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Canada boasts three unique bear species (four if you count the Kermode or ‘Spirit Bear’, a sub-species of the Black Bear). Scattered across the country, and through nearly every season you can spot these majestic creatures feeding, sparring, or simply dozing. Come out of hibernation and learn all about Canada’s bears, when to spot them and where they can be found!

Grizzly Bear

Originating from Eurasia, these chocolate-colored bears came to Canada some 100,000 years ago. Today Grizzlies occupy 89% of their original territory and can often be found strolling riverbanks for their salmon supper.

When: May to October
Best Spotted In: British Columbia & Alberta

Polar Bear

The largest land mammal, the polar bear is also a skilled predator. Boasting a keen sense of smell and hunting instincts, the polar bear can detect a seal’s breathing hole in the ice from up to a kilometer away.

When: July to Sept & Oct to Nov
Best Spotted In: Hudson Bay and northern Canadian Arctic

Black Bear

The most common species, the black bear can be found in all Canadian provinces with the exception of PEI.  British Columbia is considered ‘bear country’, with one the highest black bear populations in the world.

When: May to October
Best Spotted In: British Columbia & Alberta


Kermode ‘Spirit Bear’

The official provincial animal of British Columbia, the spirit bear holds a special place in many legends of local aboriginal peoples. Contrary to popular belief, the spirit bear is not albino, instead it’s a sub-species of the black bear with a recessive gene.

When: June to October
Best Spotted In: Central and North Coast British Columbia


If you’re interested in spotting some (or all!) of Canada’s bear species, visit Canadian Wildlife Encounters on our website for details.