Labrador Peninsula

The Labrador Peninsula is a large peninsula in eastern Canada. It is bounded by the Hudson Bay to the west, the Hudson Strait to the north, the Labrador Sea to the east, and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to the southeast. The peninsula includes the region of Labrador, which is part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the regions of Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Côte-Nord, and Nord-du-Québec, which are in the province of Quebec. It has an area of 1,400,000 km2 (541,000 sq mi).

Geography of Labrador Peninsula
Map of the Labrador Peninsula, with borders delineated based on watershed boundaries.
ContinentNorth America
RegionEastern Canada
 • Total1,400,000 km2 (540,000 sq mi)
 • Land88%
 • Water12%
Highest pointMount Caubvick
Lowest pointSea level
Longest riverLa Grande River
Largest lakeCaniapiscau Reservoir
ClimateLargely subarctic
TerrainFlat and rolling except in the Torngat, Otish and Laurentian mountain ranges.

Location and geography

Nain Labrador 2008
A hillside at Nain, east coast of the peninsula on a September 2008 autumn day.

The peninsula is surrounded by sea on all sides except for the southwest where it widens into the general continental mainland. The northwestern part of the Labrador Peninsula is shaped as a lesser peninsula, the Ungava Peninsula, surrounded by Hudson Bay, the Hudson Strait, and Ungava Bay. The northernmost point of the Ungava Peninsula, Cape Wolstenholme, also serves as the northernmost point of the Labrador Peninsula and of the province of Quebec.

The peninsula is a plateau threaded by river valleys. There are several mountain ranges. The Torngat Mountains, located in the northern part of the peninsula, contain the highest point of the peninsula Mount Caubvick, which at 1,652 metres (5,420 ft) is also the highest point of mainland Canada east of Alberta. The mountains also host Torngat Mountains National Park, the only national park of Canada on the Labrador Peninsula. The park is located in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, whereas the adjacent Kuururjuaq National Park is located in the province of Quebec.


Due to it being covered almost entirely by the Canadian Shield - a vast, rocky plateau with a history of glaciation - the peninsula has a large number of lakes. The province of Quebec alone has more than half a million [1] lakes of varying size. The largest body of water on the Labrador Peninsula is the Smallwood Reservoir, but the largest natural lake is Lake Mistassini. Other lakes of note include the Manicouagan Reservoir, the Caniapiscau Reservoir, and the La Grande 2 and La Grande 3 reservoirs. Due to a history of hydroelectic development, the majority of the larger freshwater lakes on the peninsula are reservoirs.

In addition to an abundance of lakes, the peninsula also has many rivers. The longest, the La Grande River, is 900 kilometres (560 mi) long and flows westwards across nearly half the peninsula. Other rivers of note include the Eastmain River, Rupert River, and Churchill River


Prior to European arrival, the peninsula was inhabited chiefly by Cree people, as well as the Innu people in the Southeast area of the peninsula, who referred to their land as Nitassinan, meaning "our land" in the Innu language.[2] The area was known as Markland in Greenlandic Norse and its inhabitants were known as skrælingjar.

It is widely accepted that the peninsula is named after Portuguese explorer João Fernandes Lavrador. He was granted a patent by King Manuel I of Portugal in 1499 which gave him the right to explore that part of the Atlantic Ocean as set out in the Treaty of Tordesillas.

Together with Pêro de Barcelos, he first sighted Labrador in 1498. Fernandes charted the coasts of Southwestern Greenland and of adjacent Northeastern North America around 1498 and gave notice of them in Portugal and Europe. His landowner status allowed him to use the title lavrador, Portuguese for "farmer" or "landholder", while "labrador" in Spanish and Galician means "agricultural worker". (Portuguese pronunciation: [lɐvɾɐˈðoɾ]). Fernandes actually gave the name of Terra do Lavrador to Greenland which was the first land he sighted, but eventually the name was spread to all areas and finally was set for Labrador.[3]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Nitassinan: The Innu Struggle to Reclaim Their Homeland, Douglas & McIntyre, December 1991, 240pp, by Marie Wadden, ISBN 978-1-55365-731-6, (book link), (retrieved 11/19/2012)
  3. ^ "The Portuguese Explorers". Memorial University of Newfoundland. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
Arctic Cordillera

The Arctic Cordillera is a vast, deeply dissected chain of mountain ranges extending along the northeastern flank of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago from Ellesmere Island to the northeasternmost part of the Labrador Peninsula in northern Labrador and northern Quebec, Canada. It spans most of the eastern coast of Nunavut with high glaciated peaks rising through icefields and some of Canada's largest ice caps, including the Penny Ice Cap on Baffin Island. It is bounded to the east by Baffin Bay, Davis Strait and the Labrador Sea while its northern portion is bounded by the Arctic Ocean.


