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On a list unto themselves for being the most adorable yet most intimidating animal on the planet, polar bears are one of Canada’s favourite animals.  The chance to swim beside one of the big white beasts may not have been on your list of must-dos, but thanks to this Ontario facility it really should be.

The Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat in Northern Ontario is the largest human care facilities of its kind in the world.  They are dedicated to polar bear conservation, research, and fosterage.  While the best place for a polar bear is in the wild, the habitat supplies a refuge for orphaned bears that would normally struggle to survive.

The polar bears live on seven hectares of natural sub-arctic environment complete with the world’s largest enclosed lake.  For seven months out of the year, the lake provides its own ice platform.

The best feature of all is an attached swimming area beside the polar bear’s enclosed lake that guests are allowed to swim in.  Separated from the bears by a wall of shatterproof glass, guests can feel safe while having the chance to interact with the furry beasts.


The Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat has lots to explore including a Learning centre, Heritage Village, and a Snowmobile Museum.  The facility is open all-year round and at various times throughout the week.  For more information, and for ticket pricing, you can visit the official website, here.