History of Labrador City
Ancient Travel Routes of Aboriginals in Labrador
Route 1: To George River and Ungava Caribou.
Route 2: To Michikamau Lake, the Barren Grounds, and Naskapi River.
Route 3: To Sandgirt Lake and Kessessakiou River (Churchill) to Lake Melville and Atlantic.
Route 4: To Lakes Joseph and Attikonak. The Romaine River Route to Mingan On the Gulf.
Route 5: To Ossokmanuan and Sangirt Lakes and to destinations North and South.
Route 6: Moisie River Route to and from the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Route 7: To Caniapiscau and Kossoak River to Ungava and James and Hudson's Bays.
Labrador is one of the last great unexplored regions of the world and has given evidence of being a vast storehouse of economic wealth.
This area has a unique history . . . ranging from ancient subsistence hunters beginning some 3,500 years age and fur trade routes for aboriginals who coursed through the region from the Lower St. Lawrence enroute to Ungava Bay ... to the early exploration by the French traders in 1696; to the establishment of Fort Nascaupi, by the Hudsons' Bay Company in 1838 ... to the exploration of the Labrador Trough by A.P. Low in 1895 ... and finally to the development of the mining industry in 1954. Ore deposits were first examined in western Labrador in 1933. With the building of a railroad from Knob Lake to Sept. Iles in the 1950's, the production of iron ore from the Labrador Trough began. The Iron Ore Company of Canada was formed in 1949 and Wabush Mines began field work in 1957.
The evolution of Carol Lake into a modern community can best be illustrated by an incident that occurred during the March 31, 1958 federal election.
A returning officer from Goose Bay touched down at the exploration camp on Duley Lake and found twelve registered voters, none of whom were certain which province they were in, much less which riding.
The officer was no wiser, and to add to the confusion, he had neglected to bring a Bible for administering oaths. The problem was solved when someone substituted a copy of the Diamond Driller's Handbook, bound in red leather.
To say the area was remote and sparsely populated is laughably inadequate, yet by the time of the next federal election in 1963, there was a modern town with a population of over 4,000.
The Town of Labrador City was incorporated in 1961.
Rising in the Wilderness -- Early Days at Labrador City
1949 - During the summer of 1949, a young geologist by the name of "Buzz" Neal, assigned to carryout reconnaissance mapping of the area, named a lake in a particular promising area "Carol Lake" after his fiancée. "Carol" was later incorporated in the name of a number of businesses, organizations and is the name of one of Labrador City's collector streets.
1950 - First rails were laid for the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway (QNS&L).
1956 - Drills began to operate on the Carol Project east and west.
1958 - Iron Ore Company of Canada announces Carol Lake project in Labrador City.
1959 - Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOCC) began the construction of a town site for the "Carol Project," 13 km east of the proposed mine. Initially all of the workers, supplies, construction materials and heavy equipment had to be airlifted in, using a gravel airstrip.
1960 - In May a spur railway line connecting Labrador West to the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway (QNS&L) was completed. It was also in this year the first five families arrived in what is now Labrador City.
A Library, movie theatre, Roman Catholic Perish Hall, and C.E. MacManus school were established.
Smokey Mountain Ski Club was formed. Since then it has grown from one rope tow to four lifts with 19 trails and has hosted the Canadian Alpine championships and the Pontiac Cup. International ski teams have trained here.
In the fall, the Newfoundland and Labrador Telephone Company opened a communications building in the town providing complete automatic telephone service.
1961 - What had been previously known as the "Carol Project" was incorporated as the Local Improvement District of Labrador City. The name was chosen by Premier Joseph R. Smallwood.
The town had indoor facilities where basketball, badminton, table tennis, darts, judo, wrestling, trampoline, and other forms of sports were held.
IOCC also began construction of a pelletizing plant in Labrador City.
