The public got its first in-person look at Hudson on Feb. 14 at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. A crowd of hundreds of people came out Thursday for the event.

Hudson, a 16-month-old polar bear, arrived in Winnipeg from Toronto in late January.

The public was able to see Hudson at the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre at the zoo.

"It does feel like we've been waiting a long time for a polar bear to be part of our lives again," said Margaret Redmond, president of Assiniboine Park Conservancy.

Winnipeg's zoo has been without a polar bear since the animal Debbie died in 2008.

Hudson will make his temporary home at the conservation centre, before he becomes the first inhabitant of the zoo’s Journey to Churchill exhibit, slated to open in 2014.

After Thursday's event, visitors can also view Hudson during regular zoo hours daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.