British Columbia is home to more than half the world's bear population! You'd be hard pushed to find a better place to see them. Nothing beats spotting a bear along the Icefields Parkway in Jasper or joining a tour from Vancouver Island to see the coastal black bears forage on the shoreline.
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Watch these inspiring videos to see how close you could come to Canada's iconic wildlife
Bear watching is one of Canada's most popular activities, and with good reason. The country's bear watching is second to none. British Columbia is king when it comes to grizzlies with salmon-filled rivers and the temperate depths of the Great Bear Rainforest. You can find half of all Canada's grizzly bears in this province alone. Resorts like Knight Inlet Lodge and Nimmo enjoy enviable locations and experienced guides to help your chances. Bear watching on Vancouver Island is one of the most rewarding activities as you can reliably see black bears foraging along the coastline. British Columbia is also home to the elusive and ethereal Kermode bear or spirit bear. This startling cream-coated sub species of the black bear is found nowhere else in the world.
Canada has one of the longest bear-watching seasons in the world, so you'll have endless opportunities to view them. The bear season in Canada lasts from April or May to October when black and brown bears are out of hibernation. Churchill in Manitoba is the best location to search for polar bears during October and November. You can get right up to these beautiful giants on a Tundra buggy tour. Whether you’ve dreamed of grizzlies feasting on sockeye salmon or the world's largest land mammal roaming the wild Arctic, you’ve got a good chance of your dreams coming true in Canada: there are over 63 million acres of park and wildlife areas to explore.
Discover Canada’s bear species and the best places to spot them
The Vancouver Island black bear is its own subspecies thanks to the unique way it lives on the island. These bears have an unusual diet as they forage for food along the coastline, eating crabs and molluscs. They are smaller than their mainland cousins but are easy to spot on a zodiac tour from hotspots like Tofino.
In the rest of Canada, you’ll find black bears in mountainous regions like Whistler and Jasper. They are often seen by roadsides.
The Kermode – or spirit – bear is only found on the central coast of BC. Spirit Bear Lodge near Bella Bella is the place to go.
The best place to see polar bears is the shores of Hudson Bay in Churchill, Manitoba. A tundra buggy from Lazy Bear Lodge gets you up close. Learn more >
Alaska is home to the largest grizzlies, like the massive Kodiak subspecies. Head over to Alaska’s wilds on a cruise and land tour.
Your best chance of seeing grizzlies in Canada is in the Great Bear Rainforest, on British Columbia’s central coast. There are plenty of incredible resorts here which offer guided tours and accommodation in rustic lodges and safari tents. Look out for Knight Inlet Lodge, Great Bear Lodge and Nimmo Bay Wilderness Lodge.