Like so many Canadian cities, Labrador City and it’s suburb,Wabush pretty much blend into one city, and with a combined population of around 9000, it is not large as cities go. I think the main industry there is iron mining. It’s located very in the interior, and in fact is almost on the border of Quebec. We got to Labrador City in the early evening, and after returning the satellite phone to the Two Seasons Inn, headed over to Wabush for an evening with Mike.
We had never met Mike, but our newfound Newfoundland friend, Todd, knew him through work and we had asked for an introduction. Mike was originally from Newfoundland and he and his brother Jim entertained us like a true Atlantic Canadians, feeding us all kinds of nice foods and large amounts of alcohol, and luring us into the living room where music was played by Mike and Step. I tried to take pictures of Mike but he didn’t like that so instead I show you his cans of Full Monty and Spotted Dick. Mike also showed us some amazing photographs he had taken on his travels.
We slept in the van that night and it was odd because we were in a suburban area and it was Wednesday night, but really loud cars kept zooming past us and making the van shake. I guess some Labrador Citians like to drag race in the night, or other such sports. It took me a little longer than usual to fall asleep.
Mike was so hospitable and kind he left his house open the next morning so we could go in and take showers. Then we decided to explore Labrador City a bit. We went to the visitor centre and got the lay of the land, and also tried to purchase an “I survived the Trans-Labrador Highway” bumper sticker we had seen in the gift shop of the Sir Robert Bond. We hadn’t wanted to purchase one until we had actually survived the highway, so we wouldn’t jinx our chances, but oddly there were none to be found in the city. We hit the hardware store because we needed a coffee pot and an under-van water tap. They couldn’t help us with the coffee pot but we did get the tap head and Step repaired ours right in the parking lot. Go Step!
Mike works for the beloved Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and in fact, he is the Voice of Labrador West. Anyone who knows me can attest that I love radio and I love the CBC, so I was excited to take him up on the offer of an office visit. I have visited the CBC in Vancouver many times, where it is housed right downtown in a giant, security guarded, concrete bunkeresque building that also goes deep underground, so you might understand my laughing delight when I saw this CBC office. It was also right downtown, but located inside the Labrador Mall next to the Wal-Mart, consisting of one room and the studio booth. I think only Mike and one other guy work there. You know, maybe I’m idealising, but that seems like a perfect life to me. We hung out while Mike interviewed a teenage girl who was on an Arctic boating expedition, and then Mike let me sit in his chair and Step took pictures of me pretending to be Mike.
We walked around Labrador Mall a bit, which looked exactly like Any Mall Anywhere, and I am ashamed to say we went to Wal-Mart and bought some new camping chairs. I don’t usually have anything to do with Wal-Mart but our old ones had literally fallen apart and the shopping pickings were pretty slim. Sorry, World. We also stopped by a local corner store and I bought some frozen Toutons. Then we got in the van and drove about 10 kilometres and we were back in Quebec, and ready for another stint of Trans-Labrador Highwaying.