Gander is a small town of 12,000 people (2016) with a huge international airport (YQX IATA) on the Trans-Canada Highway in Central Newfoundland. Established in 1935, the airport was once a major refuelling point for almost all trans-Atlantic flights.
As the easternmost major fog-free airport on the north Atlantic coast, Gander was a frequent stop for both civil and military trans-Atlantic aviation. "Goose and Gander" were strategic transit points for the Royal Air Force Air Ferry Command during World War 2 and key refuelling stops for civil aviation in the early years of commercial "jet set" travel. Both airports have diminished in importance as range of commercial passenger aircraft increased to allow more routes to fly non-stop, advances in instrument navigation made a fog-shrouded landing in St. John's safe and routine, and de-escalation at the end of the Cold War curtailed military flights. On the other side of the Atlantic, Shannon in Ireland had a similar function (and still does for the LCY-NYC flights that are too heavy when taking off with a full tank) and became known as the birthplace of the Duty Free Shop at Airports.
There are various local memorials to aviators and servicemen, including Commonwealth War Graves for a hundred and one who served during the Second World War (Gander hosted air-reconnaissance planes, military defence forces and an anti-aircraft regiment) and a Silent Witnesses Memorial which overlooks a site where an Arrow Air flight carrying 256 peacekeepers of the 101st US Airborne Division "Screaming Eagles” home from the Sinai Peninsula crashed on take-off.
Gander accepted more diverted passengers during the September 11, 2001 attacks than any other Canadian airfield except Halifax and Vancouver and more aircraft than any city except Halifax, adding 6,600 people to its local population (in 2001) of 9650 in just a few hours. Lufthansa named one Airbus A340 "Gander/Halifax" to acknowledge both cities and a book The Day The World Came to Town recorded the incident for posterity. There was also musical called Come From Away which enjoyed successful runs both on Broadway and in London's West End, among other places.
- 1 Tourist Information Centre, 109 Trans-Canada Hwy.
- DRL-LR, ☏ , email@example.com. Operates a route daily between Port aux Basques and St. John's with numerous stops including in Stephenville, Corner Brook, Deer Lake, Grand Falls-Windsor, Lewisporte, Gander, and Clarenville. Travel time to Gander from Port-aux-Basques is 9 hours, from Corner Brook is 5.5 hours, from Deer Lake is 4.5 hours, from Grand Falls-Windsor is 1.75 hours, from Clarenville is 2.5 hours, and from St John's is 5.25 hours. Port aux Basques is the location of the main ferry terminal to reach Nova Scotia.
- 1 Gander International Airport (YQX IATA), ☏ . Wi-Fi, bar, 24-hour restaurant, various rental car firms on-site.
Canadian airlines operating to Gander:
- Air Canada, ☏ , toll-free: . Canada's largest airline with hubs in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal. It operates across Canada and services international destinations. Operates daily flights to Gander from Halifax (1.75 hours).
- Air Borealis, toll-free: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Native-owned airline with scheduled air service between Goose Bay, Makkovik, Natuashish, Nain, Postville, Rigolet, and Hopedale from Sunday to Friday; small aircraft transport people and cargo to remote points otherwise difficult to access except by sea.
- PAL Airlines, toll-free: , email@example.com. One of the largest regional airlines operating in Quebec and Atlantic Canada, and to Ottawa. Operates flights to Gander from Goose Bay (1.5 hours).
- Sunwing Airlines, toll-free: . Low cost Canadian airline that operates some flights within Canada throughout the year and specializes in seasonal flights to warmer, southern international vacation destinations in the winter.
- WestJet, toll-free: . Canada's second largest airline services with hubs in Calgary and Toronto. It operates across Canada and services international destinations.
Busy Bee Cabs (☏) and M&S Limousine Service (+1 709 256-8426) provide local transport.
Budget (+1 709 256-3566), National (+1 709 256-4934) and Thrifty (+1 709 256-8955) provide hire cars at the airport; there's also a Rent-a-Wreck (+1 709 256-7066) on the main highway.
- 1 North Atlantic Aviation Museum, 135 Trans-Canada Highway, ☏ . Summer: daily 9AM-7PM, rest of the year: M-F 9AM-5PM. The history of aviation in Gander, once an important refuelling stop on trans-Atlantic flights. Museum exhibits cover wartime operations during World War II and the town's role in hosting 6600 travellers when 38 civilian and 4 military flights diverted to Gander during the September 11th, 2001 attacks. Adult (19-60) $8, senior (61 +) or youth (6-18) $7, student – $7 (ID required), child (0-5) free.
