Many begin their adventure north with the hopes of a glimpse of a polar bear and I was no different. However my passion for this community stems much further than these iconic beasts. My love for the railway and the communities bound to its rusted steel was what initially brought me here. After this critical lifeline was re-established in Churchill late last year after nearly 18 months without rail access, I made the decision to venture north to what some call the new frontier.
There is something about the north; a rugged exterior that at the same time renders peace in its natural unspoiled beauty. The locals retain what sociologist Max Weber would call Gemeinschaft or close personal ties that bind a community together. In a disposable world of instant satisfaction, the north is a welcome reprieve for those looking for a slower, more intimate relationship with people and nature. However our busy world also has a short attention span and in many ways, Churchill was forgotten for those 18 months that train services were disrupted. Through community connection and resiliency, the town banded together for survival. This is no more evident than through the many murals throughout the community and hinterland.
Churchill and area is a living time capsule. The cold weather and permafrost have incubated the vast history of this important land. From the Inuit and Dene populations who learned to thrive off this land for centuries to Samuel Hearne and the Hudson’s Bay Company, Churchill has continued to leave its mark on Canada’s identity. I encourage anyone who visits to take the time to embrace the history that defines Churchill. Witness the many ways in which it has strategically been a key player in governmental decisions for centuries. Take time to visit the historic landmarks such as Cape Merry, Prince of Wales Fort, Miss Piggy, the SS Ithaka and the long since shuttered rocket research station. Churchill was and will remain a new frontier.