The area that is now known as Grand Falls-Windsor was first settled in 1905 when representatives of the London Daily Mail established the site for Newfoundland’s first pulp and paper mill. Under the leadership of the Harmsworth brothers, the Anglo-Newfoundland Development (A.N.D.) Company attracted workers from all over the colony, the mainland of North America and Europe. For many Newfoundlanders this event marked one of the first times cash had been tendered on a regular basis in return for labour.
The former towns of Grand Falls and Windsor amalgamated in 1991, and formed the new community of Grand Falls-Windsor. Grand Falls-Windsor is the largest town in the area with a population of almost 15,000. Located 456 km west of St. John's and 272 km east of Corner Brook.
As the area's major service centre, Grand Falls-Windsor is also a tourists dream. With above average temperatures in the summer and beautiful, snow covered winters, there is plenty to do year round.
The Town's major event for the year is the Exploits Valley Salmon Festival, held each July over a five-day period. Some of the world's top musical acts entertain here including the Tragically Hip, Bryan Adams, and Nellie Furtodo and the festival has been chosen as one the Top 100 Events by the American Bus Association. In addition, Grand Falls-Windsor has been host to several other major concerts that included the Beach Boys in 1988 and Bon Jovi in 1995.
No visit to Grand Falls-Windsor would be complete without a trip to the Salmonid Interpretation Centre, located near the banks of the Exploits River. This is one of the largest Atlantic Salmon Enhancement projects in North America. Here you can view migrating salmon from the observation windows in the lower deck. As well, enjoy a hot meal at the on-site restaurant or visit their gift shop. This facility is wheel-chair accessible.
As you can see, the previous mentions relate to the Atlantic salmon. The Exploits River, the province’s largest river sees over 25,000 salmon migrate through it each year. This river is a salmon fisherman’s dream come true. It boasts some of the best salmon fishing in Atlantic Canada.
Grand Falls-Windsor is blessed with several parks and walking trails. The Corduroy Brook Nature Trail offers a sense of serenity and an attractive setting suitable for all ages and abilities. This nature trail takes participants on a scenic journey along Corduroy Brook. It is nature's beauty at its best. Church Road park is one of the jewels for the town. A former baseball field, it was converted to a beautiful walking park in the early 1970’s and is a focal point for locals and visitors alike. Just off Sanger Memorial RV Park, take a peaceful stroll along the Exploits River. This walking trail will take your breath away with it natural beauty.
The community also has one of the finest recreational facilities in the province in the Exploits YMCA. The “Y” is equipped with a swimming pool, gymnasium, weight room, squash courts, aerobics equipment, day care centre, and is attached to the Windsor Stadium.
Continuing to head east, you will travel through a scenic river valley and on to Beothuk Park, where a fascinating exhibit recreates the history of early logging in Newfoundland. Visitors can walk through a logging camp and see exhibits that date back to the 1700s.
Loggers had a hard life, and they had a lingo all their own. A bang belly was a pork and molasses cake made with soda that could be baked, fried, or boiled in a stew like dumplings. A peavie was a cart hook for rolling heavy timber. The exhibit includes a barn, a forge, a saw filing shack, a saw pit, and a go-devil - a sled with heavy runners used to haul logs over bare ground.
The highway through this beautiful valley follows the Exploits River, which was the main access to the sea for Beothuk bands that travelled far into Notre Dame Bay by canoe to hunt seabirds and fish.
In Grand Falls-Windsor, the Mary March Regional Museum is located on St. Catherine Street. The museum is named in honour of one of the last of the Beothuks and traces the 5,000-year human history of central Newfoundland through a range of exhibits. There are also exhibits on the complex history and traditions of other native peoples who lived in the region and trace the development of the later European settlement.
If you live and work in Grand Falls-Windsor, it will be apparent that the town is growing in leaps and bounds. Housing starts are literally “going through the roof” with new subdivisions popping up throughout the community. A strong, steady economy is the catalyst for this growth. The community has the third largest health care centre in the province, serving over 100,000 patients each year. With substantial mining activity taking place just west of Grand Falls-Windsor, and with aquaculture opportunities on the south coast taking root, Grand Falls-Windsor is strategically positioned to service these two growing sectors.
Grand Falls-Windsor has also diversified its economy with a strong Information Technology presence in the EXCITE Building, generating over $8 million in salaries into the region each year. Grand Falls-Windsor also continues to be the center for the five major transportation companies in the province, as all call Grand Falls-Windsor home. With record housing starts, retail sales, and automobile sales in the past twelve months, Grand Falls-Windsor future is indeed bright.
Grand Falls-Windsor offers a quality of life second to none. A recent influx of former Newfoundlander’s migrating back to Grand Falls-Windsor to retire is an indication of the high level of standards that citizens have come to expect and have received. Grand Falls-Windsor offers its citizens and visitors a variety of experiences, both summer and winter. If you’re a hockey fan, take in a Cataract’s home hockey game every second week; utilize the Exploits Curling Club or Memory Lanes Bowling alley. With two hockey arenas in town, there are plenty of opportunities for minor or Recreation hockey for both the young and old.
Grand Falls-Windsor has a lot to offer both visitors and citizens alike. Grand Falls-Windsor is a safe, family oriented community and we welcome you to contact us if you wish any further information on our town.