Churchill River (Atlantic)

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Churchill River
Churchill river newfoundland and churchill falls.PNG
Churchill River and waterfalls, Labrador
Native name (Grand River, Mishtashipu)
Country Canada
Physical characteristics
Main source Smallwood Reservoir, Labrador
1,550 m (5,085 ft)
River mouth Atlantic Ocean
Length 856 km (532 mi)
Basin features
Basin size 79,800 km2 (30,800 sq mi)

The Churchill River is a river in Newfoundland and Labrador which flows east from the Smallwood Reservoir in Labrador into the Atlantic Ocean via Lake Melville. The river is 856 km (532 mi) long and drains an area of 79,800 km2 (30,800 sq mi); it is the longest river in Atlantic Canada.

The river is still known locally as Mishtashipu or Mishta-shipu (″Grand River″) by the Labrador Innu and its western section as Patshishetshuanau-shipu by the Central Innu, the peoples of NunatuKavut (Labrador-Metis) and Nunatsiavut, and settlers who identify as Labradorians call it the Grand River.

In 1821, Captain William Martin, in command of HM brig Clinker, took it upon himself to name the river the Hamilton River after the then Commodore-Governor of Newfoundland, Sir Charles Hamilton. On February 1, 1965, the river was renamed the Churchill River by Premier Joey Smallwood, in honour of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.


Hydroelectric projects[edit]

Churchill Falls known by the Central Innu peoples as Patshishetshuanau is the site of a major hydroelectric project, which has a rated capacity of 5,428 MW. Other hydroelectric plants on the river are planned bringing the total to over 9,200 MW. The Churchill Falls development has become a source of friction between two Canadian provinces. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador believes that Hydro-Québec, which provided a major part of the financing and access to the North American power grid, has taken a disproportionate share of the profits from this development. Hydro-Québec buys power from the Churchill Falls project at rates established in 1969.

U Boat[edit]

It is believed (although it is pure speculation at this point) that the wreck of a U Boat has been found just downstream of Muskrat Falls.[1]

Further reading[edit]

A.P. Low and party on a hauling picnic up Lake Winokapau, Hamilton River (now the Churchill River), Labrador, 1894.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brennan, Richard J. (26 July 2012). "German U-boat wreck may be at bottom of Churchill River in Labrador". Toronto Star. Retrieved 31 March 2016. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°20′58″N 60°10′39″W / 53.34944°N 60.17750°W / 53.34944; -60.17750