Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Finest Canadian Halloween Story Ever Told

As told by DQ VB.NET Advisor Garret Rempel. This will hereafter by known as "the Gillam story."

Gillam is located on the Nelson River in northern Manitoba, not far upstream from Hudson's Bay (about 150km). It's primarily a Hydro town and serves as a home for the workers for three generating stations nearby and about 1,300 residents.

I can only tell you what I know secondhand based on stories I've heard from my parents and pictures I've seen as I was too young to remember at the time that I lived there. But Halloween was an event where a group of adults would be on watch near the edges of town with shotguns, and the rule was that no child was allowed to dress up in a costume of a prey animal.

The reason is that the October/November timeframe is the Polar Bear migration season, when the Bay starts to freeze over they gather along the coast and migrate out onto the ice pack. Although Gillam is quite south of Churchill, the bears would still sometimes wander through especially at that time of year.

So the town had to take precautions to discourage wandering bears from eating the kids. Not that I recall ever hearing a story about a stray child being eaten - but Polar Bears are different than Black Bears or even most Brown Bears in that they are larger. To most bears, humans can be seen as a threat - a potential danger. To a Polar Bear, humans are less a threat, and more a "snack".

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