Port Hope Simpson was established in the 1930s as a company town, exporting timber to paper mills in Corner Brook until 1948. Exploitation of forestry and timber resumed briefly from 1962 to 1968, with seasonal cod and salmon fishing becoming an economic mainstay in 1970. The Newfoundland cod fishery was closed in 1992 but crab, shrimp and scallop fishing continue.
The Alexis River is popular for recreational salmon fishing.
Port Hope Simpson, a deep-water port, is accessible by Trans-Labrador Highway, by air and by sea.
Access is by Trans-Labrador Highway (Route 510, which opened as gravel in 2009).
From the north, take Route 510 from Cartwright (187km). There are limited services in Cartwright village and nothing at all at Cartwright Junction. Between Goose Bay and Port Hope Simpson, a 410km stretch of gravel road through Cartwright Junction has no fuel and no services.
From the south (and the ferries at Blanc-Sablon) take Route 510 from Forteau. The first 86 km to Red Bay are paved, the next 74 km to Lodge Bay are gravel. A few services (fuel, food, lodging, banking, souvenirs, airstrip) are available en route at Mary's Harbour. An additional 62km of gravel road (so 222 km in total) continues to Port Hope Simpson.
- 1 Port Hope Simpson Airport (YHA IATA) (about 2 km south of town). is an airstrip with a 106 metre runway.
- Extensive snowmobile trails connect Port Hope Simpson to Cartwright, Black Tickle, Charlottetown, Mary's Harbour, Battle Harbour, Lodge Bay and Red Bay.
As Port Hope Simpson is now accessible by road, its reliance on outport ferries has been greatly curtailed. Traffic arriving from beyond the end of the road network arrives by sea at Goose Bay, Cartwright or Blanc Sablon, then leaves the sea to follow the Trans-Labrador Highway.
- M/V Marine Eagle provides daily service northbound from Charlottetown and Port Hope Simpson to a few small in-region outports with no highway access.
- M/V Northern Ranger, based in Lewisporte, no longer calls at Port Hope Simpson; service south of Cartwright/Black Tickle has been curtailed and the traffic carried by road. It continues to carry traffic from Goose Bay/Cartwright to points further north, where there is no road.
- At Blanc-Sablon, there is a ferry to Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula and a coastal ferry which stops at multiple inaccessible outports going westward toward Sept-Îles.
By boat, ferry, car, truck, snowmobile, snowshoes, skis depending on the time of year. Deep water port with docking facilities, regional airstrip, helicopter pads, groomed snowmobile trails, Nordic ski trails and overnight cabin, gravel road.
Fuel and repairs are available at P & K Sports and Automotive and at Penney's Pitstop; there's also a fuel station at the Alexis Hotel.
- Penney's Pitstop, 1 Trans Labrador Highway, ☏ , fax: . Vehicle rental, U-Haul trucks, fuel station with full-service garage. Rental of various items, from wood splitters to movies.
- Shinneys Water Complex. 2,500 km² protected area with over 1,000 islands
Activities include hiking, camping, fishing, angling, snowmobiling, whale watching and iceberg spotting.
The Alexis Hotel provides guide and tour services to explore the 'Big Country' around Port Hope Simpson and operates various activities such as geocaching (find all ten geocaches and take a digital photo with the banner found in each to receive an Alexis Geocache T-shirt), dog sled rides (for a half-hour or half-day), bingo (8PM Thursdays, year-round) and a photography contest (the Photo Discovery Circuit). Pitts, Props and Prosperity dinner theatre (7PM summer Wednesdays) recalls local history from the 1930s and Sir John Hope Simpson's establishment of the settlement. A day each on skis, snowmobile and snowshoes is offered to groups of six or more as a three-day event; other activities include snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on local trails or scenic un-tracked back-country through wooded hills, scenic valleys and frozen ponds, ice fishing for trout and smelts, fly fishing (salmon or trout), canoeing and kayaking. One can also watch birds, icebergs, whales and wildlife.
- Alexis 150 Sled Dog Race, ☏ (Alexis Hotel). March. Mushers compete to test their skills against the elements of a Labrador winter.