- A total solar eclipse on Monday 8 April 2024 starts at 5:12PM local time and lasts two minutes. The chances of a clear sky are 25%. The track of totality is northeast from Mexico and Texas to Ohio, straddling the Canada–New England border, then across Maine, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.
- 1 Gander Golf Club, 251 Trans-Canada Highway, ☏ . Golf club with pro shop and "19th hole" restaurant $50-55 (18 holes).
- 2 Little Harbour, Gander Lake (1.5 km from Trans-Canada Highway and 10 km from city centre). Recreational park and marina, picnic/BBQ area, boat launch ramp and wharf/docking on fresh-water Gander Lake.
- 3 Beyond Words Tours - A Come From Away Experience, 135 Trans Canada Highway, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. A tour that complements the Come From Away Broadway show. The 3½-hour tour shows the places and people that became the inspirations for the show. It includes a visit to the Gander International Airport, Gander Town Hall, meeting a notable local that is featured in the Broadway show, driving around key areas of the town (including schools and community centres that housed the "plane people"), exclusive mini-exhibit and finishes at the North Atlantic Aviation Museum. $99/person.
- Festival of Flight. First Monday in August. Five-day local festival with sports, parade, live music, fireworks on Gander Day municipal holiday.
- 1 Gander Mall, 132 Bennett Dr, ☏ , email@example.com.
- 2 Fraser Mall, 230 Airport Boulevard, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 3 Foodland, 151 Airport Blvd, ☏ . Tu-F 8AM-9PM, M Sa 8AM-6PM, Su 9AM-5PM. Grocer with water refill, fruit baskets, gluten-free products and greeting cards.
- 1 Bistro on Roe, 110 Roe Ave, ☏ , email@example.com. M-Sa 5-10PM. French/European.
- 2 Ches's Fish and Chips, 132 Bennett Dr (in the Fraser Mall), ☏ . Small regional chain (seven locations, based in St. John's). Chicken, burgers, salads, fish and chips. $9-15.
- 3 Country Kitchen, 132 Bennett Dr, ☏ .
- 4 Tai Sun Restaurant, 298 Airport Blvd, ☏ . Terrible food, but the only game in town if you're hungry for Chinese.
- 5 Weston’s at the Airport, 1000 James Blvd (in the Gander International Airport). 24/7. Home-cooked menu in a vintage cafeteria-style setting, ready-to-go meals, in-flight catering, and function room to host private events.
- 1 Friend's Lounge, 10 McCurdy Dr, ☏ .
- 2 Beech Bar & Grill, Gander International Airport, ☏ . Airport bar.
- 1 Sinbad's Hotel & Suites, 133 Bennett Dr, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: .
- 2 Quality Hotel & Suites, 100 Trans Canada Highway, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Meeting and banquet facilities. Alcock & Brown's Eatery.
- 3 Albatross Hotel, 114 Trans Canada Highway, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . Motel with 101 rooms, meeting facilities for 250 people, licensed restaurant serving traditional Canadian food, Newfoundland specialty dishes, seafood and pasta, hideaway lounge. $100+.
- 4 Irving West Hotel, 1 Caldwell St, ☏ , fax: . Outdoor pool, continental breakfast.
Bed & Breakfast
- 6 Country Inn, 315 Magee Rd, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: , email@example.com. Motel (WiFi, coffee, continental breakfast) and one five-person cottage; 64 site RV/trailer park (34 with water/sewer/power hookups). $23-29 (caravan park).
- 2 Gander Public and Resource Library, 6 Bell Place, ☏ . Free Internet and WiFi. Fax, scan, print. Books, CDs, DVDs.
- Beothuk Interpretation Centre, Boyd's Cove (70 km (43 mi) north) recalls the now-extinct native tribe.
- Terra Nova National Park is an hour east (88 km (55 mi)) on the Trans-Canada Highway
- Twillingate, Fogo Island and Change Islands are fishing villages with small museums
- Lewisporte is the base for coastal ferry service to various small Labrador outports not on the Trans-Labrador Highway
|Routes through Gander|
|Corner Brook ← Grand Falls-Windsor ← Jct N ←||W E||→ Glovertown → St. John's|