Melanie Siegel's large piece "Winter" was outstanding. It's made of ribbons and threads very condensed, but hanging loosely. When I looked up close, I saw many decorative ribbons I have collected in the past for various projects, and here they all are making up this shimmering piece of art.
Before we arrived in Toronto, we spent some time in Churchill, on the Hudson Bay, looking for polar bears. There's no road to Churchill, you can fly in or take the train, which is what we opted to do. It's a two night trip, which I was a little leery of, but we ended up in a large sleeper car and we loved it.
The scenery was spectacular, different than anything I've ever seen. This was the view out our train window.
The Tundra Buggies hold about 40 people, but there were only 20 of us, so we all had window seats, plus we had a "patio" on the back, for those that wanted to freeze while taking the perfect picture. Ted and I immediately made friends with the couple that brought the Bailey's on board to add to our morning hot chocolate.
We saw lots of mothers with two cubs. They stay with her until they are about two. These babies were about 10 months old.
I'm not sure how many bears we saw, some people said 24, but we went out two separate days and I'm sure some of them were repeats. The full grown male bears can weigh up to 1500 pounds, and they are fast.
We saw one female leap out of the tundra and race away from a male who was getting a little to close. This time of year the bears are in a "walking hibernation", waiting for the ice to form on Hudson Bay so they can hunt seals.
Churchill has around 800 residents year round, which swells quite a bit during polar bear season, and in the summer during Beluga whale season. This time of year the town is on high alert for bears coming into town, and they have a jail, were the bears are kept for 30 days before being helicoptered out if they wander in. Bears are rarely killed, they use flash bang ammo to scare them away.
The environment in Churchill is permafrost, and it is really beautiful. The green in the picture two above is lichen, which grows most everywhere here.
The landscape is stark
With howling winds,
and lots of shallow estuaries. The tour group we went with, and I assume other tours, did their best to educate us about the bears. We had researchers from various organizations talk to us while out on the tours, and they were collecting data to try and keep track of the population. One of our drivers was a former zoologist from the San Francisco zoo. I will leave you with this live polar bear cam, which can be really interesting or incredibly boring.