1962 - The mine and concentrator came into full production, being officially opened at a ceremony on July 10th. A mining camp was established at Wabush Lake, the beginnings of Labrador City's "sister town" of Wabush.
The Roman Catholic Church construction began and the Town Hall was built. The "Jubber" building was built and mainly used for reconstituting milk, bottling, snack bar, ect...In the spring, the Carol Lake Shopping Center was completed, the local social club (Ashuanipi) opened, and Labrador City held its first winter carnival. The Salvation Army Citadel opened as the first building erected solely for church purposes.
1963 - IOCC's pelletizing plant officially opened. By this date the majority of denominations had built churches at Labrador City and the first private businesses had been established. Labrador City Collegiate. Community service groups established and Duley Lake Park was completed. Formation of a Yacht Club, Trap Club, and a Skeet Shooting Club.
1964 - English and French radio and a nine-hole municipal golf course opened. A group of actors/actresses formed and called themselves the Carol Players.
1965 - Captain William Jackman Hospital is opened, with the first birth occurring on September 19th. Wabush Mines began full production. A daily jet service was introduced by Eastern Provincial Airways and Quebecair. Labrador City's first newspaper, Carol News began publication.
1966 - In keeping with plans for a major expansion of the operation at Labrador City, IOCC began a program of intensified construction of family homes in the town -- including the first homes for sale. By the 1966 census, Labrador City had 5,000 residents, and this number more than doubled in the following decades.
Notre Dame Academy was opened to meet the growing Catholic population
The Labrador City Arena and the Carol Curling Club were built (replacing an outdoor rink built in 1961) and this facility offered other indoor sports such as archery, table, tennis, and volleyball.
1967 - Centennial Playground opened by Hon. Judy LaMarsh. All children Grade Five and up were sent to Expo '67 in Montreal for three days by IOCC. Expansion of the pelletizing plant from four lines producing six million tons to six lines producing ten million tons per year was complete.
1968 - Anglican and United church was built. The O'Brien Hall, adult social center, opened in December.
1969 - Softball diamonds, tennis courts and a soccer pitch were built and distance education via closed circuit TV from Memorial University was offered.
The population of Labrador City approached 8500, making it the most populated town in Labrador. Also, the "Aurora," a local newspaper, began publication.
1970 - A.P.Low school doors open for the first time in September and Labrador City plays host to the Canadian Alpine Championship.
1971 - Official opening of A.P.Low Elementary School.
1972 - First fast food restaurants were opened. Glad Tidings Pentecostal church construction is finished.
1973 - The Labrador West Regetta began at Duley Lake with four shells purchased from the Harbor Grace Regetta. The Labrador West Francophone association was founded on December 6th.
1974 - Opening of Labrador's only eighteen hold golf course, Tamarack Golf Club
1975 - Menihek Nordic Ski Club was formed and Harrie Lake sub-division was completed. Also, the start of the Ashuanipi Aviation Base and the Auunal Labrador Loppet.
1976 - The Heritage Society was formed and a road to Fermont, Quebec was completed.
1977- Record 184,819 tons of ore mined in Labrador City loaded on Japanese ship from IOCC.
1978 - Opening of Labrador Mall, the biggest mall in Labrador.
1979 - Live TV first viewed via satellite from New York and the local Rebroadcasting Service was formed. IOCC celebrated 25 years of production and Menihek High School is opened.
1980 - IOCC production slowed and in that summer the company held a five week shut down. In April, Labrador City officially became a town.
1981 - Town of Labrador City elects first council with Karl Hiscock elected as mayor. Alec Snow was elected deputy mayor. Also elected were Leonard Leyte, Stanley Robinson, Kevin Campbell, Darrell Brenton, Ron Brown, Stephen Michelin and Stanislaus Jackowski.
The first layoffs at IOCC in response to a slumping world demand for iron. Labrador City celebrated its twentieth anniversary!
1982 - The storm of January '82 brought temperatures of -130 degrees Celsius. All of the residents of the Harrie Lake sub-division were evacuated from their homes.
