Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador: Wikis


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Happy Valley-Goose Bay
—  Town  —


Coordinates: 53°18′07″N 60°25′00″W / 53.30194°N 60.4166667°W / 53.30194; -60.4166667
Country  Canada
Province  Newfoundland and Labrador
Census division 10
Settled 1942
Incorporated 1973
 - Type Happy Valley-Goose Bay Town Council
 - Mayor Leo Abass
 - Total 305.85 km2 (118.1 sq mi)
Elevation 12 m (39 ft)
Population (2006)[1]
 - Total 7,572
 - Density 24.8/km2 (64.2/sq mi)
Time zone Atlantic Time (UTC-4)
 - Summer (DST) Atlantic Daylight Time (UTC-3)
Postal Code Span A0P
Area code(s) 709
Highways Highway 500
Website Official website

Happy Valley-Goose Bay is a Canadian town in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Located in the central part of Labrador, the town is the largest population centre in that region. Incorporated in 1973, the town composes the former town of Happy Valley and the Local Improvement District of Goose Bay. Built on a large sandy plateau in 1941, the town is home to the largest military air base in northeastern North America, CFB Goose Bay.



In the summer of 1941, Eric Fry, an employee of the Canadian Department of Mines and Resources on loan to the Royal Canadian Air Force, selected a large sandy plateau near the mouth of the Goose River to build the Goose Bay Air Force Base. Docking facilities for transportation of goods and personnel was built at Terrington Basin.

Goose Air Base became a landing and refuelling stop for the Atlantic Ferry route. Soon after the site was selected, men from the coast of Labrador began working on the base. With World War II in bloom, it took only five months to build an operational military airport on the leased territory.

The first settlers to the area came from coastal Labrador to work with McNamara Construction Company, which was contracted to build the Goose Bay Air Force Base. Their first choice was Otter Creek, where they were told that it would have been too close to the base. A new location was chosen based upon the requirement to be at least eight kilometres from the base. In 1942, a new site was chosen that was first called Refugee Cove; it was not until 1955 that it eventually was renamed Happy Valley.[2]

The first three families to arrive to work at the construction of the base were the Saunderses from Davis Inlet, the Broomfields from Big Bay, and the Perraults from Makkovik.

Happy Valley's first school was operated by a Mrs. Perrault from her home until 1946, when the Royal Canadian Air Force donated a building. In 1949, the Air Force donated a second building which became the North Star School.

The Grenfell Mission operated the first medical facilities when it opened a nursing station in 1951. In 1963, the provincial government built Paddon Memorial Hospital.


Happy Valley-Goose Bay lies at the southwest end of Lake Melville near the mouth of the Churchill River. The town is located on the southern shore of a peninsula created by Terrington Basin to the north and Goose Bay at the south.



Weather data for Happy Valley-Goose Bay
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 11.6
Average high °C (°F) -12.9
Average low °C (°F) -23.3
Record low °C (°F) -38.9
Precipitation mm (inches) 64.6
Source: Environment Canada[3] 2009-07-15

Canadian Forces Base

CFB Goose Bay has seen a reduction of NATO low-level tactical flight training in the past decade, and the town is facing an uncertain future as the federal government has reduced the number of permanent Canadian Forces Air Command personnel to fewer than 100 all-ranks. The last NATO nations to use CFB Goose Bay for flight training, Germany and Italy, did not renew their leases after terminating in early 2006.

The runway at Happy Valley-Goose Bay is also an alternative, but so far unused, landing site for the NASA space shuttle, due to its size and length.

Local Improvement District of Goose Bay

Prior to its amalgamation with Happy Valley, the Local Improvement District of Goose Bay was set up in 1970 and included an area called Spruce Park and the Canadian Department of Transport Housing areas. It grew to include other areas of the base until 1973, when it comprised all of the base area.


The population of Happy Valley by 1945 reached 229 people, made up mostly of workers who serviced the base. According to records kept by the newly-organized United Church, in 1953 there were 116 families in the whole community, which had one UC school. About 50 families were United Church; 25 were Anglican, 25 Moravian, 14 Pentecostal and 2 Catholic. By 1956, the population was 1,145, and by 1961, it had risen to 2 861, then doubled by 1966 to 4,215. Before the community of Happy Valley had amalgamated with the Local Improvement District of Goose Bay, the population was 4,937.

According to the Canadian Government's 2006 census the community of Happy Valley-Goose Bay has a population of 7,572. This represents a 5.0% decrease from the 2001 population of 7,969. According to the same statistics, the median age of the community is 35.7 years, with 79.9% of the population being above the age of 15 (compared with the provincial median age of 41.7 and 84.5%).

At 65%, the majority of the population is of white ethnic (Caucasian) background. There is also a sizeable population of aboriginal peoples, at approximately 35% of the population. Other ethnic groups present in Happy Valley-Goose Bay are Black and South Asian.

The community is largely Protestant, at 73.9%, with a Catholic minority at 20.1%. About 1% of the population claims other religions, and 5% claim "no religious affiliation."



Happy Valley and Goose Bay are connected by the Trans-Labrador Highway with Labrador City and Baie-Comeau in Quebec. The road is being extended south to link with an existing road from the Blanc Sablon-St Barbe ferry. It is scheduled to open in 2009.

Prior to 1954, hardly any licence plates were issued to Labrador communities except for Happy Valley and the Goose Bay area. A series of small plates was issued to help fund road development. It was not until the mid 1960s that all of Labrador started using regular Newfoundland and Labrador licence plates.[4]


The town was serviced by boat and container ship to the ports from Newfoundland and the port of Montreal. Most of the town's supplies were transported by container vessels brought to the docking facilities located at Terrington Basin. These facilities were operated by Transport Canada. The shipping season usually lasted from June to December. In the summer a ferry service connects Happy Valley-Goose Bay with Cartwright, Labrador and Lewisporte, Newfoundland.


Air Canada and Eastern Provincial Airways were the first air carriers in the area to carry passengers from outside the area into CFB Goose Bay. Labrador Airways Limited provided air transportation to local communities. Located at Otter Creek is a seaplane base that also provided airlifts to local communities and tourist lodges in the interior of Labrador.

Appearance in Flightplan

The town was featured in the 2005 movie Flightplan, when a plane makes its emergency landing at the air base in Newfoundland after a woman reports her daughter missing from the flight.

See also


  • Newfoundland's Namescape Unpublished manuscript, Floreen Carter, Phelps Publishing, London Ont. for information see Wayne Ray
  1. ^ Population and dwelling counts
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador, Volume Two, (p 797) ISBN 0-9693422-2-5
  3. ^ Environment Canada Canadian Climate Normals 1971–2000, accessed 15 July 2009
  4. ^ History of Newfoundland Licence Plates

Coordinates: 53°18′07″N 60°25′00″W / 53.30194°N 60.4166667°W / 53.30194; -60.4166667


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