Avayalik is an island at the far north of the Labrador Peninsula in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is a possible site of early Norse colonization of North America.

Cape Chidley

Cape Chidley is a headland located on the eastern shore of Killiniq Island, Canada at the northeastern tip of the Labrador Peninsula.

Cape Chidley was named by English explorer John Davis on August 1, 1587 after his friend and fellow explorer John Chidley.

On October 22, 1943, the German submarine U-537 landed just south of Cape Chidley and set up Weather Station Kurt to collect data about the weather.Originally, Cape Chidley was meant to be the site for a long-range radar station called "N-30." It was to fall within plans for the Pinetree Line, a series of radar stations across the 50th parallel. Supplies were moved to the site by ship during 1951-52, but in late 1952-early 1953 the site was moved to Resolution Island.

Clearwater River (Quebec)

The Clearwater River (in French: Rivière à l'Eau Claire) is a river flowing on the east shore of Lake Guillaume-Delisle (formerly designated "Richmond Gulf"), which empties into the Hudson Bay. The "Clearwater River" is located in Nunavik, in the west of the Labrador peninsula, in the administrative region of Nord-du-Québec, in Quebec, in Canada. This river drains Clearwater Lake into Lac Guillaume-Delisle.

Hudson Bay drainage basin

The Hudson Bay drainage basin is the drainage basin in northern North America where surface water empties into Hudson Bay and adjoining waters. Spanning an area of about 3,861,400 square kilometres (1,490,900 sq mi), the basin is almost totally in Canada (spanning parts of the Prairies, central and northern Canada), with a small portion in the United States (in Montana, the Dakotas, and Minnesota). The watershed's connection to the Labrador Sea is at the Hudson Strait's mouth between Resolution Island in the Qikiqtaaluk Region and Cape Chidley on the Labrador Peninsula. The watershed's headwaters To the southwest are on the Continental Divide of the Americas, bounded at Triple Divide Peak to the south, and Snow Dome to the north.

The western and northern boundary of the watershed is the Arctic Divide, and the southern and eastern boundary is the Laurentian Divide.

Hudson Bay is often considered part of the Arctic Ocean. For example, the International Hydrographic Organization (in its current unapproved working edition only of Limits of Oceans and Seas) defines the Hudson Bay, with its outlet extending from 62.5 to 66.5 degrees north (just a few miles south of the Arctic Circle) as being part of the Arctic Ocean, specifically "Arctic Ocean Subdivision 9.11." Other authorities include it with the Atlantic Ocean , in part because of its greater water budget connection. The Hudson Bay drainage basin coincides almost completely with the former territory Rupert's Land, claimed by the Hudson's Bay Company in the 17th century, and an ideal area for the early fur trade in northern and central North America.

Jacques Cartier Strait

The Jacques Cartier Strait (French: Détroit de Jacques-Cartier) is a strait in eastern Quebec, Canada, flowing between Anticosti Island and the Labrador Peninsula. It is one of the two outlets of the Saint Lawrence River into its estuary, the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. The other is the Honguedo Strait on the south side of Anticosti Island.

The Jacques Cartier Strait is approximately 35 kilometres (22 mi) wide at its narrowest point.

Jacques Cartier Strait was officially named for the French explorer Jacques Cartier in 1934 by the Geographic Board of Quebec to commemorate the 400th anniversary of his arrival in North America. Prior to this, it was also known as Détroit Saint-Pierre (by Cartier himself on August 1, 1534, the day of St. Peter), Labrador Channel (until 1815), and Mingan Passage.

João Fernandes Lavrador

João Fernandes Lavrador (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʒuˈɐ̃w̃ fɨɾˈnɐ̃ðɨʃ lɐvɾɐˈðoɾ]) was a Portuguese explorer of the late 15th century. He was the first modern explorer of the coasts of the Northeast of Northern America, including the large Labrador peninsula, which was named for him by European settlers in eastern Canada. The popular dog breed Labrador Retriever is named after the peninsula and thus by effect also bears his name. It was developed as a working breed for hunting.


