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The Art of the North

Every artist dips their brush into their own soul, and paints their own nature into their pictures. ~ Henry Ward Beecher

The year of 2017 has brought the world many gifts, especially in the form of art. Thompson Spirit Way has dedicated its life to raising awareness for our wolf population and creating a wolf economy in Thompson. We are even having a Wolf & Carnivore Conference this October! However, we are also strong advocates for all things art, particularly stunning wildlife art.

Artist. Charlie Johnston. Photo. Alex de-Vries Magnifico

The Pangeaseed Sea Walls project that took place in Churchill, Manitoba this summer blew us away. Exquisite art murals paint the Polar Bear Capital of the World to raise awareness for the persistent ocean environmental issues. Kal Barteski, Winnipeg artist and founder of the Polar Bear Foundation, stated, “We want to generate consciousness through the power of art (Bizarre Beyond Belief, 2017).”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. This project adheres to the quote: “creativity takes courage” by Henzi Matisse. It takes courage to bare your soul, your talent, and it also takes courage to use that voice to speak out on important issues.

In Wolverhampton, UK they debuted an incredible Wolves in Wolves project; consisting of 30 unique wolf statues painted from the souls of 29 artists. How could we not celebrate this with our sister city! Our own local artist, Jasyn Lucas, painted 2 of the wolf statues in Wolverhampton.

Sacred Grandfathers. Wolf Sculpture. Jasyn Lucas. Wolverhampton.

Jasyn’s painting of Sacred Grandfathers, for the Wolves in Wolves project was inspired by teachings which go back thousands of years. The animals painted on the sculpture signify: truth, courage, love, humility, wisdom, respect, and honesty.

Those traits are important to living out in the wilderness, having love and respect for the amazing animals and nature around us. We wanted to give you a chance to see it for yourself so we created the Manitoba Wild Contest for 2018. Open to European residents only, you will travel from London, UK to Manitoba, Canada. Entries end on September 30, 2017.

Follow the Spirit Way trail in Thompson and see our 16 scenic points of interest, including a ten-story wolf mural! Continue on to tour Churchill with Frontier’s North and catch a glimpse of the Sea Walls exhibit around town. Finally, walk (yes, walk) with polar bears with Churchill Wild at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. A journey to northern Canada to see everything from wolves, polar bears, dancing northern lights, to exquisite paintings with stories to tell.

Wolf Mural. Thompson, Manitoba.

Over 30 wolf statues guard the Spirit Way path and as you make your way along you’re sure to find the wolf spirit in you. This walkway is a Manitoba Star Attraction with its 2.5 km walking trail holding hidden treasures of historical, cultural, and artistic perspectives. It plays a key part in telling our story here in Thompson. 

Works Cited

Bizarre Beyond Belief. (2017, July 7). PangeaSeed – Sea Walls. Retrieved from Bizarre Beyond Belief: https://bizarrebeyondbelief.com/2017/07/07/pangeaseed-seawalls-churchill-manitoba/

Becoming a Certified Polar Bear Whisperer

Photographer Ian Johnson. Seal River Heritage Lodge

You’ve heard about the Wolf and Carnivore Conference we are hosting on October 18, but did you also know about our special feature taking place on October 20? The Polar Bear Workshop, presented by Russian researcher Nikita Ovsyanikov, is an all-day practical and theoretical seminar to best demonstrate managing polar bear encounters. A great opportunity for people working or travelling in areas with polar bear populations; this is the first time its been offered in Canada.

Not every confrontation with a polar bear comes with a mediator or a jury to decide the outcome. Polar bears are lethal predators; however, they are animals with behavioural patterns that can be understood and managed. When you encounter a polar bear it’s not solely about your own safety, but also the safety of the bear. Ovsyanikov will establish rules on preventing negative encounters between humans and bears. Additionally, he will provide steps on handling conflict with a bear in a non-lethal manner should you be surprised or confronted.

