Frequently Asked Questions
What are the York Factory overnight accommodations?
The amenities are rustic and require an adventurous spirit, they include:
Polar bear proof fencing
Electricity run by generator
Picnic table outside
Potable water is supplied by Parks Canada staff for drinking
Radio supplied for safety
Polar Bear guard to escort you to the fenced camping/cabin compound.
All tents are to be set up within the fenced compound.
The rustic cabin has bunk beds (sleeps 8 in total) and it includes clean mattress covers, screened windows, and a small table and chairs.
**Tents, sleeping blankets and food for overnighting are not provided.
Are there Parks Canada fees?
The York Factory National Historic Site of Canada is run by Parks Canada and they set the onsite fees for the grounds tour and for all overnight stays. We received confirmation from Parks Canada that the 2023 season fees will be as follows:
Site tour by Parks Canada staff (approx. 2.5 hours) is $42.86 per person
Tenting is $12.75 per night per person (tenting supplies not provided)
A stay in the rustic cabin is $45.66 per night per person
*Please note that all Parks Canada fees are to be paid directly to onsite Parks staff once arriving at York Factory. These fees do not include the Nelson River Adventures Inc boat tour fees which can be found here.
How long is the day tour in total?
The day tour ranges from 9-12 hours, including ample time to tour York Factory National Historic Site and an exciting boat tour down the Nelson River, with brief stops for wildlife spotting and a boats-eye view of Historic Port Nelson.
Is food provided?
While you are enjoying the Parks Canada guided tour, Nelson River Adventures begins preparing a bbq burger lunch within the fenced compound for all guests.
We advise that guests on the day tour pack some snacks for the boat ride, and that overnight guests bring in their own food for dinner, snacks and the next morning breakfast.
*Drinking water is provided by the Parks Canada staff.
Do you offer custom tours?
Yes we do!
We have successfully accommodated various groups on custom tailored tours in regards to historic studies, environmental studies, access to cultural grounds, as well as large groups from various companies working in and around the area.
To inquire about the group tours, use the book today form on the website and select 'custom' under service type.
How do I get to Gillam Manitoba?
We are lucky enough to say that there is an all weather road (Provincial Road 280) leading right to Gillam and to the boat launch we use. If a gravel road drive is not in your itinerary, you can also book with Calm Air or Via Rail as they both offer routine stops in Gillam.
Be sure to contact us prior to booking your travel arrangements.
What are the roads like if i drive there?
Leading into Thompson Manitoba is the paved & well travelled Provincial Highway #6.
*Be sure to fuel up when you can as it is hours between service stations.
The road north from Thompson to Gillam is paved Provincial Road #391 for ~10km, and then a right turn onto Provincial Road #280 for the remaining ~290km to Gillam.
Provincial Road #280 is a gravel-all weather road and is routinely maintained.
There is often heavy trucks hauling supplies on this stretch of road.
Helpful Tip: Use the 'Manitoba Roads 511' app for the latest on road conditions*
There are several lakes, waterfalls and rapids to view along the route and wildlife such as black bears, moose, sandhill cranes, and lynx are often spotted while driving in Northern Manitoba.
Where do we board the boat?
The boat launch is located at Manitoba Hydro's Limestone Dam. View the location on Google Maps.
Where can I stay in Gillam?
It is best to plan to be in Gillam the night before the trip and stay the night after unless you are continuing on to Churchill, in which the train leaves Gillam at 11pm, which gives you time to get back in town for train departure.
The Aurora Gardens Motel & Suites is a nice place to stay while in Gillam.
If you would prefer to tent/camp please let us know when you book your tour and we can help you find a spot.
What safety precautions are taken throughout the day?
Not only do we travel through polar bear and timber wolf country, but the Hudson Bay weather can at times be unpredictable. Nelson River Adventure's Inc. takes your safety seriously:
Boat is routinely maintained.
Life jackets are provided.
Radio contact is maintained throughout the trip to update on our position.
A satellite radio is on board
All ground tours are accompanied by a polar bear guard.
How long is your tour season?
Our tour services are run in the summer months from June - September on specific days. Each individual tour is schedule around the high tide levels where the Hayes River and Nelson River meet the Hudson Bay.
How long is each individual tour?
Each day tour is between 10 -12 hours allowing ample time for you to explore the York Factory National Historic site.
Drop-off and pickup times for the overnight option fluctuate as well, however a rule of thumb would be to plan to be dropped off mid day and picked up in late afternoon, again pending tide levels.
What is York Factory? Why is it a National Historic Site?
Located on a narrow peninsula where the Hayes river and the Nelson river meet the Hudson Bay in northern Manitoba, accessible only by boat or aircraft, York Factory is one of the most remote Historic Sites in Canada.
Operating between ~1684 and 1957, the site was once dubbed the 'gateway to Rupert's Land' as it was a vital fur trade hub, trading post and distribution point for more than 273 years operated by the British owned Hudson Bay Company.
The site was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1963 and is commemorated for its critical role in the French-English struggle on Hudson Bay for the control of the fur trade. The site seen repeated conflict between England and France for colonial domination of North America in the late 17th and 18th centuries; for example, between 1684 and 1713 control of the site changed hands SIX times between the English and the French.
Throughout the history of the site the involvement of the local indigenous had been integral to the operation as providers of food, furs, workers and guides when the depot was in operation. The land and survival knowledge held was invaluable.
Today the site consists of two remaining buildings: the >100 year old depot which stands as the symbol of York Factory and the library (pictured). Ruins around the area include a powder magazine, and cemetery. Artifacts of this once booming site can still be found around the grounds and along the sandy shoreline.
What wildlife can be spotted in the area?
Taking a boat tour down the Nelson River into Hudson Bay comes with the amazing perks of potentially spotting wild polar bears, black bears, caribou, moose, eagles, belugas, seals, wolves and more.
As these animals are in their wild habitat and can retreat into the trees and willows, we can't guarantee seeing them, however we regularly do (and we're excited every time!).
What Payment Methods do you accept?
To pay the deposit we can email you an invoice that you can pay online, and you can pay the remaining amount prior to boarding either online or in person using your debit or credit card.
*We ask for a 50% deposit to secure your seat(s).
Please email any other questions you have