale
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, River safaris, Whale watching, Dolphin watching

Fishing Branch River Ni’iinlii Njik Territorial Park

This is the territory of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, who know the Fishing Branch river as Ni’iinlii Njik: “the place where salmon spawn”. For them this is a sacred place, and in 1999, working with the Yukon government, they established the 6,500 square kilometre territorial park to protect the river.

  • Where: Yukon
  • Ideal for viewing: Brown bear, Moose, Grey wolf, Wolverine, Bald eagle
  • Excellent for: Bear watching

Glendale Cove, Knight Inlet

This untouched wilderness offers unrivalled opportunities to watch and photograph some of North America’s most notable wildlife, including massive brown bears, soaring bald eagles and large pods of orcas. Situated 70 kilometres north of the remote settlement of Campbell River, Glendale Cove is accessible by floatplane.

  • Where: British Columbia
  • Ideal for viewing: American black bear, Brown bear, Humpback whale, Orca, Pine marten
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Just Conservation, Bear watching, Whale watching

Gwaii Haanas National Park

Arguably one of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in the world, Gwaii Haanas National Park is a remote reserve of 138 islands in the southern Haida Gwaii. The park – the place of wonder – is an untamed wilderness home to a superb array of marine life and land species, including the humpback whale.

  • Where: British Columbia
  • Ideal for viewing: Blue whale, Humpback whale, Minke whale, Orca, Sperm whale
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Whale watching, Dolphin watching, Birdwatching

Haida Gwaii

The peaks of the seven largest islands of this archipelago rise like a submerged mountain chain, with the tallest perpetually capped in snow. Fiords plunge into the sea, mist-enshrouded forests cover their flanks and windswept sandy beaches lie at their feet and the continental shelf plummets into the Pacific Ocean.

  • Where: British Columbia
  • Ideal for viewing: Blue whale, Humpback whale, Minke whale, Orca, Sperm whale
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Whale watching, Dolphin watching, Birdwatching

Hudson Bay

Canada has 25% of the world’s wetlands, so it is no surprise that The Hudson Bay Lowlands are a wetland. An area of transition between boreal forest and tundra, Hudson Bay is host to a large diversity of wildlife, the greatest occurring in the spring, with the arrival of migrating birds and newborn animals.

  • Where: Hudson Region
  • Ideal for viewing: American beaver, American black bear, Polar bear, Willow ptarmigan, Caribou
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Walking with wildlife, Vehicle safaris, Bear watching, Birdwatching, Polar bear watching

Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary

The sanctuary of Khutzeymateen comprises an area of upland and foreshore that surrounds the inlet of the same name on British Columbia’s north coast. This area, which was important to the First Nations peoples as a place for hunting and fishing, was the first habitat of the grizzly bear to be protected in Canada.

  • Where: British Columbia
  • Ideal for viewing: Brown bear, American black bear, American beaver, Moose, Grey wolf
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Bear watching, Whale watching

Mingan Islands

East of Quebec city and ten hours drive away, the Mingan Archipelago is a fantastic location for whale enthusiasts. Its estuary, the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, with its huge shoals of plankton and fish, attracts congregations of the elusive blue, minke, fin, and humpback whales, as well as the endangered beluga whale.

  • Where: Quebec
  • Ideal for viewing: Blue whale, Minke whale, Fin whale, Beluga whale, Humpback whale
  • Excellent for: Just Conservation, Whale watching, Dolphin watching

Moresby Island

One of the two largest Islands that form the Haida Gwaii, the San Christoval Mountains form its backbone and rise over 1200m. The higher elevations are dominated by mountain hemlock and alpine tundra, whereas the lower elevations are mainly cedar, pine and western hemlock, becoming densely wooded.

  • Where: British Columbia
  • Ideal for viewing: Blue whale, Humpback whale, Minke whale, Orca, Sperm whale
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Whale watching, Dolphin watching, Birdwatching

Newfoundland

Each year large numbers of whale, dolphins and porpoises migrate to the waters around the Newfoundland coast – about 15 species are normally present, seasonally or year round. St. Mary’s Bay is well-known for whale watching, and is easy to reach on a self-drive tour from the capital, St John’s.

  • Where: Newfoundland & Labrador province
  • Ideal for viewing: Fin whale, Humpback whale, Minke whale, Pilot whale, Sperm whale
  • Excellent for: Self-drive, Whale watching, Dolphin watching

Pacific Rim National Park

Facing the Pacific Ocean, backed by Vancouver Island’s mountainous spine, this park preserves the natural heritage of Canada's west coast, whose cool and wet maritime climate generates an abundance of life on land and in the water. These natural wonders are interwoven with the history of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations people.