The workshop is not designed to allow for closer, unsafe interactions with polar bears, but rather establish safe ways to observe and coexist when living in such a big predator’s habitat. Ovsyanikov’s system is based on his analysis from over 2,000 personal encounters with polar bears. His hands-on, or rather hands-off, research allowed him to understand what drives a polar bear in its natural environment. What provokes a bear to attack? How do you deter a bear with the intent to kill you without harming the animal in the process? These are some of the questions Ovsyanikov will be addressing and providing solutions for during the workshop.

Photographer Brandi Hayberg. Frontiers North Adventures

There will be two parts of the workshop: individual safety and safe infrastructure. Individual safety includes: theory on understanding factors that cause conflict and basics of polar bear behavior and practical training on how to perform safety rules. The second part, safe infrastructure, includes theory and specific planning considering geography, ecology, polar bear density and activity in the area.

At the end of the seminar, people will receive a Certificate of Attendance. The maximum number of attendees is 16 people. The seminar will be held the day after the Wolf and Carnivore Conference on October 20; registration ends October 1.

Lodging in Thompson

Our upcoming Wolf and Carnivore Conference on October 18-19 is helping pilot our wolf economy in Thompson, Manitoba. The community of Thompson has been such a great help in making this possible right down to the people providing accommodations. Below is a list of all the hotels that offer a special conference rate for your stay in Thompson and will help you choose the right place for you. 

Best Western Queen Suite

Best Western: the rooms have an elegant atmosphere where you have access to a kitchen, large vanities in the bathrooms, and a spacious living room separate from the bedroom. In the hotel you have access to an exercise room, sauna, and complimentary breakfast.

Offers a conference rate and you can call directly to book with them.

http://www.bestwesternthompson.com

Burntwood Hotel: quaint, northern style rooms and if you’re looking for a little extra relaxing you can spring for a suite with a Jacuzzi. This hotel comes with an indoor pool, complete with a water slide if you’re looking to bring your family along for the conference and is conveniently located to city shops and entertainment.

Conference code: WWC and rates are 99$ single room 109$ double room rate.

http://www.burntwoodhotel.com/

Days Inn & Suites: choose from rooms with Jacuzzis, king sized beds, or a room with two queens. This hotel comes with free hot breakfast and an exercise room. 

Conference rate: 138.60$ CDN + tax. Must call Days Inn directly to book.

 http://www.daysinn.ca

Days Inn King Suite

Meridian Hotel: fully equipped rooms, complete with fridge and in-room coffee. Hotel restaurant, Lone Wolf Cafe, specializes in northern style cooking. There is also the Wolf’s Den Gift Shop that sells local art such as: handmade mukluks, jewelry, paintings and mittens. Gift shop and confectionery is open 24/7.

Book by phone and use discount code: WOLF2017   

http://www.meridianhotelthompson.ca/

Fruili Suite Rentals: spacious apartment living, your choice between one or two-bedroom, each suite is furnished with a full sized kitchen and amenities.

Conference rate: 89$/night for 2 people.

https://friulirentals.com/

Lake View Inn & Suites: spacious rooms with options such as: 2 double beds, single king room, two-room suites, and accessible rooms featuring 2 double beds. You stay includes free continental breakfast, free movies, and access to the fitness centre. 

Conference code: LWOLF and rates are 130$ king room, $135 double bedroom, $145 two-room suite.

https://www.lakeviewhotels.com/

Lakeview Inn Suites

Mystery Lake Hotel: rooming options include executive suites, king bedded rooms, standard double rooms and standard queens. There is a sauna, exercise room and free admission to the Norplex pool included in your stay. Adventures North Dining Room and Trappers Tavern are accessible in the hotel. At Trappers Tavern you can enjoy live entertainment, dancing and VLTs.

http://www.mysterylakehotel.ca

Quality Inn & Suites: you have your choice of different styled rooms, each comes with comfy pillow top mattresses and a kitchenette. The hotel provides access to free movie rental, hot buffet breakfast, 24 hour fitness centre and a 24 hour business centre. This is also a pet friendly hotel, extra fees included. 

Discount code: LWOLF and rates are 130$ queen room, 135$ king room, 135$ room with 2 double beds. 

http://www.qualityinnthompson.com

Quality Inn King Suite

All rates listed are Canadian dollar and some conference rates are only redeemable by phone.