A northern Manitoba city plans to build a new economy based around the wolf, the same way Churchill has done with polar bears and beluga whales.

The plan for Thompson is being spearheaded by a group called Spirit Way, which is co-ordinated by Volker Beckmann, an entrepreneur from that city. 

"We can link Winnipeg to Thompson to Churchill in this very iconic species of different animals we have in our province — from bison to polar bears to beluga whales and now wolves," said Beckmann.

Beckmann says a wolf economy could be off and running within three years. It won't take long because it builds on what the region already has in great numbers.

"There is a worldwide infatuation and interest with wolves," he said.


A large wolf mural painted by Charles Johnston, and based on Robert Bateman's painting Wolf Sketch, is featured on the side of Highland Tower in the city. (Bobak Ha'Eri)

Beckman said the group is circulating a discussion paper to government and other stakeholders about the plan. It includes a wolf research centre and an international conference to be held in October.

A wolf economy could include research, conservation, education, festivals and events, he noted.

Thompson, which has a population of 12,829, is located 739 kilometres north of Winnipeg.