Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador Canada

Discover Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland Labrador: A Historical and Touristic Overview

Introduction to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland Labrador

Happy Valley-Goose Bay, known in Inuit as Vâli, is a vibrant town nestled in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Situated on the coast of Lake Melville and the Churchill River in central Labrador, it is the region's largest population centre, boasting an estimated 8,040 residents as of 2021. The town, incorporated in 1973, is a fusion of the former town of Happy Valley and the Local Improvement District of Goose Bay. Established on a large sandy plateau in 1941, Happy Valley-Goose Bay is home to the largest military air base in northeastern North America, CFB Goose Bay.

The Historical Journey of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland Labrador

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. The base quickly became a landing and refueling stop for the Atlantic Ferry route. The first settlers, who came from coastal Labrador to work with McNamara Construction Company, established a community initially called Refugee Cove, which was renamed Happy Valley in 1955.

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

The Geography of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland Labrador

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

The Climate of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland Labrador

Happy Valley-Goose Bay experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb) bordering on a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc). The town sees significant snowfall in the winter, with average highs around −12 °C (10 °F), and summer highs average 20 °C (68 °F). Snowfall averages nearly 460 centimetres (180 in) per year, and occurs in all months except July and August. Precipitation, at nearly 950 millimetres (37.4 in), is significant year-round.

The Canadian Forces Base in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland Labrador

CFB Goose Bay saw a reduction of NATO low-level tactical flight training in the decade 1996–2005. 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 was also an alternative, but unused, landing site for the now-decommissioned NASA Space Shuttle.

The Local Improvement District of Goose Bay, Newfoundland Labrador

Before its amalgamation with Happy Valley, the Local Improvement District of Goose Bay was established in 1970. It grew to include other areas of the base until 1973, when it comprised all of the base area.

The Demographics of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland Labrador

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Happy Valley-Goose Bay had a population of 8,040 living in 3,072 of its 3,390 total private dwellings. With a land area of 304.52 km2 (117.58 sq mi), it had a population density of 26.4/km2 (68.4/sq mi) in 2021. The 2011 census showed that Happy Valley-Goose Bay has outgrown Labrador City and is now the largest community in Labrador.

Transportation in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland Labrador


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


The town was serviced by boat and container ship to the ports from Newfoundland and the port of Montreal. In the summer, a ferry service connects Happy Valley-Goose Bay with Cartwright.


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.