  • Where: Vancouver Island
  • Ideal for viewing: Brown bear, Humpback whale, Orca, Bald eagle, Wolf
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Bear watching, Whale watching, Birdwatching

Parc National de la Gaspésie

The Parc National de la Gaspésie is home to the highest peaks of the Appalachian Mountains in Québec, the only caribou herd south of the Saint Lawrence, a large moose population, arctic-alpine flora and spectacular scenery on every side! Over 150 species of bird are found here.

  • Where: Quebec
  • Ideal for viewing: Great horned owl, Moose, Caribou, Grey fox, Striped skunk
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Walking with wildlife, Self-drive, Wildlife for families, Birdwatching

Parc National du Bic

The Parc National du Bic hosts seabirds nesting, owls and grey seals, rare plants blooming in its rocky surroundings. Half of the parc is a coastal marine environment, the terrain is typical of the south shore of the Saint Lawrence, alternating low-flow rivers, salt, rocky hills with a very steep northern slope and a relatively gentle southern.

  • Where: Quebec
  • Ideal for viewing: Grey seal, White-tailed deer, American beaver, Harbour seal, North American porcupine
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Self-drive, Wildlife for families, Whale watching

Princess Royal Island

Isolated for thousands of years, this amazing wilderness off the BC coast is one of the most pristine areas left on earth – at the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest. In summer its wildlife is prolific, and a full programme of whale watching excursions provides an ideal opportunity to learn about these marine mammals.

  • Where: British Columbia province
  • Ideal for viewing: Dall’s porpoise, Humpback whale, Orca, Pacific white-sided dolphin, Spirit bear
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Bear watching, Whale watching, Dolphin watching

Queen Charlotte Strait & Johnstone Waters

Situated between Vancouver Island and British Columbia’s mainland, this area is considered the best place in the world to observe orca who, during the summer months, are present on a daily basis. They can often be viewed close up from the boat, offering some wonderful sightings and photo opportunities.

  • Where: British Columbia
  • Ideal for viewing: Orca, Brown bear, Steller’s sealion, Tufted puffin, Humpback whale
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Just Conservation, Whale watching, Dolphin watching

Reserve des Laurentides

The pristine wilderness north of Québec along the Jacques-Cartier River consists of coniferous boreal forest, with yellow birch and sugar maple along the riverbank. Mammals include black bear, bobcat, raccoon, grey wolf, otter, moose, white-tailed deer and caribou, with birds such as barred owl, American kestrel, and osprey.

  • Where: Quebec
  • Ideal for viewing: American black bear, Grey wolf, Moose, Raven, Ruffed grouse
  • Excellent for: Bear watching

Réserve Faunique Matane

Recognized first and foremost for its exceptionally rich wildlife, this wildlife reserve offers nearly 1,300 square kilometres of breath-taking panoramas, combining mountains and deep valleys crisscrossed by numerous waterways. Over 150 species of birds can be seen in the reserve.

  • Where: Quebec
  • Ideal for viewing: Golden eagle, Moose, American black bear, Black-backed woodpecker, Caribou
  • Excellent for: Self-drive, Wildlife for families, Bear watching, Birdwatching

Riding Mountain National Park

Northwest of Winnipeg, this national park – one of the first in Canada – is a forested island in the middle of Manitoba’s fertile prairie, and protects plants and animals from three distinct ecosystems. Key species are moose, black bear and bison, but lynx, cougar, otter, bald eagle and osprey also live here.

  • Where: Manitoba
  • Ideal for viewing: American black bear, Moose, Ruby-throated hummingbird, Short-tailed weasel, Otter
  • Excellent for: Bear watching

Schmok Lake

Located in Manitoba’s barren land, 230 kilometres northwest of Churchill near the Nunavut border, Schmok Lake is the perfect location to witness the incredible phenomenon of the caribou migration. This pristine wilderness region benefits from an untouched and rich ecosystem which in turn affords rare wildlife-viewing opportunities.

  • Where: Manitoba
  • Ideal for viewing: Polar bear, Wolf, Beluga whale, Arctic fox, Caribou
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris, Flying safaris, Birdwatching, Wolf watching

Tadoussac

This village on the Saint Lawrence, beside its confluence with the Saguenay River, was once a major fur trapping centre. It lies inside Canada’s first marine national park, where the rich environment attracts numerous whales – including belugas – and is home to CIMM (the Centre of Marine Mammal Interpretation).

  • Where: Quebec
  • Ideal for viewing: Beluga whale, Blue whale, Fin whale, Humpback whale, Minke whale
  • Excellent for: Whale watching

The Great Bear Rainforest

The area’s mountains, valleys and forests, extending up much of BC’s coastline, offer sanctuary to large numbers of grizzlies and black bear. No other mainland location offers such intimate wildlife encounters amidst breathtaking natural splendour. You can watch bears on foot or while drifting serenely downriver.

