Badger, Newfoundland and Labrador Canada

Discover Badger, Newfoundland Labrador: A Town Steeped in History and Natural Beauty

Nestled in north-central Newfoundland, Badger is a charming town in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Situated on the Exploits River, this town has a rich history and a vibrant community.

Badger, Newfoundland Labrador: A Snapshot of the Demographics

According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Badger is home to 682 residents living in 313 of its 357 total private dwellings. This represents a slight decrease of -3.1% from its 2016 population of 704. With a land area of 1.89 km2 (0.73 sq mi), Badger had a population density of 360.8/km2 (934.6/sq mi) in 2021.

The Early History of Badger, Newfoundland Labrador

The town's name was derived from Badger Brook, a tributary of the Exploits River that flows through the town. The history of human settlement in Badger can be traced back to the Beothuck, who lived where Badger Brook flows into the Exploits River. The area was also used by the Mi'kmaq as a campsite when traveling to the Exploits River and on to Halls Bay.

The Logging and Lumbering Era in Badger, Newfoundland Labrador

The first permanent resident of the town is believed to be John Paul, who trapped in the current Badger area along with John Barrington. The area remained a wilderness until about 1894 when the Newfoundland Railway was established. Lumbering operations commenced around the same time, providing logs for the Exploit Lumber Company. The company established a mill at Badger around the turn of the century. The lumbering operations were taken over by Harry Judson Crowe between 1905–1909, who later sold the timber limits to the A.E. Reed (Newfoundland) company.

Badger, Newfoundland Labrador and the "Badger Drive"

Badger played a crucial role in logging as it was the starting point of the "Badger Drive". This log drive took place on the Exploits River between Badger and Grand Falls from 1908–1991. The drive was famously described by John Valentine Devine in his song The Badger Drive. During the 1920s, a tractor repair garage was also built by A.N.D. Co. in the town.

The Recent History of Badger, Newfoundland Labrador

The construction of a bridge over the Exploits River at Grand Falls in the early 1960s diminished Badger's importance as the gateway into the lumber woods. Despite this, logging remained important to the community for many years. Some residents found employment in mining at the nearby Buchans and Gullbridge mines. However, the closure of these mines and the Newfoundland Railway in 1988 took much importance away from the town. Today, many residents commute to Grand Falls-Windsor for work and school. The town economy includes several gas stations and restaurants, a heavy equipment training school, and a metal fabrication establishment.

Badger was hit by a catastrophic flood on February 15, 2003, when the Exploits River, Red Indian River, and Badger River were backed up with ice jams, causing water levels to rise 2.5 meters and flooding the town. The town was forced to evacuate, and many found lodging in nearby Grand Falls-Windsor. In 2008, a novel by J. A. Ricketts, The Badger Riot, was written depicting the events of the IWA Strike in 1959. The book became the bestselling book in Atlantic Canada for that year.