Labrador City and Wabush are a pair of towns in Labrador West on the Quebec border. Dedicated primarily to iron ore mining, their burgeoning population of 9,350 people makes them the largest metropolitan area in otherwise sparsely-populated Labrador, rivalled only by Happy Valley-Goose Bay (with 7,750 people). The bulk of this population is in Labrador City, with Wabush (established 1955) as a de facto suburb of 1,860.
Established at the end of the 1950s as "Carol Lake", a mining community, Labrador City is the largest town and the primary overland point of entry into Labrador, a vast and largely-unpopulated territory. (It's also possible to enter Labrador from a ferry crossing which runs from Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula to Blanc Sablon, near Forteau; the road at that point dead-ends at Vieux-Fort, Quebec, instead of continuing westward toward Sept-Îles.)
The town's fortunes have largely risen or fallen in lock-step with global demand for iron ore; reaching a peak in the 1970s, declining in the 1980s (an era when Schefferville, Quebec, at one point ceased all mining activity) and staging a comeback in the 21st century as demand from Chinese industry pushed the world price of iron ore to US$190/tonne at its peak in 2011. As of April 2020, the ore sold for US$85/tonne and local jobs were once again in jeopardy.
An enclosed indoor mall houses Labrador's only Walmart; Labrador City is also home to Labrador's only McDonald's and one of Labrador's two hospitals (the other is in Goose Bay). The gravel road to Manic 5 and Baie-Comeau opened in 1986, with a road from Labrador City to Goose Bay in 1992. The Trans-Labrador Highway made overland travel from Labrador City to Forteau possible by 2009. The last section of Route 500 eastward from Labrador City to Goose Bay was paved in mid-2015.
Labrador City is just across the Québec-Labrador border on Highway 500 (Trans-Labrador Highway). On the other side of the Québec-Labrador border is Fermont, Quebec, about 29 km drive heading northwest to Labrador City. Within Quebec, Highway 500 becomes Quebec Route 389. Labrador City can be reached by traveling north on Quebec Route 389 from its southern terminus in Baie-Comeau (582 km away), where the highway intersects with Quebec Route 138. Along the way there is only one intermediate point (Relais Gabriel) to stop for fuel or lodging. Quebec 389 is a gravel road from the Manic 5 hydroelectric dam to Fermont (RCM of Caniapiscau). The road improves on becoming Route 500 in Labrador, continuing as asphalt through Goose Bay, Port Hope Simpson and Red Bay to Forteau.
From the Québec-Labrador limit, the distance to be traveled on Route 500 is 243 km to Churchill Falls, which has a gas station, hotel and some services, and another 288 km beyond there to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, which is the next city with a hospital.
- 1 Wabush Airport (YWK IATA) (in Wabush, a mining town adjacent to Labrador City). It handles flights from other airports in Labrador such as Goose Bay (1.25 hours) and the island of Newfoundland and cities in Quebec including Montreal (3.75-4 hours including multiple stops on the flight).
Wabush is across Little Wabush Lake from the rest of Labrador City. Rental cars are available at the airport.
Canadian airlines operating to Wabush:
- Air Borealis, toll-free: , email@example.com. Native-owned airline with scheduled air service. Small aircraft transport people and cargo to remote points otherwise difficult to access except by sea.
- Pascan Aviation, ☏ , toll-free: , firstname.lastname@example.org. A regional airline operating in Quebec and Labrador.
- PAL Airlines, toll-free: , email@example.com. One of the largest regional airlines operating in Quebec and Atlantic Canada, and to Ottawa.
- Tshiuetin Rail Transportation (Transport ferroviaire Tshiuetin), 148 boul. des Montagnais, Uashat, Quebec, ☏ . This independent native-run railway runs a train from Sept-Îles to Schefferville through the tiny waypoint (not even a hamlet) of Emeril east of Labrador City. Trains heading north for Schefferville depart from Emeril at approximately 3PM (Quebec time) on Mondays and Thursdays, while trains going south to Sept-Îles depart from Emeril on Tuesdays and Fridays at around noon (Quebec time). There are no inhabitants, onward public transit or services at this point, which is about 45 minutes from Labrador City by road. This is the last passenger rail service in the province. The line is isolated from the rest of the North American system; there are no onward rail connections at Sept-Îles. The service is kept in operation by native groups as the only means to reach Schefferville, a community on the Québec side with no road access.
Taxis in Labrador City are metered; as of 2013, fares started at $5.50 plus $1.85/km or $0.48 per minute of waiting time:
- 1 Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 1 Sutton Way, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Roman Catholic minor basilica and former cathedral dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, completed in 1962. Labrador City–Schefferville was its own diocese before being merged to the "Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador" in Sept 2007, making this small church a cathedral from 1980-2007.
- 2 Gateway Labrador & Heritage Museum, 1365 Route 500 (close to Beverley Lake), ☏ . Daily 9AM-5PM, Th F 9AM-8PM. Exhibit Hall with artefacts of fur trading and mining that describe the history of Western Labrador, its culture and people. The same log structure houses the Labrador West Heritage Shop, Labrador West Tourism Corporation and Labrador Wilderness Connections.
- 3 Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) Exhibition, Wabush Airport: 2, Airport Road, Wabush, ☏ . Royal Newfoundland Constabulary display exhibits in Wabush Airport depict the history of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary from 1871 to today.
