Churchill Falls

Churchill Falls in Labrador is one of the last company towns in Atlantic Canada. Its population of nearly 600 work for the Churchill Dam, a 5.428 gigawatt hydroelectric generating station, the third-largest hydroelectric station (by power output) in North America.

Understand

Little or no water goes over the falls; the generating station diverts everything

Installed nearly a thousand feet underground, the eleven-turbine power station cost nearly a billion dollars and took thousands of workers five years to construct. The first power flowed from Churchill Falls on December 6, 1971.

Churchill Falls is infamous among Newfoundlanders for a notorious 1968 deal in which Hydro-Québec locked in artificially-low rates for hydroelectric power from the Upper Churchill well into 2041. As the only way at the time to get Labrador hydroelectric power to market at the time was through Québec, that province set rates so one-sided that, by 1996, the project brought in $1.4 million/day for Hydro-Québec but only $45,000/day for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The hydroelectric generating station is the ninth-largest in the world and the second-largest to be constructed underground (the main station on the LaGrande River at James Bay is the largest). Much of its power is exported from Québec to the US Northeast.

Get in

Access is by the paved Trans-Labrador Highway 500 between Labrador City and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

There is a tiny local airport, owned by the operators of the generating station; Provincial Airlines flies to Goose Bay and Wabush.

Get around

There is no public transport. The hotel operates a shuttle to the airport, which is 7.5km from the town.

See

One of 11 generating turbines at Churchill Falls

Do

Buy

There are few services other than a hotel, restaurant, supermarket and fuel station; there is no automotive repair garage.

Eat

There is a Midway Restaurant in the Churchill Falls Town Centre (+1 709 925-3993), owned by the hotel operator; a second Midway Restaurant location operates at Goose Bay.

Drink

The small fuel station has a wide variety of liquor and beers.

Sleep

Connect

Bell provides WCDMA (HSPA+) coverage in the town itself. Head out onto the Trans-Labrador Highway and the signal dies after the first few kilometres. As of 2014, there is no Rogers signal (and therefore no GSM service) anywhere in Labrador.

Go next

Routes through Churchill Falls

Baie-Comeau Labrador City  W  E  Muskrat Falls Happy Valley-Goose Bay


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, September 10, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.