Where's his Coca-Cola? The story behind a polar bear who crashed in a Nunavik cabin

The mayor of Inukjuak, Que., was out hunting when he spotted this big guy, who took refuge in an unfinished cabin.

'It wasn't the first time the bear went to the cabin. I think he knew where to go,' says Pauloosie Kasudluak

Pauloosie Kasudluak, the mayor of Inukjuak, Que., spotted this polar bear while coming back from a hunting trip near his community. (Submitted by Pauloosie Kasudluak)

When CBC North shared this picture of a polar bear peeking out of a cabin window in Northern Quebec, the social media community loved it.

It struck a chord with some people who used the opportunity to write some hilarious — and some more serious — captions.

Some people interpreted his wide-eyed expression:

While others channeled their inner Goldilocks:  

There were some references to politics, pop-culture, and hilarious quotes-gone-viral:

But on a more serious note:

So how did he end up in that wooden cabin in Quebec? We decided to find out the real story behind the polar bear that inspired creativity from our audience.

What's the story?

The mayor of Inukjuak, Que., Pauloosie Kasudluak, was on a hunting trip when he spotted the polar bear just outside his community.

"We were heading home and as we were five minutes away, I saw a polar bear running away," recalled Kasudluak.

He began chasing it on his snowmobile while filming.

Pauloosie Kasudluak, the mayor of Inukjuak, Quebec, was out snowmobiling when he noticed this polar bear 5 minutes away from the community. He chased the bear on his skidoo before it took refuge in a nearby cabin. 2:00

"That was the first time I saw one close to the community. It was kind of rare," he said. The last time Kasudluak said he heard of a polar bear around the community was nearly thirty years ago,

A few minutes into the chase, the polar bear took refuge in an unfinished cabin. 

He said he had a guest in his cabin.- Pauloosie Kasudkluak

"I think it wasn't the first time the bear went to the cabin. I think he knew where to go," said Kasudluak. He said when community members later peeked into the cabin, they found a spot where the bear had been sleeping.

When Kasudluak told the story to the owner of the cabin, who lives in Inukjuak, the owner cracked a joke.

"He said he had a guest in his cabin," said Kasudluak, chuckling. "It was kinda funny."
A woman from Inukjuak, Que. peeks into the window where the polar bear had been taking refuge. (Submitted by Linda Kasudluak)

Joanassie Ningiuk said he started building the cabin last summer, but was unable to finish it.

"They told me the polar bear broke the door," said Ningiuk, who will continue building it this summer.

When asked if he was OK with his furry tenant, he answered: "Yeah, of course."

'Bad ending' for the bear

Kasudluak said he went home, and then visited the cabin again with his whole family to see if the bear was still there.

The "very fat" polar bear was still poking his head out of the cabin, he said.

The polar bear on top of another cabin near the small northern Quebec community of Inukjuak. Kasudluak, the mayor of Inukjuak, says the bear posed a risk to the unsuspecting passerby. (Submitted by Pauloosie Kasudluak)

Unfortunately, it was "a bad ending" for the polar bear who was just a fifteen minute walk away from the community, said Kasudluak, who shot the bear.

"At first I didn't want to kill the bear, I was just taking a video of it," he said. "After a while, when it was in the cabin, I thought that this bear may be dangerous for the people who don't know where he is."

Typically, polar bears and humans don't share common living areas, but recently, there have been more news of polar bears near Northern communities. Polar bears are known to be powerful, aggressive carnivores and are considered extremely dangerous to humans. They can attack, especially if they're hungry.

Kasudluak says many people in and out of the community travel around that area, on foot and on skis. He was concerned they would be in for a surprise to find a polar bear living there.

"I thought this may be a risk for them," he said.

The kill was not all bad news. 

"We distributed the food to elders and people who likes polar bears so it was a bad ending for the polar bear, but good for the people who love to eat polar bear meat."

About the Author

Priscilla Hwang


Priscilla Hwang is a reporter with CBC News based in Yellowknife. She's worked with the investigative unit, CBC Toronto, Ottawa, Whitehorse and Iqaluit. Before joining the CBC in 2016, she travelled across the Middle East and North Africa to share people's stories. She has a Master of Journalism from Carleton University and speaks Korean, Tunisian Arabic, and dabbles at classical Arabic and French. Want to contact her? Email or @prisksh on Twitter.