- Barton Hicks Memorial Hockey Tournament, Port Hope Simpson Recreation Centre, ☏ . January. Annual invitational hockey tournament
- Canada Day Celebrations, ☏ (community council). July 1st.
- Eagle River Dart Championship, ☏ (Port Hope Simpson Recreation). Annual dart tournament where players from along the coast compete for the Eagle River Cup.
- Easter Festival, ☏ (Port Hope Simpson Recreation). Week long event of sporting activities and entertainment (five days in late-March or early April).
- Festival of Friends, ☏ . last weekend of July. A celebration of friends, food and laughter.
- Guy Fawkes Night, ☏ (community council), fax: . November 5. Bonfires, weiner and marshmallow roast
- Labrador Sno’Blast, ☏ (Alexis Hotel). last weekend in February. An annual weekend of entertainment, riding on snowmobile trails.
- Polar Bear Dip, ☏ (Alexis Hotel). May. A dip in chilly Labrador water, followed by a night's entertainment at the Alexis Hotel; all participants receive a memento T-shirt.
- Handmade Pottery, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- J. C. Variety Grocery (Woodlands Heights), ☏ .
- P & K Sports and Automotive, ☏ . Fuel station (gasoline and diesel, tyres, repairs, towing), cottage and cabin accommodations, fishing equipment, clothing, Polaris snowmobiles and snowmobile parts, souvenirs and confectionery, hot tea and coffee, soft serve, bakeapple sundaes.
- Campbell's Place, 98 Pioneer Street, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Bed and breakfast, coffee shop, restaurant and bakery. Soup, chilli, baked beans, homemade subs, sandwiches, pizza by the slice and a large selection of baked goodies.
- Midway Restaurant, ☏ . 11AM-midnight. Air conditioned dining room and snack bar overlooking Alexis Bay. Take-out available.
There is a restaurant/lounge and a liquor outlet at the Alexis Hotel.
Connectivity is limited. There is a small post office; there is no mobile telephone service.
Tiny outport 50km (30 miles) north of Port Hope Simpson, small airstrip, few or no services. Ferry connections to otherwise-isolated communities Snug Harbour and Fishing Ships Harbour.
Small crab-fishing village on Trans-Labrador 510, 50km (30 miles) southeast of Port Hope Simpson, population 475. Mary's Harbour has a small airstrip with Air Labrador service and a ferry crossing to Cape Charles.
- Battle Harbour National Historic District, a restored fisheries ghost town (established 1750s, abandoned 1960s) is on an island reachable by a one-hour sea crossing from Mary's Harbour. The boat to Battle Harbour makes one run daily, leaving Battle Harbour at 9AM and Mary's Harbour at 11AM, which is awkward as accommodation in the historic buildings on the island is expensive ($225/person for admission, return ferry trip and one bunk overnight in a shared-accommodation bunkhouse is the least expensive, short of paying $2/foot for dockage to bring your own boat plus the $15/person admission. Most of the other overnight options are $500 and up, and the Battle Harbour boat is scheduled to preclude a same-day trip).
- Riverlodge Hotel, 6163 Main St, Mary's Harbour, ☏ , fax: . Wi-fi, 15 rooms (smoking/non-smoking), dining room with local cuisine and fresh sea food in season.
If continuing north, set your watch back a half-hour between Port Hope Simpson and Cartwright as most of Labrador (north of the tiny, dying fishing outport "Black Tickle") uses Atlantic time (AST/ADT). All points between Port Hope Simpson and Forteau (inclusive) use Newfoundland time.
- Cartwright (Labrador) is 90km off what passes as the "beaten path" on the Trans-Labrador Highway. There are no services or fuel at Cartwright Junction; Cartwright itself has food and fuel but no hotel, bank or repair garage.
- The Trans-Labrador Highway onward to Happy Valley-Goose Bay is 410km of gravel with no fuel or services. Don't attempt this without a full tank of fuel.
|Routes through Port Hope Simpson|
|Happy Valley-Goose Bay ← Cartwright Junction ←||N S||→ Red Bay → Forteau|