Residents of a northern Newfoundland town were astounded to see a polar bear in their midst this weekend, particularly when the Arctic animal retired for a nap.

The bear was the latest in a series of appearances in recent weeks in the area of St. Anthony, which is on the tip of Newfoundland's Northern Peninsula. Bear sightings are often common in the spring as ice breaks up and the bears catch a ride south.

'Because there was a lot of people on the road, and he just decided he was going to lay down and have a nap.' —Chester Slade

Chester Slade, who spotted the bear while talking with neighbours, said the encounter on Sunday was "pretty awesome," and helped fuelled his adrenaline.

"I don't know if scary is the right word, but [I have] just a lot of respect for the bear and how awesome he is, or was," Slade said.

"I think your heartbeat goes a little bit fast."

Slade said the bear sniffed around the tailgate of a truck, ran down a trail and came within about five or six metres of where onlookers were standing.

But the encounter was peaceful, and the bear seemed more interested in finding a way to the bay.

Unable to do so easily, though, because of traffic on a road he would have to cross, the bear changed his strategy for a more restful option.

"When he was coming up, like say, a third time, he decided he was just going to lay down because there was a lot of people on the road, and he just decided he was going to lay down and have a nap," said Slade, who photographed the bear's visit.

The bear napped for a period of time, oblivious to the interest it had generated.

According to the provincial Department of Natural Resources, the bear was successfully relocated to Belle Isle off the Northern Peninsula.

With files from Caroline Hillier