More Useless Facts about Central Newfoundland

Here’s a mishmash of useless and interesting facts I have turned up in the past year or so. 

Parts of Beaumont Avenue are thought to have been a Beothuk portage.

There was a trail from Peterview to Badger in 1890! It included the portage mentioned above

There wasn’t an actual road between Grand Falls and Badger until 1936.

The Botwood Highway-from “just east of the Golf Course” in Grand Falls to Botwood was paved in the Summer/Fall of 1950.

Botwood Highway paving 1950 10 06

Joe Hampton’s ferry only operated from August of 1951 to 1958. 

A & W was in Grand Falls long before McDonalds, the first one opened in the 1960s.

Hiscock’s experimented with Pizza in the early 1970s.

McDonalds opened  on Monday  October 18, 1982; through the ribbon was cut for the official opening two days later. There is a very strong possibility that Grimace was there for the event. 

The first Pizza franchisee in town was a Pizza Delight. It opened in January of 1971. The Franchisee was also  the owner-operator of the Canadian Tire. Since pizza was new and exotic, the largest size you could get was 12 inch.



In 1921 there was a Strike at the Paper mill, the next strike at the mill? 1975.

The Newfoundland Constabulary was responsible for policing Grand Falls, Windsor, Botwood, Bishop’s Falls and Buchans until 1950. What is more curious is that their jurisdiction included the Buchans Railway, Buchans Junction and Millertown Junction-must have been because of all the gold. The Newfoundland Rangers were responsible for law enforcement in Badger, and actually had a district headquarters there. The Badger Ranger District only contained the communities of Badger and Millertown, but there were times of the year when the district might have had a population of over 3000.

The incinerator on New Bay Road was built long before it was put into commission. It was claimed that the unpaved road would have destroyed the garbage trucks using it.

Wooddale was named for an official with the Department of Agriculture.

Botwood is known for its important role as a stopover for early trans-Atlantic commercial flights. This role only lasted about eight years (about 1937-45). The last Pan-America clipped stopped in Botwood at the end of October 1945. 

The Grand Falls Central Railway made its last run in June of 1977, but paper shipments by rail had ceased long before. From 1975 to 1977 it was mainly used to ship ore from Buchans. 

Fanny Austin of Springdale was the first resident of the Carmelite House.

74 Dec 23 Carmelite Christmas Charity
First residents of the Carmelite Senior Citizens Home, Christmas 1974


There were at least three different soft drink manufacturers/bottling plants in Grand Falls-Winsor over the years: Bond Beverages (originally known as Goodbond), Crystal Springs, and Browning Harvey.


But Coca Cola was never bottled in Grand Falls or Windsor.

Coca Cola was bottled by Gaden’s in Bishop’s Falls.

Taxis were called busses in Grand Falls and Windsor until the 1980s. They were in fact a type or Jitney cab and had fixed schedules.

Joey Smallwood briefly lived in Grand Falls in the early 1920s. He was organizing a union at the mill.

Joey Smallwood turns the sod on the new paper machine that would come to be known as Moby Joe. He is assisted by not one, but two people who would be Presidents of Price, not one BUT TWO children, and one founder of the Newfoundland Federation of Labour.


Ron Pollett a once celebrated but now largely forgotten Newfoundland writer lived in Grand Falls as well.

The Archbishop of Canterbury stayed at the Grand Falls House.

Central Funeral Homes was originally the Pentecostal Church.

There was a drive in theater in Bishop’s Falls in the 1970s and 80s.

74 Jun 24 porno at the valley drive in !!!!
The Valley Drive in was a drive in movie theatre that operated in Bishop’s Falls in the 1970s and 80s. Many of the movies were a little “questionable.” I can imagine there were a few teenage boys hiding in the woods for some of these.
Brother Gagnon 1988
Grand Falls Advertiser, July 2, 1988. “no affiliation with any TV or Satellite Preachers”; but he may possibly raise a person from the dead at his revival. 


Things Brother Gagnon is against:

  • Christmas
  • Christmas Trees
  • Swimming
  • Puppets
  • Presumably Muppets
  • The Roman Catholic Church

Kelly’s was called the Inn Terrior-as in Interior, as in the interior of Newfoundland.

Jimi Jacks is one of the oldest buildings in Grand Falls-Windsor


The first “licensed tavern” in the Grand Falls area was the Clipper Tavern located on the Botwood Highway around where Neighbor’s Convenience Store was. It was opened by former Newfoundland Ranger (the irony is not lost because rangers spent a lot of time looking for bootleggers and brewers of overproof beer) Clifford Gill in April of 1950. It was later renamed the Quarterdeck Club. Not many will remember it, because it burned down in 1958. I believe the Oasis opened in 1950 as well, but later in the year. 

58 07 09 Quarterdeck clipper tavern first in Grand Falls

77 Jul 07 Wayne Rostad at Careys

Wayne Rostad worked for CBC Radio in Grand Falls for a number of years in the 1970s and early 80s, which explains why there were a relatively large number of segments of his show “On the Road Again” dealing with Central Newfoundland, including:

  • Clarence the Caribou in Buchans
  • Claude S. Pickford’s large collection of hats.


Claude S. Pickford had a very large collection of baseball caps

Max Taylor had a large collection of autographs

and pens.

Clarence the Caribou was a caribou that wandered into Buchan’s in the late 1980s, eventually becoming quite tame, and a town pet. Clarence turned out to be female, but her name wasn’t changed. 

Both Protestant and Catholic Children originally attended GFA, as did children from what became Windsor.

