Canada is renowned for its stunning natural beauty. Little surprise then that its varying landscape has provided the backdrop for plenty of TV shows and documentaries in the past.
Anyone who has been on holiday to Canada recently will have seen the country’s beauty firsthand. But if you have yet to experience its wilderness and wildlife, try and catch a programme about it to give you a flavour.
This autumn there are a whole host of fascinating documentaries and TV shows about Canada. With stunning cinematography and intimate footage of animals, there’s no better way to get an insight into Canada’s wild places. Here we take you through the best ones to enjoy, as well as some classic programmes that you can watch on catch-up.
Arctic Live – BBC One
Renting a motorhome in Canada and heading to Churchill on Hudson Bay in Manitoba has become a hugely popular holiday. In the magical reaches of arctic Canada you can see the phenomenal northern lights as well as polar bears in the wild.
This amazing documentary gives viewers an insight into this stunning part of the world. Dedicated cameramen capture the movements of polar bears as they descend upon the shores of Hudson Bay each autumn.
In what the BBC describes as its most ambitious live broadcast, Arctic Live looks to follow the story of the bears and the entire Arctic.
Presenters Gordon Buchanan, Kate Humble and Simon Reeve explore unspoilt areas of Alaska, looking at how oil, gas and minerals are tantalisingly within reach as temperatures rise and ice melts. The documentary even looks at how people in Churchill stay safe whilst living side-by-side with the world’s largest land carnivore.
The BBC documentary also heads out onto the tundra to share a live feed of polar bears hunting for seals and other prey.
How to watch it: The first episode aired on Monday 8 November. If you missed this and the rest of three-part documentary then catch up on BBC iPlayer here.
Recommended tour: If you want to experience polar bears like the Arctic Live team then the Churchill and Polar Bear Experience trip is perfect for you.
Operation Gold Rush – BBC Two
If you love the Canadian wilderness then you really need to watch Operation Gold Rush with Dan Snow. In the show, he leads a team of adventurers on an unforgettable journey across the wilderness of Canada.
The historian follows in the footsteps of prospectors from the last great gold rush in the 19th century. Their 500-mile, month-long expedition ended with the goal of striking gold in the frozen wilderness of Canada.
This really is one of the best TV shows for people interested in exploring, nature and history. Dan Snow travels from the coast of Alaska to the goldfields of the Klondike in the Yukon, on the edge of the Canadian arctic. Thousands of men and women undertook this gruelling journey when seeking their fortunes in the Gold Rush.
The documentary follows the fates of these early adventurers – only one in three of whom made it to Klondike. Dan Snow and his team set out to relive the journey.
How to watch it: The first episode aired on 30 October and you can watch it here on BBC iPlayer. The next episode will be on BBC Two on Sunday 6 November at 9pm.
Recommended tour: Follow in the footsteps of the Yukon Pioneers on a breath-taking fly drive holiday. Adventure from Whitehorse to Dawson City and pan for gold yourself.
Jumbo Wild – Netflix
Jumbo Wild depicts the decade-long battle over the future of British Columbia’s beautiful Jumbo Valley.
First Nations, conservationists, skiers, snowboarders and local residents have all fought a proposal to develop the Purcell Mountains in British Columbia.
The documentary gives viewers an insight into the tensions between the protection of wilderness and the increasing desire to develop wild places.
Directed by Nick Waggoner, Jumbo Wild doesn’t just highlight this incredible tug of war, it displays amazing backcountry ski and snowboard footage.
How to watch it: The documentary is currently available on Netflix.
Recommended tour: A holiday in British Columbia will give you the opportunity to see Jumbo Valley. If you have hired a motorhome, then you can travel around the province and stop-off nearby Jumbo Valley and other popular destinations.
Alone in the Wild – Channel 4
Although this documentary was first shown back in 2009, it is certainly a great way to see the famous wilderness of Canada.
The programme follows the journey of Ed Wardle as he is dropped off in the unforgiving Yukon wilderness. With just basic provisions and cameras to film him, he tries to survive completely alone in the wild.
The three-part documentary shows one man’s battle against hunger and a lack of human contact. Viewers can see the ups and downs of his journey as he tries to catch salmon swimming upstream and sleep in the desolate Yukon wilds.
How to watch it: This incredible story is currently available on Channel 4’s on demand service.
Recommended tour: The Northern Lights of the Yukon will introduce you to Yukon’s wilderness and also gives you the chance to see the remarkable northern lights.
Moksgm’ol: The Quest for the Spirit Bear – YouTube
This fascinating documentary by National Geographic looks at the story of the rare, blonde Spirit Bear. The Tsimshian people believe the Kermode bear was sent by the Creator to remind us that the world was once covered in ice and snow.
For centuries known only to the Tsimshian people, the secret of Moksgm’ol slowly became known as the world took note of this beautiful animal.
While delving into the story of the spirit bear, the documentary shows fantastic footage of British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest and its different wildlife. From some of the largest trees in Canada to Kermode bears and the rainforest’s other amazing animals, the TV show really gives viewers an in-depth and fact-filled look at this little-known part of Canada.
How to watch it: You can watch the documentary on YouTube here.
Recommended tour: A great way to see the special spirit bears of the Great Bear Rainforest is to go bear watching at Spirit Bear Lodge.