Churchill Falls

Churchill Falls is located on the Churchill River in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The waterfalls are dry as the waters of the river have been being diverted into Churchill Falls Hydroelectric Power Station since 1970.

This power station has the second largest capacity of any hyrdroelectric station in North America. It is also the second largest underground power station in the world.

The history of the Churchill Falls Hydroelectric Power Station goes back to 1915 when Wilfred Thibaudeau devised a scheme which could be used to divert the water from the river before it reached the falls. Over the years, several others confirmed his findings and thought to attempt to the project. But due to the geographical remoteness of the area and the severe climate conditions, it was never pursued.

In 1949 Joseph R. Smallwood, the premier of Newfoundland, decided to put the plan into action. Working with several corporations and development companies, the project finally got started in 1967.

After five years of construction to the tune of $950,000,000, the plant began delivering power in December of 1971.

Churchill Falls Epic Proportions

The facility is close to 1,000 feet underground. It’s as high as a 15-story building and over 300 yards in length. The hydroelectic-generating capacity is 5,248 MW installed and expandable to over 6,300 MW. Churchill Falls produces nearly 1% of the world’s total hydroelectric power.

Visiting Churchill Falls

The structure of the hydroelectric plant created enclosed freshwater reservoirs which are now populated with trout, pike and other fish. Churchill Falls has become a very popular place for sport fisherman.

Fisherman and other visitors stay at hunting and fishing lodges in the town of Churchill Falls. In such a remote town, there are only a couple lodging options. The Churchill Falls Inn, which is owned by the power plant, shares a building with the post office, the grocery store, the town government, the movie theater and the high school. This 21-room inn offers a dining room, lounge/bar, cable TV, telephone, private bath and room service. You can reach the inn at 709-925-3211 or toll-free at 800-229-3269.

Other than fishing, the other thing that is a must-do in Churchill Falls is, of course, a tour of the power plant. The plant conducts free tours to the public several times a day, which are very interesting. Tour times are 9:00 am, 1:00 pm and 7:00 pm and arranged at the Churchill Falls Inn.

Visitors can see a variety of wildlife in Churchill Falls, including black bears, caribou, beavers and much more. Temperatures in the summer months are 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit, while winter temperatures oftentimes are as low as -20.

You can reach Churchill Falls using the Trans-Labrador Highway. Churchill Falls is approximately 180 miles from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, or 150 miles from Labrador City.