Labrador City

Labrador City-Wabush is a pair of towns in Labrador West on the Québec border. Dedicated primarily to iron ore mining, their burgeoning population of 9,350 people makes them the largest metropolitan area in otherwise sparsely-populated Labrador, rivalled only by Happy Valley-Goose Bay (with 7,750 people). The bulk of this population is in Labrador City, with Wabush as a suburb with 1,860.


Open pit iron mine in Labrador

Established at the end of the 1950s as "Carol Lake", a mining community, Labrador City is the largest town and the primary overland point of entry into Labrador, a vast and largely-unpopulated territory. (It's also possible to enter Labrador from a ferry crossing which runs from Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula to Blanc Sablon, near Forteau; the road at that point dead-ends at Vieux-Fort QC instead of continuing westward toward Sept-Îles.)

The town's fortunes have largely risen or fallen in lock-step with global demand for iron ore; reaching a peak in the 1970s, declining in the 1980s (an era where Schefferville QC at one point ceased all mining activity) and staging a comeback in the 21st century as demand from Chinese industry pushed the world price of iron ore to US $190/tonne at its peak in 2011. As of 2015, the ore sold for US $70/tonne and local jobs were once again in jeopardy.

An enclosed indoor mall houses Labrador's only Walmart; Labrador City is also home to Labrador's only McDonalds and one of Labrador's two hospitals (the other is in Goose Bay). The gravel road to Manic 5 and Baie-Comeau opened in 1986, with a road from Labrador City to Goose Bay in 1992. The Trans-Labrador Highway made overland travel from Labrador City to Forteau possible by 2009. The last section of Route 500 eastward from Labrador City to Goose Bay was paved in mid-2015.

Labrador City, Goose Bay and Cartwright use Atlantic time, the same time zone as New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Get in

By car
Labrador City is just across the Québec-Labrador border, 25km from Fermont, Quebec on the Trans-Labrador Highway. From Baie-Comeau, take Québec Route 389. Quebec 389 is a poor-quality gravel road from the Manic 5 hydroelectric dam to the provincial boundary at Fermont, with only one intermediate point (Relais Gabriel) to stop for fuel or lodging. The road improves on becoming Route 500 in Labrador, continuing as asphalt to Goose Bay. Route 510 beyond Goose Bay to Port Hope Simpson returns to poor-quality gravel, improving from Red Bay to Forteau.
By air
A small airport serves Wabush, a mining town adjacent to Labrador City. (Wabush is across Little Wabush Lake from the rest of Labrador City; hire cars are available at the airport.)
By rail
A train from Sept-Îles passes through the tiny waypoint (not even a hamlet) of Emeril. There is no population, no onward public transit and no services at this point, which is about 45 minutes from Labrador City by road. This is the last passenger rail service in the province. The line is isolated from the rest of the North American system; there are no onward rail connections at Sept-Îles. The service is kept in operation by native groups as the only means to reach Schefferville, a community on the Québec side with no road access.

Get around

Taxis in Labrador City are metered; as of 2013, fares start at $5.50 plus $1.85/km or $0.48 per minute of waiting time:


View of Wabush in early fall, 2007







Go next

Routes through Labrador City

Baie-Comeau Fermont  W  E  Churchill Falls Happy Valley-Goose Bay

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, March 11, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.