Happy Valley-Goose Bay (HVGB) is a town of 7,750 people in Labrador, Canada founded in 1941 as a military base and seaport. During World War II, Goose and Gander in Newfoundland were important airbases, later serving as refuelling stops for planes en route to Europe.
Goose Bay was established in 1941 to host a military base during the Second World War. It was served by coastal ferries, until it was connected to Labrador City by road in 1992 and to Forteau by road in 2009. Air traffic has diminished greatly in the post-Cold War era; a small contingent of 100 troops remains deployed to CFB Goose Bay.
Goose Bay is an important seaport for supplies arriving by Trans-Labrador Highway to be sent out by ship to other, more remote Labrador communities. It also served as a base of operations for supplies for a large-scale hydroelectric construction project at Muskrat Falls; that $12-billion project is to feed power by undersea cable from Labrador across Newfoundland to Nova Scotia, from which it can be exported through New Brunswick to the US market.
- Trans-Labrador Highway: (Route 500) runs west to Churchill Falls (288 km) and Labrador City (530 km); (Route 510) runs south to Forteau (693 km).
- A coastal ferry calls at Lewisporte and Cartwright (Labrador), en route to points further north which are not accessible by road.
- 1 Canadian Forces Base Goose Bay (YYR IATA). Access to Goose Bay is primarily by air. For the town's size, its airport is huge - its 11,000-foot runway is large enough for a NASA Space Shuttle.
- Air Labrador, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: . Small regional airline based in Goose Bay, with regular scheduled flights connecting Labrador's north and south coasts and the Quebec North Shore. Its seven planes operate from Goose Bay and Blanc Sablon to two dozen points in the region.
- Innu Mikun Airlines (Provincial Airlines), Hangar 17, Goose Bay Airport, ☎ . 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.
There is one taxi operator, Cooneys Taxi (374 Hamilton River Rd, +1 709 896-3311).
- Aurora Borealis. The beautiful northern lights are visible here from late November through to late March.
- Wolverine Bay. Swim in the warm fresh water bay.
- Hike. Walk some of the trails that are all over Goose bay.
- Berry-picking. Pick wild blueberries, or try some local redberry pie!
- Labrador Winter Games. Held in the region once every three years; teams of all ages from across Labrador meet for a week-long celebration of sport and culture.
- Labrador Canoe Regatta, on Gosling Lake. annual, first weekend in August.
- Pride in the Park, c/o The Safe Alliance. late July. A small-town LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) Pride celebration with a march down Hamilton River Road to Kinsman Park.
- Canex, 381 Vanshee Blvd, CFB Goose Bay, ☎ . Retail supermarket and barber shop on the base.
- Bentley's, 97 C Hamilton River Rd, ☎ . Bentley's Beer Market (restaurant M-Sa 11AM-9:30PM) and Maxwell's (nightclub Th-Sa 11:30AM-3AM).
- Trapper's Cabin Bar & Grill, 1 Aspen Road, ☎ .
- Hotel North 1 and 2, 25 Loring Drive and 382 Hamilton River Road, ☎ , toll-free: . A group of three hotels (two in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, one in St. Anthony) and one motel (in North West River). $150-260.
- Labrador Inn, 380 Hamilton River Road, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: . Naskaupi Dining Room, lounge, meeting rooms, 74 rooms open year-round. $150. :
- Royal Inn, 5 Royal Street, ☎ , fax: .
- Big Land Bed & Breakfast, 34 Palliser Crescent, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Continental breakfast included $90+HST.
- Labrador Health Centre, ☎ . Teaching hospital with 25 beds, a 24-hour emergency department and outpatient clinic, operating rooms, visiting specialists on a regular basis.
North West River
A tiny (population 490) town, founded in 1743 as a French fur trade post (and later a Hudson's Bay Company post), it is the oldest community in central Labrador. (Cartwright was settled in 1775; Goose Bay and Churchill Falls, founded as a wartime air base and a generating station, are relative newcomers.)
The International Grenfell Association operated a hospital and a boarding school in the community from 1915-1981. There's one local craft shop and a convenience store; local outfitters offer guided tours and scenic walking trails lead through forests, along the waterfront, and up to the top of "Sunday Hill" with a panoramic view of Lake Melville, the Mealy Mountains, Grand Lake and Little Lake.
North West River is approximately 40 km northeast of Goose Bay on Route 520 across the river from Innu native community Sheshatshiu. It's been the most north-eastern accessible point on North America's main road network since the river was bridged in 1980. Onward travel beyond North West River in winter is by snowmobile trails north to Mulligan and Postville; there's also a seasonal trail from Mulligan to Rigolet. These trails are groomed but include some dangerous ice crossings.
- Labrador Heritage Museum, North West River (on main road, just across the bridge), ☎ . Jun-Sep: daily 9AM-5PM. Restored 1923 Hudson's Bay trading post with various artefacts relating to the fur trade, exploration, the Grenfell Mission and local Labrador history. Labrador Heritage Craft Shop (+1 709 497-8282) and tea room. $2/person.
- Labrador Interpretation Centre, 2 Portage Rd, North West River, ☎ . May 1-early Oct: M-Sa 9AM-4:30PM, Su noon-4:30PM. A comprehensive view into the history and culture of Labrador. Aboriginal history; discover the founding peoples of Labrador – Innu, Inuit, Metis and settlers. Art gallery, temporary exhibit space and a small theatre. Permanent exhibition "The Past is Where We Come From" presents works of art and artefacts from each culture in Inuktitut, Innu-aimun and English. free.
- North West River Beach Festival, North West River waterfront. two days, last weekend in July. Labrador's biggest summer music festival. Local performers playing traditional Labrador music, crafts, food and games.
Goose Bay is a major transit point for traffic to more distant points in Labrador because of its good road, air and seaport facilities:
- Cartwright (Labrador) is 90 km off the Trans-Labrador Highway "beaten path" (there are no services or fuel at Cartwright Junction) and about 400 km from Goose Bay. Whether one stays on the highway to Port Hope Simpson or turns to Cartwright village, the next fuel station (southbound) is 410 km away.
- Charter aircraft from Goose Bay reach various "off the grid" locations, such as outfitters' camps and the Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve
- Ferries and aircraft from Goose Bay feed various points northward (as far as Nain) which have no road at all. Saglek Fjord, in the far north of Nunatsiavut, is the main base station and jumping-off point for boat travel into Torngat Mountains National Park.
- To the west, there are hydroelectric developments at Muskrat Falls and Churchill Falls.
|Routes through Happy Valley-Goose Bay|
|Labrador City ← Churchill Falls ←||W E||→ END|
|END ←||N S||→ Port Hope Simpson → Forteau|
|North West River ←||N S||→ END|