- 1 Arts and Culture Centre - Labrador West, 300, Hudson Dr., ☏ . Live performance venue.
- 2 Carol Curling Club, 411 Booth St, ☏ . The ice surface includes four curling lanes.
- 3 Menihek Nordic Ski Club, Smokey Mountain Road (in front of Dumbell Lake), ☏ , email@example.com. October-April. Cross-country skiing, lodge with canteen, meeting rooms, waxing facilities, showers, indoor barbecue pit, licensed bar, ski lockers and rental skis.
- 4 Smokey Mountain Ski Club (in front of Dumbell Lake), ☏ , fax: . mid-November to mid-April. Downhill skiing in the Wapusakatta Mountains, 5 km North from Labrador City. 19 groomed runs, a 1000 ft vertical drop and all natural snow. Snowboard park, double chair, three pommel lifts, base lodge, ski/snowboard rentals, lessons and canteen and bar services.
- 5 Tamarack Golf Club, Duley Lake, ☏ (clubhouse), . May-Oct. Lakefront golf course with snack bar, pull cart and club rentals. Only 18-hole course in Labrador.
- 6 White Wolf Snowmobile Club, Baden Powell Road (bordering the south shore of Tanya Lake), ☏ , fax: . November-April. Trail passes for 450 km of groomed trails, which connect to 300 km of Fermont Snowmobile Club trails and 200 km of groomed trails to Churchill Falls, are available from the Club and various local outlets in the area.
- Walking trails: Jean Lake Walking Trail (Grenfell Drive, 5-km trail around Jean Lake), Menihek Interpretive Trail (Smokey Mountain Road, 5 km of Menihek Nordic Trails) and Tanya Lake Walking Trail (Badden Powell Road, 3-km trail around Tanya Lake).
- Cain's Quest, ☏ , fax: . 3300-km cross-Labrador snowmobile run over extremely rough terrain in sub-zero temperatures from Labrador City to Labrador’s south coast, then to the north coast and back to Labrador City. April-June.
- Labrador City Winter Carnival, ☏ . second week in March. Week-long festival with ice sculptures, snowmobile parade and bonfire, fireworks display, sports tournaments, dog-sledding, winter tubing and skiing.
- 1 Labrador Mall, 500 Vanier Ave, ☏ . 9:30AM-9PM. Labrador City's only fully-enclosed shopping centre; 31 stores including Walmart, Canadian Tire and Mark's Work Wearhouse.
- 2 Carol Lake Shopping Centre, 208 Humber Ave, ☏ . Strip mall with a grocery store.
- 1 Baba Q's Smoke & Grill, 211, Drake Avenue, ☏ . Restaurant. Meals on site. Take-out orders. Delivery.
- 2 Fun Foods Restaurant, 500 Vanier Avenue (Labrador Mall), ☏ . Restaurant. Meals on site and take-out orders.
- 3 Greco Pizza, 208 Humber avenue, ☏ .
- 4 Mary Brown's Fried Chicken, 210 Drake Avenue, ☏ . Restaurant.
- 5 Pizza Delight, 800 Trans-Labrador Highway. Pizzeria.
- 6 Pizza Forno - Iron Ore Company, 1601 Luce Street lot 08-1, ☏ . Pizzeria.
- 7 SushiLab, 118 Humphrey Rd, ☏ . Restaurant.
- 1 Bursey's Pour House, 172 Raven Avenue. Bar.
- 2 Corby's Pub, 301 Humber Ave (corner of Avalon Drive), ☏ . Sports Bar that show all NHL, NFL, MLB games.
- 3 The Cabin/Sizzler's Pool & Grill, 208 Humber Avenue, ☏ . Bar and restaurant. Meals on site. Take-out orders.
- 4 The Gar pub and bar, Raven Avenue.
- 1 Bird Construction Camp, 2 Neal Street, ☏ . Accommodations.
- 2 Carol Inn, 215 Drake Ave, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . Jordan's Family Restaurant, Drake's Return Pub and Eatery, catering, business services, souvenir shop. Kitchenettes, laundry, wi-fi. $165 double.
- 3 Dexter Inn & Suites, 1 Moss Crescent, ☏ . Offering 3½ star accommodations close to all amenities.
- 4 Labrador Juniper, 7 Juniper Crescent, ☏ .
- 5 Northern Lights Fishing Lodge, 118 Humphrey Road, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Rental service applies to Gabbro Lake for sport fishing trips.
- 6 Peninsula de Labrador, email@example.com.
- 7 Snowdrift Inn, 329 Vinking Crescent. Hotel.
- 8 The Collegiate Suites Hotel, 200 Campbell Avenue, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotel Rooms, studio suites, one-bedroom suites, two-bedroom suites, studio suite 3, executive loft, and a large conference room.
- 9 Two Seasons Inn, 96 Avalon Dr, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . Hotel, restaurant (steak and seafood, open from 6:30AM - 10PM daily) and a bar. Offers 54 rooms: 20 with double beds, 33 rooms with Queen beds and sofa bed and one room with a King bed and sofa. Two conference rooms, an exercise room, a dining room. Computer station and fitness room.
Bed and Breakfasts
- 10 Trish's Place, 766 Stirling Crescent, ☏ .
|Routes through Labrador City|
|Baie-Comeau ← Fermont ← becomes ←||W E||→ Churchill Falls → Happy Valley-Goose Bay|