  • Where: British Columbia
  • Ideal for viewing: American black bear, Brown bear, Humpback whale, Spirit bear, Grey wolf
  • Excellent for: Wildlife cruises, Bear watching, Whale watching

The Yukon River

The Yukon River is the third largest river in North America, but arguably the continent’s most spectacular waterway, with breathtaking landscapes and abundant wildlife along its entire length. Yukon means “great river” in the native Gwich’in language, and there is simply no better way to describe it.

  • Where: Yukon
  • Ideal for viewing: Brown bear, American black bear, Northern river otter, Golden eagle, Canadian lynx
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Tofino

This town of under 2,000 residents lies on the west coast of Vancouver Island, at the western terminus of Highway 4, at the southern edge of Clayoquot Sound on the tip of the Esowista Peninsula. There are several walking trails in and around Tofino, where you can discover its resident giants (of the tree variety).

  • Where: British Columbia
  • Ideal for viewing: Otter, Bald eagle, Orca, Humpback whale, American black bear
  • Excellent for: Bear watching, Whale watching, Dolphin watching

Vancouver Island

The healthy black bear population and whale-watching opportunities make this a great destination for wildlife enthusiasts. Separated from the mainland by a long strait, the island’s west coast overlooks the Pacific Ocean, while the mountainous interior is heavily forested with big conifers.

  • Where: British Columbia
  • Ideal for viewing: American black bear, Puma, Grey whale, Orca, Sea otter
  • Excellent for: Self-drive, Bear watching, Whale watching, Dolphin watching

Yukon Territory

The Yukon borders Alaska on its western edge and British Columbia to the south, and is one of three Canadian territories (rather than provinces). The entire region is dominated by pristine wilderness that which is home to many of North America’s iconic animals, such as black bear and brown bear, and the mighty Yukon River.

  • Where: Yukon
  • Ideal for viewing: Brown bear, American black bear, Grey wolf, Canadian lynx, Golden eagle
  • Excellent for: Self-drive, Bear watching, Birdwatching, Wolf watching

8 recommended locations for extending your wildlife trip.

Quebec City

This monument to North American history perches high above Cap Diamant overlooking the Saint Lawrence River. Having prospered as a fur trading post in the early 1600s, it is now a dynamic port, a thriving research and technology centre, and home to the Provincial Parliament.

Campbell River

Nestled on the east coast of central Vancouver Island, the small settlement of Campbell River is known as the "Salmon Capital of the World" and more recently as a hub for adventure and eco-tourism.The river which gives the settlement its name is designated as a BC Heritage River.

Carmacks

Carmacks, a tiny village with a population of only around 500 people, stands on the Yukon River at its confluence with the Nordenskjold River, roughly 180 kilometres north of Whitehorse on the North Klondike Highway. It is the site of one of only four bridges that cross the Yukon River.

Dawson City

Despite its tiny size (it has a population of around 1,500), this town attracts some 60,000 visitors each year. Local people generally refer to it simply as "Dawson", but its full name differentiates it from Dawson Creek, in British Columbia, which is the start of the Alaska Highway.

The Klondike

The Klondike Gold Rush was a landmark event in the history of the Yukon River and Territory. Gold was discovered in the Klondike region in 1896 and the Yukon River became the main route to transport around 100,000 would-be prospectors into the area.

Vancouver

British Columbia’s largest city stands in an exquisite coastal setting, against a backdrop of lofty tree-covered peaks. There is plenty to see in this lively, multi-cultural centre: lush Stanley Park, for instance, with the Capilano Suspension Bridge, is a great place to explore on foot or by bike.

Whitehorse

With a population of around 25,000, the capital and largest city of the Yukon Territory stands on the 2,232 kilometre-long Alaska Highway, 1,425 kilometres north of its start at Dawson Creek in British Columbia. It straddles the Yukon River, which runs north from BC to Alaska.

Winnipeg

Due to its location at the confluence of two major rivers that provide access to an extensive network of canoe routes, Winnipeg was a trading post for First Nations peoples long before the first Europeans arrived. More than half the population of Manitoba province lives in Winnipeg.

24 recommended trips. All our trip ideas are offered to inspire you, but our strength is in tailoring your itinerary.

Great Bear Rainforest Research & Conservation

A true bear fiesta, tracking the brown, black and elusive spirit bear, during the salmon spawn. Accompanied by conservationist Caroline Fox, learn about wildlife threats on this engaging journey.

  • Trip type: Just Conservation Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 11 days

Grizzlies of Khutzeymateen

Experience the grizzly bears of Khutzeymateen Inlet aboard our exclusive Wildlife Worldwide charter. Wildlife is prolific here and also includes humpbacks, orcas, sealions and dolphins. 