With all of the snow from the storm, Labrador City went on to host the World Cup Cross Country Skiing Races.
1983 - The Hospital added a mental health unit, special care unit and a newly renovated gift shop
Labrador City played host to World Cup Final Cross Country ski races and The Aurora celebrated fifteen years of publication.
1984 - Royal Newfoundland Constabulary building opened.
1985 - For the second time in two years the Menihek Nordic Ski Club hosted the World Cup Cross Country ski races.
The provincial Curling Championships were held in Labrador City and the Sue Ann Bartlett rink captured their ninth title while representing the carol Curling Club. Also, the Labrador Fishing and hunting Camps Ltd was incorporated.
1986 - "Freedom Road", the gravel road to Baie Comeau, Quebed (595 km) was completed, alleviating the feeling of isolation for residents of western Labrador. Churchill Falls was accessible by putting your vehicle on the train to Esker and then driving 158 km on a gravel road built by CFLCo in the 1960's, and known as "The Brinco Road".
The Arts and Culture Centre opens, home to the theatre troupe the Carol Players which has represented the province nationally and internationally.
1987 - Sue Ann Bartlett was inducted into the National Curling hall of fame and the Baie Comeau road was officially opened.
From February 2nd to 7th, Labrador City held its first annual Heritage Week. this event was designed to give residents of the area a better understanding and appreciation of their Labrador culture and heritage.
1988- On July 14th, Labrador City became its own Federal Riding.
1989 - On February 29th, IOCC reached another milestone. The billionth ton of material consisting of 757,500,000 tons of ore was mined at the Carol Project.
In April, the Arts and Culture Center hosted the provincial Drama Festival and Labrador City's own Carol Players received five awards.
1990 - Ambulance service now offered at Hospital.
1991 - According to the 1991 census, 9,061 people were living in Labrador City. Labrador 400 dog team race was initiated.
1992 - The Trans Labrador Highway to Happy Valley~Goose Bay (560 km) was opened, connection residents directly by road and ferry to the Island portion of the province.
1996 - IOCC celebrates one-billionth ton of ore mined!
1998 - Labrador Winter Trails formed to oversee the development of snowmobile trials, snowmobile clubs, and organized snowmobiling in Labrador City.
1999 - Implementation of the "Employee of the Future" program by IOCC, USW, and College of the North Atlantic.
2001 - Town of Labrador City celebrates its 40th Anniversary.
2003 - On June 28th, Gateway Labrador opens in Labrador City.
Local curlers, Mark Nichols and Mike Adam win World Junior Curling Championships.
2004 - Local news magazine, 53 North begins publication.
First Annual Alvin Parrill Memorial hockey tournament a success on November 8th.
IOCC celebrates transportation milestone. One-billionth ton of ore shipped on QNS&L
2005 - Labrador City takes "Winter Pleasures" award during Winter Lights Celebrations.
IOCC celebrates fifty years of production! Opening of much anticipated Wal-Mart in Labrador City on January 27th.
Labrador City's, Alf Parsons, enters Provincial Sports Hall of Fame for his cross country skiing achievements.
2006 - Local curlers Mark Nichols (second from left) and Mike Adam (second from right) of the Carol Curling Club, members of the Brad Gushue team representing Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympics, Torino Italy, win GOLD! This historic win represents the first Olympic gold medal for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Labrador City plays host to the first Cain's Quest, Labrador's largest snowmobile endurance race.
2007 - Labrador City's Catholic Church, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, is designated as a basilica. It is the second church in province and twenty-first in the country to be granted basilica status.
IOC announced plans to inject $60-million in the Labrador City mining operation. IOC said it would give its project a huge injection of cash to increase the production capacity of its operations in Labrador City.
2008 - Labrador West is now serviced by 911 Emergency. The service was implemented throughout the communities of Labrador West on June 1st.