Churchill Falls in Labrador is one of the last company towns in Atlantic Canada. Its population of nearly 700 (2016) work for the Churchill Dam, a 5.4-gigawatt hydroelectric generating station, the third-largest hydroelectric station (by power output) in North America.
Churchill Falls provides several services to travellers on Route 500 (Trans-Labrador Highway). The main attractions of Churchill Falls are:
- its snowmobile trails, which surround the village and provide access to the backcountry;
- its nautical activities (eg canoeing, kayaking) on the Churchill Reservoir or on bodies of water or watercourses in the region;
- its sports and leisure facilities: arena, skating rink, swimming pool, community centres, picnic area, Blackberry Lake beach, auditorium, library, gymnasium, etc.;
- its immense territory in the hinterland, allowing hunting (caribou) and sport fishing, or nature observation (flora, fauna and landforms);
- observation in a night sky (without light pollution) of the aurora borealis and stars (including large moving satellites);
- its hydroelectric plant allowing educational guided tours;
- its magnificent hiking trail offering bucolic views of boreal nature;
- its practice area for mountain biking.
Installed about 300 m (nearly 1000 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.
An interprovincial agreement on the development of the Churchill Falls generating station was concluded in 1968 between Quebec and Newfoundland. This agreement set the rates for hydroelectric power from Upper Churchill until 2041. At the time, the only way to transport hydroelectric power from Labrador to North American markets was through Quebec. In 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.
There is no public transport. The hotel operates a shuttle to the airport, which is 7.5km from the town.
- Sport fishing. The large, enclosed freshwater reservoirs created by the dam are populated by several species of fish, including lake trout, brook trout (speckled trout) and northern pike.
- Kayak Tours & Rentals, ☏ .
- The Falls & Walking Trail. This trail stretches for about 17 km. Its departure is after Brinco Bridge where you can admire the falls by walking about 20 minutes. Walkers are advised to bring noisemakers such as bells or whistles to alert wildlife to your presence.
- The Churchill River & Family Picnic Area. This area of the Churchill River is a suitable site for sport fishing and water sports such as boating and kayaking. The panoramic view is magnificent. At any time of the year, water levels in the Churchill River can fluctuate; thus, the safety of boaters and anglers on the river must be a priority.
- Blueberry Lake Beach (Plage du lac Blueberry). Visitors and residents can relax or practise activities on the magnificent beach of Blueberry Lake, such as canoes or kayaks.
- 1 Swimming Pool (Piscine municipale), ☏ .
- 2 Terry Smith Memorial Arena (Aréna Terry Smith Memorial), 8 John Cabot Street, ☏ . The name of this arena evokes Terry Smith, a long-time resident and devoted attendant at the arena. This sports and recreation facility is one of the most used facilities in Churchill Falls.
- 3 Pitch Fork Lane. Practice area for mountain biking.
- 4 Municipal gazebo. Municipal recreation centre.
There are few services other than a hotel, restaurant, supermarket and fuel station; there is no automotive repair garage.
- Churchill Falls Labrador Corporation Town Centre (Donald Gordon Centre), ☏ . Town hall, school, swimming pool, ice surface, auditorium, grocery store, library, hotel, kitchen and restaurant, fitness centre, gymnasium and bank, all in one building.
- Strickland's Auto & Gas, 1 John Cabot St, ☏ . Ultramar petrol station, convenience store, soft-serve ice cream, liquor and beer, hunting and fishing equipment.
- Height of Land Hotel Restaurant, ☏ . M-Sa 7AM-9PM, Su 7AM-8PM. Sandwiches, burgers, steak, fish and chips. $5-28/main course.
The small fuel station has a wide variety of liquor and beers.
- 1 Height of Land Hotel, 1 Town Centre, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . Check-in: 11AM, check-out: 4PM. Hotel. Opened February 2017 to replace the former Midway Travel Inn. $149 plus taxes.
- 2 McParland House, Ressegieu Drive, ☏ . Suburban hotel.
- 3 Black Spruce Lodge, John Cabot Street, ☏ . Three star hotel.
There are no organized campsites or RV sites at Churchill Falls. However, an RV dump station is available to travellers.
Bell provides WCDMA (HSPA+) coverage in the town. Head out onto the Trans-Labrador Highway and the signal dies after the first few kilometres. As of 2021, there are no other cell phone providers in Churchill Falls. Visitors can rent satellite phone services along Routes 500 and 510 (Trans Labrador Highway).
Black bear sightings are common in the Churchill Falls area, particularly in the summer and fall. Walkers should use bells or whistles to ward off wildlife. At all times, it is essential to respect wild animals and their environment.
|Routes through Churchill Falls|
|Baie-Comeau ← ← Labrador City ←||W E||→ Muskrat Falls → Happy Valley-Goose Bay|