The Roman Catholics broke away in about 1910 or 11. The Protestant denominations stayed with GFA, even though everywhere else in Newfoundland each denomination maintained separate schools, including Windsor. An Anglican School was built in Grand Falls Station in 1924 or 25 for children too small to walk to GFA.

Grand Falls was built on Reid Lot 59. Reid Lots were lands given to the Reid Newfoundland Company for building the Newfoundland Railway in the 1890s. The Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company originally bought part of Reid lot 59 to build Grand Falls, the other part is across the river, and they didn’t buy that until the 1920s. Reid Lot 58 is in the back of Windsor.

Grand Falls Stadium was built with a capacity of 3000.

In August of 1955 Alex “Slim” Way of Grand Falls wrestled a bear when the circus was in town. It was more or less a “training” bear being muzzled and padded up, but it still was a 600 pound bear. 

Botwood originally consisted of communities called Ship Cove and Red Rod Cove.

There was a steam powered sawmill at Peterview in 1869.

There was a “pole” tramway and I believe (strongly because I’ve seen a picture) an actual tramway at Cassandra Siding, about three miles from Badger. This is noted in a couple of railway books, but I was unable to find a source. A hundred years later here goes your degrees of separation. Bill Evans told me about this tramway. He told me he had heard about it from Alfred Wickens, who was James Wickens son. Jim Wickens had something to do with the tramway, because he was born in 1893 it is unlikely it was from his time as a contractor. HOWEVER, his father Thomas Wickens, a noted lumberman, probably had something to do with it.

One of the early names for what became Windsor was Grand Falls Junction. Which makes perfect sense, but this was later changed to Grand Falls Station, but was often referred to as the “Station Settlement.”

Windsor had the first stand alone movie theatre-the King Edward in the 1930s.

The A.N.D Company operated a small mine at Victoria River circa 1906-1911. This is in addition to the mine at “Old Buchans.”

The A.N.D Company also operated two sawmills in Springdale during World War Two.

There was a “road” between Badger and Hall’s Bay as far back as 1904. Although, if I was to travel back in time I’d be reluctant to travel on it with anything that moved on wheels.

Moose used to get caught in the log booms at the mill, so did at least one caribou back in the early 1950s. I’ve found three or four accounts of moose getting caught in the logs. Sometimes they survived like the 700 pound bull that was rescued in 1957 and sometimes they didn’t, the the moose found twenty years later.


The first unemployment office in Central was located in the Anglican Parish Hall in Grand Falls. But it was only there very briefly before it moved into the old Royal Stores Building (aka the Domac building).

There is a connection between the Trailway Inn and the Methodist Chaplain of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in World War One. 

The first Museum was located in the Provincial Building Actually, when it was built just about everything was located in the Provincial Building at different times it housed: Police, Courts, Government Offices, Museum, Liquor Store (yes at one point).

Gullbridge (between Badger Lake and South Brook) had townsite with a school and a bowling alley.

E.I Bishop was the town photographer in Grand Falls from 1917 to 1949.

JCM Hayward was the first town photographer.

Interesting story about JCM Hayward. He enlisted in the Newfoundland Forestry Companies to go overseas, but I have a really strong suspicion that he was kind of snuck in there by the AND CO brass to take photographs, as he was 42, and had no experience as a lumberman. His occupation is listed as laborer which is really funny because the attesting officer was Major Michael Sullivan from the A.N.D Company who would have known 100% that he was a photographer. There are some really nice photos of that unit in Scotland though.

Organized baseball was first played in Grand Falls in 1908, during construction of the mill. It was popularized by American workers and engineers on the project. Which caused controversy and “con-tra-fo-sey” with the British staff on the same project, who saw it as a threat to cricket. I guess they were right to be concerned!

Early baseballists, Grand Falls. Although the website I stole this from says 1908. The Military uniforms suggest World War One or after.


According to a story he wrote for the GFA Year book in 1942; Chesley Dawe and two buddies caught 96 trout in two hours at French Pond. Ho-LEE Sh—, that’s a lot of fish. It’s not hard to imagine how some of these fishing spots were before the bridge was put behind the mill, as you had to take a boat to cross the river and walk to get to them. French Pond is about six kilometers from the Exploits River, now it would take a few minutes to get there, back then it was an hour and half walk.

In 1968 Field Marshall Montgomery visited Grand Falls. Apparently he gave the school kids at GFA the rest of the day off. 


Church Road Park was originally an Athletic Field, once baseball caught on it became a baseball field. 

Labour Day has been celebrated in Grand Falls since at least 1920, with the possibility that there were Labour Days as far back as 1918 and 1915. Labour Day wasn’t always celebrated on the first Monday in September. Sometimes it was celebrated earlier in the summer. For instance, in 1950 it was celebrated on July 31. Also, The Advertiser did not use the British spelling of Labour back in the day. 


Al Waxman, The King of Kensington, visited Rocky Brook Woods camp in 1981. He and his wife were in Grand Falls as guests of the local YMCA. 

Music-“He is the King of Badger LAAAAAKEE!” Al Waxman at Rocky Brook Camp with cook Cyril Weir-1981.




  1. Very interesting. There are several pictures of Al Waxman and his wife’s visit to the Rocky Brook camp at the GF-W Heritage Center. Thank for this read.


  2. You were right about the baseball picture being later than 1908. The player at right with the W on his uniform was a member of the St. John’s Wanderers. I believe the first inter-town baseball played in GF was in 1913.


  3. Great pic of the old Bond Building .. shows all of the stores in lower High Street.. I lived on ‘Fourth Avenue” (Modified to Circular Road, way back when ) and it was a short walk to get to Leo Ryan’s store.. Passed the Orange Crush many many times.. 🙂


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