The land that would come to be the communities of Wabush and Labrador City was first explored by AP Low in 1896. In the 1930’s, ore deposits were more thoroughly examined and, with the development of a railway from Knob Lake to Sept-Iles in the 1950’s, created a gateway to the trench for the mining industry. “It is our chance to stand on our own feet, to do something ourselves,” said Joey Smallwood, then Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, of Labrador’s resources. Labrador West is a place born from the defining spirit of the Smallwood Era, a time when industrialization and efficiency was a strategy for creating prosperity in the Province. The Carol Project at Labrador City was the first mining development in the region. . Labrador City began as the temporary worker camp in 1960 which followed a master plan designed by Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC). It became incorporated as the Local Improvement District of Labrador City in1961. Camp-style housing was later replaced with single-family homes as the campsite became a community.
In 1962, a mining camp at Wabush Lake laid the foundation of what would later become the Town of Wabush, and was incorporated in 1967 as a Local Improvement District. The Town of Wabush was designed in part by Fiset and Deschamps, the architects of the Montreal Expo ’67 master plan.
Creating a Sense of Place
Within an industrial environment and camp origins, both Towns have proven their unique sense of place, an asset for retaining residents and developing a multigenerational population. In the early 1980’s, the privately-owned company towns of Labrador City and Wabush because municipalities, each with its respective elected officials, administrators, governance, and tax schemes.
Today, Labrador West is known across the country as the Iron Ore Capital of Canada.
Modern Day Labrador West
Sixty years ago, the potential to develop the many untapped natural resources of Labrador was the driving force behind many people relocating to “The Big Land.” The area was quickly developed from forests and mountains to two isolated industrial towns with some of the most modern and advanced facilities of the day. Today, there are new generations of people living in Labrador West and iron ore is not the only draw that keeps people here. It truly is a dichotomy of pristine wilderness and industrial development.
To newcomers, Labrador West is a mosaic of the pleasantly unexpected. With an economy largely based on the mining industry, we offer diverse work opportunities within large-scale operations, contracted companies or the service industry.