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 9 days

The Festival of Bears

Join world renowned zoologist Mark Carwardine on a very special visit to the Great Bear Rainforest, home to brown, black and spirit bears.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 8 days

Beluga Whales & Polar Bears

Explore the Seal River estuary along the Hudson Bay by boat, on foot and from the traditional tundra tracker to view polar bears and beluga whales which congregate over the summer months.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 8 days

Caribou Migration & Great Bear Adventure

Staying in one of the finest Arctic eco lodges close to black and polar bears, this incredible adventure also takes you to the remote Schmok Lake to witness the migration of the Canadian ‘central barren ground’ caribou.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 9 days

Yukon’s Ice Bears

Each autumn grizzly bears arrive en masse at Bear Cave Mountain, where thermal springs percolate through the limestone, warming the river so it flows all year round creating spectacular results.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 12 days

Blue Whale Research in Mingan Island Region

Experience the life of a marine biologist, helping researchers collect crucial information, studying the blue whales on a marine life enthusiasts dream adventure!

  • Trip type: Just Conservation Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 8 days

Canoeing the Yukon River

This active outdoor adventure retraces part of the route of the Klondike Gold Rush, camping on the banks of the river in a vast wilderness surrounded by wildlife and relics of the region's past.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 8 days

Canada’s Big Five

Take this unique safari which is a showcase for the wildlife that populates the rivers and forests of Manitoba in central Canada.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 8 days

Quebec’s Bears, Whales & Moose

Discover unspoilt wilderness and a variety of wildlife, including black bear, moose and beaver on this superb self-drive trip in one of the most beautiful regions of Canada.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 8 days

Northern Right Whales of New Brunswick

Enjoy a short self-drive break to New Brunswick, where you'll have the opportunity to see minke, fin, humpback and North Atlantic right whales.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 4 days

Humpback Whales in Newfoundland

Treat yourself to a long weekend in Newfoundland, enjoying the freedom of a self drive whale watching experience.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 4 days

Polar Bear Mothers & Cubs

A wonderful time to view the intimacy between mother and cub, and their playful approach to life.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 7 days

Whales & Mountains

Take the ultimate self-drive road trip through western Canada.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 13 days

Vancouver Island Self Drive

Travel at your own pace (self-driving) to ensure that you get the most of the wilderness interior, watching grey whales, orcas and black bears.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 14 days

Whales & Dolphins in the Haida Gwai

This remote archipelago offers unparalleled opportunities to explore an area of true wilderness by land and boat.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 10 days

Whale Study Week

Spend a week with humpback whales and get to know these curious ‘aquabatic’ giants of the ocean.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 8 days

Tundra Lodge Adventure

Embark on this extraordinary adventure into the realm of the polar bear.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 7 days

Orcas, Bears & Totems

Enjoy spotting orcas and watching grizzly bears on this breathtaking trip to British Columbia, in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 9 days

Great Bear Rainforest

Search for the legendary all-white spirit bear, and humpback whales deep in the Fiordland Conservancy.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 11 days

Newfoundland Adventure

Experience the world’s largest gathering of humpback whales and a range of marine wildlife amidst giant landscapes.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 8 days

Classic Polar Bears

Seeing polar bears in the wild is awe-inspiring, experience the intensity of an unforgettable wildlife encounter.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 6 days

The Bear Essentials

Focus on seeing British Columbia’s largest carnivore – the brown or grizzly bear – without distraction and in a choice of locations.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 7 days

Wilderness Quebec

This self-drive family adventure, staying in hotels, cabins and comfortable Huttopia tents with all facilities, is designed to reveal the best of outdoor Québec. There’s a chance to see all the region’s iconic mammals – whales, black bear, moose and caribou.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 14 days

When to go

Canada is huge with a varied climate and though its prime time is the summer, between May and early September, the best time to see polar bears is from October to November.

Seasons

  • Winter

    Nov to Jan: Canada’s winters can be very cold, with temperatures as low as -20 degrees celcius
  • Spring

    Feb to May: Spring begins in February on the west coast and around April for the rest of the country
  • Summer

    Jun to Aug: Canada’s summer months bring warm, pleasant weather to much of the country
  • Autumn

    Sep to Oct: A magical time to visit, with cooler temperatures and stunning foliage

Wildlife events

  • May: Grey whale off west coast of Vancouver Island
  • May: Brown (grizzly) bears emerge and gather to feed
  • May: The first whales appear off the Newfoundland coast
  • Jun: Capelin run off Newfoundland attracts whales & seabirds
  • Jul to Aug: The best time to see orcas off the British Columbia coast
  • Jul to Sep: Polar bears in their summer feeding grounds
  • Aug: Brown (grizzly) bear congregate north of Vancouver
  • Aug to Sep: Whales in the Bay of Fundy
  • Aug to Sep: Blue whales visit the Gulf of St Lawrence
  • Oct to Nov: Polar bears gather around Churchill waiting for pack ice

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