Churchill Falls

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Churchill Falls
Grand Falls
Churchill Falls is located in Newfoundland and Labrador
Churchill Falls
Coordinates53°35′39.44″N 64°18′28.05″W / 53.5942889°N 64.3077917°W / 53.5942889; -64.3077917Coordinates: 53°35′39.44″N 64°18′28.05″W / 53.5942889°N 64.3077917°W / 53.5942889; -64.3077917[1]
TypeSegmented Block
Total height245 ft (75 m)
WatercourseChurchill River

Churchill Falls is a 245 ft (75 m) high waterfall in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. In 1970, the waters of the Churchill River were diverted to the reservoir of the Churchill Falls Generating Station so water flowing down the falls is just a trickle. About once a decade, when the reservoir hits maximum water levels, there is a controlled release of water over the falls, when flow is at about 10 per cent of what it would have been before the construction of the reservoir.[2]

The falls were a significant landmark for local indigenous peoples; the Innu believed that to look on these awe-inspiring falls meant death and called them Patshishetshuanau (where the current makes clouds of vapour).[3] In 1839, Hudson's Bay Company trader John McLean was the first non-Aboriginal to reach the area. He named the river the Hamilton River after colonial governor Charles Hamilton. In 1894 geologist and explorer Albert Peter Low of the Geological Survey of Canada reached Grand Falls, as they were then known.[4]

Plans were made as early as 1915 to divert the falls' source for power generation, but were not deemed viable. With the development of the iron ore mines in western Labrador and the construction of the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway in 1954, development of the drainage basin as a power source became feasible.

The name of the river and falls was changed in 1965 to honour former British prime minister, Winston Churchill.

The hydroelectric project started in 1967 and water to the site was cut off in 1970.



  1. ^ "GeoNames Query - Churchill Falls: Query Record Details". Natural Resources Canada. Government of Canada. 2008-11-09. Archived from the original on 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
  2. ^ "Water will be released over Churchill Falls for 4th time in about 30 years". CBC. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  3. ^ James Marsh (2010). "Churchill Falls". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 9, 2010.
  4. ^ Dawson, G. M. (1896). Report on Explorations of the Labrador Peninsula along the East Main, Koksoak, Hamilton, Manicuagan and portions of other rivers in 1892-93-94-95. Ottawa: Geological Survey of Canada. p. 6. Retrieved 14 July 2019.

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