THE BIG BANG AND SOD TURNING CEREMONIES TAKE PLACE TO START CONSTRUCTION OF THE $800,000,000.?
AERIAL SHOT Churchill Falls
AERIAL SHOT Churchill Falls
AERIAL SHOT Churchill River, bridge in distance (BRINCO BRIDGE)
MS PAN l/r Churchill River, tilt up to bridge
MS Atop bridge, tilt down from Canadian Flag to Premier Joseph Smallwood talking to others
MCS Mr. Jean-Claude Lessard, Pres. Hydro-Quebec, shaking hands with small boy and woman
MCS Premier Smallwood speaking
Premier Smallwood cutting ribbon at Bridge
Crowd walking across bridge towards camera
MS PAN L/R Premier Smallwood with Winston Churchill
MLS Crowds on bridge PAN L/R to Churchill River
MLS TILT DOWN from Centennial flags to Lessard speaking on dais
CS Lessard speaking
MS Crowd, sitting, listening
CS Don McFarland, President, Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation speaking
MS TILT DOWN from Centennial flags to Churchill speaking (grandson of Sir Winston)
CS Churchill speaking
Churchill speaking, crowds listening, fg
PAN L/R from movie cameramen to crowds listening
MLS Trade Minister Robert Winters speaking
MS Winters speaking.
CS Edmund de Rothschild, Deputy Chairman, BRINCO and CF(L)CO, on right of screen listening
S LA Enemy Minister, Jean-Luc Pepin, speaking
MS L/R Donald Gordon, Chairman, Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation, C.P. Manning, Vice President and Secretary of Churchill Falls, and de Rothschild
PAN L/R from movie cameraman to ls of Premier Smallwood speaking
MS Premier Smallwood speaking
LS Premier Smallwood speaking
MLS Crowds listening, RCMP in fg.
MS Premier Smallwood presenting gift to Churchill (silver caribou)
MS Crowds listening
MS Premier Smallwood presenting gift of Labradorito stone with commemorative plaque to Donald Gordon
Premier Smallwood turning soil, others watching
Premier Smallwood ready to pull plunger
MS Explosions on hill
MCS PAN L/R from Churchill, de Rothschild and Premier Smallwood
LS Crowds atop cliff, Churchill Falls in bg
LS PAN L/R from Falls to Churchill River
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Background: THE BIG BANG AND SOD TURNING CEREMONIES TAKE PLACE TO START CONSTRUCTION OF THE $800,000,000. CHURCHILL FALLS HYDRO-ELECTRIC PROJECT IN LABRADOR. PREVIOUSLY KNOWN AS HAMILTON FALLS THE WATERS BECAME KNOWN AS CHURCHILL FALLS IN 1965 AS A MARK OF HONOUR IN WHICH SIR WINSTON'S NAME WILL EVER BE HELD BY NEWFOUNDLANDERS
Aside from local Labrador Indians, it has been estimated that as late as 1930 only some 50 people had seen these grand falls of the Hamilton River (also renamed Churchill River). The falls had been a matter of curiosity and of legend...
In 1952, come 3 years after Newfoundland joined Confederation, the Premier of the Province, the Honourable Joseph Smallwood, undertook to interest private companies and capital in the human and natural resources of Newfoundland and Labrador. He was successful and in 1953 the British Newfoundland Corporation (BRINCO) was formed. This group has steadily expanded; and it is worth noting that 95% of the shareholders in this company are residents of Canada.
Since 1953, BRINCO has brought into being the first major power plant in Labrador, an installation of 240,000 horsepower at Twin Falls near the Churchill, and the companies activities in mineral exploration have been considerable, and have opened up a remote and relatively untapped area of Canada.
The Churchill River area had never been adequately mapped. Fundamental investigation was necessary on the hydrology of the River system and the local topography. It was necessary to organise the engineering and financial expertise which would have to be assembled in order to bring to ultimate realization such a large and complex undertaking. In the late 50's BRINCO formed the Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation to develop the drainage basis of the Upper Churchill River. This latter Company is the company directly responsible for the development of the Churchill Falls Power Project, a Canadian project of a special nature.
At the site of the Falls nature has provided, in a distance of 16 miles, a fall in the river is almost the drop of the entire Great Lakes-St. Lawrence System. The spectacular Churchill Falls (245') themselves are close to 100' higher the Niagara Falls. Thus a head of about 1100' can be developed in a distance of one mile, accomplished by diverting the river to the edge of the Labrador escarpment and impounding it there with relatively low dykes. No massive river dam is required to harness the raging torrent of the Churchill. The power-house will be tunnelled deep into the heart of the plateau from low on the canyon walls below the escarpment. Penstocks under the flooded area will conduct the water down to the power-house, where it will pass through the turbines and on to the river downstream. A reservoir backed up by the river diversion will create a lake half the size of Lake Ontario. This reservoir will be fed by a drainage basin the area of the Province of New Brunswick. This classic site provided by nature, so endowed with water and with concentrated availability of head, when combined with sound engineering and modern construction techniques, will lead to a large block of low cost energy.
While fundamental investigation were being carried out, a railroad was built from the north shore of the St. Lawrence River to open the iron mines to the north and this provided access to the power site. By 1962 adequate preliminary data indicated that harnessing of the power and transmission over considerable distances were technically feasible and economically attractive and in 1963/64 more detailed engineering and financial studies were proceeded with.
Construction work on Churchill Falls had been delayed pending renegotiation for disposal of power, but within a month of the signing of the Letter of Intent (October 1966) between Hydro-Quebec and Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation construction forces were moving into the site. The document provided for the sale to Quebec of essentially all of the output from the Churchill Falls Power Development which is surplus to the needs of Newfoundland. By a combination of governmental and private interests working together one of the world's greatest natural resources is being developed.
The Churchill Falls Power Project (an installation of 6,000,000 horsepower potential) is now underway. Premier Joseph Smallwood dramatically made the countdown for the big bang marking the official start of work on the giant project's intake system and powerhouse. As he pressed the plunger the equivalent force of six 500 Lb. bombs exploded on top of the hill opposite the main construction campsite. And 15 miles away the turbulent waters of the mighty Churchill River tumbled down the 250' falls in full glory. By 1972 the turbulence will be hushed forever as the upper Churchill waters are diverted into the turbine intakes to turn the generators and pump out power to hungry towns and factories hundreds of miles away.
The present campsite will grow. A new Labrador town will spring up -- accommodation, services and facilities are being provided to take care of 1969 when peak-time workers will number some 6,000. This summer new roads are being completed and old ones improved. Driving of the tunnels to the underground powerhouse will proceed in the latter part of this year. Delivery of power from the project in 1972 will meet the urgent and ever growing demand for low cost energy in large quantities in Eastern Canada.
To Ceremonies, presided over by Premier Joseph Smallwood, were attended by BRINCO President, Donald Gordon; Federal Trade Minister, Robert Winters; Don McParland, President of Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation Limited; Federal Energy Minister Jean-Luc Pepin; the distinguished British merchant banker Edmund de Rothschild, Deputy Chairman of BRINCO and CF(L)CL; Jean-Claude Lessard, President of Hydro-Quebec; Winston S. Churchill the late British Prime Minister's grandson.