Happy Valley - Goose Bay was established with the development of the Goose Bay Air Force Base during the Second World War. The Base's site was selected as it was a level site far enough inland to avoid the temperamental North Atlantic. Deep deposits of sand (in places up to 400 feet deep) also eased construction.
The Base attracted men from the existing communities in the upper Lake Melville area and from the coast of Labrador. The first workers returned home in the winter at the end of the construction season. However, families from all over Labrador and Newfoundland soon arrived and began looking for work themselves. The first three families came by motor boat in September of 1943 from Davis Inlet, Big Bay and Makkovik (towns on the north coast of Labrador).
Prior to the establishment of the Base, the river now known as the Churchill River was called the Grand River by the Trappers who used it. During the Military presence it became known as the Hamilton River and so the new village that was growing along the river banks became known as the Hamilton River Settlement.
In the 1960s the Newfoundland Government changed the name of the river once again. Now it became the Churchill River as a result of an agreement between Premier Joseph Smallwood and Sir Winston Churchill of England for the development of the Churchill Falls.
Since that time the Town has seen significant growth. The Town of Happy Valley - Goose Bay is now the transportation and administrative hub of Labrador. In the 1940s, Goose Bay Airport was one of the busiest airports in the world during the massive trans-Atlantic supply effort of World War II. The Airport has been managed and utilized by a variety of nations throughout the years. Today the Airport is capable of handling the largest aircraft in the world. In 1983, the Goose Bay Airfield gained international attention when the Boeing 747 carrying the NASA Space Shuttle landed for a refuelling stop. It was a historical event since this was the space shuttles first landing outside the United States. Today the Airfield is operated in support of the military training programs of a number of the worlds air forces. The Towns economy is dependent on this military base, now known as 5th Wing Goose Bay. The base is an integral part of our community.
Incorporated in 1961, the Town is home to a population of approximately 8000 with a diverse mix of cultures and nationalities. We are home to native Innu and Inuit, to Métis and transplanted Canadians and Newfoundlanders and transit military personnel from around the world. The people of Happy Valley - Goose Bay have a broad perspective of the world. The population is young and vibrant with an above average number of technically trained individuals. Education levels are impressive; in fact, the residents of this area are on average better educated than both their provincial and national counterparts.
The Town of Happy Valley - Goose Bay has grown into the transportation and administrative hub of Labrador. The Goose Bay Airport represents a critical piece of the transportation network. The Town is also connected to the North American highway system via the Trans-Labrador Highway and its commercial marina facility provides direct access to the Atlantic Ocean.
The Goose Bay Airfield is one of the largest airport facilities in eastern Canada. Equipped with two major runways, one is 3367 metres (11,046 feet) long while the other is 2,920 metres (9,580 feet) in length. The Airfield supports flight training programs for the worlds Air Forces and supports all the navigational aids that accompany a technologically sophisticated air traffic control radar system required as a major international airport and a military training facility.
The Town offers all the modern conveniences and is home to a regional teaching hospital, a campus of the College of the North Atlantic and Memorial University Labrador Institute. The Town also offers superb recreational facilities. In addition to world class fishing, hunting and wilderness recreational opportunities are just minutes away from the center of town. Happy Valley - Goose Bay has clean air and water and lots of untamed wilderness. In Summer and Fall, this is a fishing, hiking and canoeing paradise. In Winter, we have both alpine and cross-country skiing facilities, hundreds of kilometres of groomed snowmobile trails, a winter carnival, and other major events designed to celebrate this wonderful season.
Labrador is a region that is undergoing rapid changes. There are numerous major development projects at the early planning to initial development stages. The most well known are the Voisey's Bay Nickel and the Lower Churchill Hydro projects. With the extension of the Trans Labrador Highway to the coast of Labrador over the next five years, the Town is anticipating significant new opportunities in tourism and forestry.
As the regional commercial, transportation and government center, Happy Valley - Goose Bay is looking forward optimistically to the future.
The Gift Shoppe has Coffee Mugs with the Newfoundland Dog on them.
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