In the streets of Labrador City

(continuer en français) – Last updated: July 20, 2022

Labrador City is the largest town in the Big Land, Labrador’s share of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. When combined with the neighbouring town of Wabush, they collectively form Labrador West with a population of around 10,000.

People do not come to Labrador City to visit, they come to go elsewhere unless they stay to work in the mine. The mine, the town was created for it in the 1960’s when iron ore began to be extracted from open pit mines. The mines are still the main activity of the town today, which does not hide its industrial vocation.

Although access to the mines is strictly limited to its workers, the tailings are visible from afar and partially surround the town. Rows of houses appear with mine tailings in the background.

Some housing buildings still look like construction shacks, reminiscent of the early days when the main purpose was to house the miners who came from far away to work in the new mine. The land was then owned by the mining company, which ceded it when the municipality was formed in 1961.

More recent and more stylish buildings have been added to the town’ s housing stock. In the car park, there are parking spaces with electrified blocks to heat the engines in winter.

There are also static mobile home parks, providing cheaper accommodation.

Streets were developed, reproducing the town planning found elsewhere in the country, such as the rows of semi-detached houses.

As the town grew in importance, collective buildings were added to the townscape.

The Catholic Basilica of our Lady of Perpetual Help used to be a cathedral, however, in 2007 the diocese was abolished and divided between the two neighbouring bishopships.

Shopping malls have settled in with several brands providing the necessary competition. A covered shopping mall is particularly popular during the long winters.

In its desire to do the right thing, the town has created a few green spaces, including a mini replica of a covered bridge to span a stream.

Residents can also try their hand at gardening in the urban vegetable garden, although the short summer season limits the possibilities for cultivation.

Route 500 bypasses Labrador City and is part of the long Trans-Labrador Highway that ends on the north coast of Quebec at Blanc-Sablon, 1125 kilometres / 700 miles away.

On this stretch of road bypassing the town is the large log cabin of Gateway Labrador Inc. serving as a tourist office. The log cabin contains a small exhibit that lays the grounds for what could be an ethnographic presentation of the area as well as its natural history.

Labrador City is only 10 kilometres / 6 miles from Quebec and shares many similarities with the mining town of Fermont located 25 kilometres / 15 miles away.

When Labrador City was created, many of the mine’s first employees came from neighbouring French-speaking provinces such as Quebec and New Brunswick. Even today, the proximity to Quebec favours a strong francophone presence, materialized by cultural activities and French-language radio.

Labrador City is one of those rugged towns, even when visited in the middle of summer, you can still feel the harshness of the endless winters. Nature is never far away and is a source of recreation and getaways for the locals.

In the summer the many lakes are ideal for swimming or kayaking, Lake Tanya has been designed for recreational use and is located just outside of Labrador City.

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    • Thank you for the kind words. Labrador City is a small town gathered around one main activity, everyone is more or less connected to it, this creates a strong community of interest.


    • Now that the Trans-Labrador Highway is almost paved from one end to the other, it becomes much easier to drive along the entire Labrador coast, with Labrador City as the starting point. This is a change from the high densities of southern Ontario.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love to look at websites like this when I think that Idaho, USA is just too cold for about 7 months of the year. Compared to Lab City, it doesn’t seem so bad at all. I think in some ways the weather in Lab City must be harder than the NWT because of all the precipitation, but yes it is beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The summer is beautiful, especially the immense nature, almost untouched. I tried to show the diversity of Canada, but it is often summed up as immense and cold. Thanks for commenting.


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