Labrador ( LAB-rə-dor) is a geographic and cultural region within the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It comprises the mainland portion of the province, separated from the island of Newfoundland by the Strait of Belle Isle. It is the largest and northernmost geographical region in Atlantic Canada.

Labrador occupies most of the eastern part of the Labrador Peninsula. It is bordered to the west and the south by the Canadian province of Quebec. Labrador also shares a small land border with the Canadian territory of Nunavut on Killiniq Island.

Though Labrador covers 71 percent of the province's land area, it has only 8 percent of the province's population. The aboriginal peoples of Labrador include the Northern Inuit of Nunatsiavut, the Southern Inuit-Métis of Nunatukavut (NunatuKavut), and the Innu. Many of the non-aboriginal population in Labrador did not permanently settle in Labrador until the natural resource developments of the 1940s and 1950s. Before the 1950s, few non-aboriginal people lived in Labrador year-round. The few European immigrants who worked seasonally for foreign merchants and brought their families were known as settlers.

Labrador Sea

The Labrador Sea (French: mer du Labrador, Danish: Labradorhavet) is an arm of the North Atlantic Ocean between the Labrador Peninsula and Greenland. The sea is flanked by continental shelves to the southwest, northwest, and northeast. It connects to the north with Baffin Bay through the Davis Strait. It has been described as a marginal sea of the Atlantic.The sea formed upon separation of the North American Plate and Greenland Plate that started about 60 million years ago and stopped about 40 million years ago. It contains one of the world's largest turbidity current channel systems, the Northwest Atlantic Mid-Ocean Channel (NAMOC), that runs for thousands of kilometers along the sea bottom toward the Atlantic Ocean.

The Labrador Sea is a major source of the North Atlantic Deep Water, a cold water mass that flows at great depth along the western edge of the North Atlantic, spreading out to form the largest identifiable water mass in the World Ocean.

List of islands of Newfoundland and Labrador

This is a list of islands of Newfoundland and Labrador. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador is composed of mainland Labrador and the large island of Newfoundland. The coast of both the island and the Labrador Peninsula are lined with islands of various magnitudes.


The Naskapi (Nascapi, Naskapee, Nascapee) or Naskapi Innu are the Innu First Nation inhabitants of an area referred to by many Innu to as Nitassinan, which comprises most of eastern Quebec and Labrador, Canada. The Naskapi themselves use a different word in their language to refer to this land, st'aschinuw, ᒋᑦ ᐊᔅᒋᓄᐤ (chit-aschinuw) which is the second person plural inclusive possessive form of the noun ᐊᔅᒋᔾ (aschiy) 'land' or 'earth'.

Innu people are frequently divided into two groups, the Neenoilno (called Montagnais by French people) who live along the north shore of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, in Quebec, and the less numerous Naskapi who live farther north. The Innu themselves recognize several distinctions (e.g. Mushuau Innuat, Maskuanu Innut, Uashau Innuat) based on different regional affiliations and various dialects of the Innu language.

The word "Naskapi" (meaning "people beyond the horizon") first made an appearance in the 17th century and was subsequently applied to Innu groups beyond the reach of missionary influence, most notably those living in the lands which bordered Ungava Bay and the northern Labrador coast, near the Inuit communities of northern Quebec and northern Labrador. The Naskapi are traditionally nomadic peoples, in contrast with the territorial Montagnais. Mushuau Innuat (plural), while related to the Naskapi, split off from the tribe in the 20th century and were subject to a government relocation program at Davis Inlet. The Naskapi language and culture is quite different from the Montagnais, in which the dialect changes from y to n as in "Iiyuu" versus "Innu"[1]. Some of the families of the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach have close relatives in the Cree village of Whapmagoostui, on the eastern shore of Hudson Bay.

Naskapi language

Naskapi (also known as Iyuw Iyimuun in the Naskapi language) is an Algonquian language spoken by the Naskapi in Quebec and Labrador, Canada. It is written in Eastern Cree syllabics.

The term Naskapi is chiefly used to describe the language of the people living in the interior of Quebec and Labrador in or around Kawawachikamach, Quebec. Naskapi is a "y-dialect" that has many linguistic features in common with the Northern dialect of East Cree, and also shares many lexical items with the Innu language.

Although there is a much closer linguistic and cultural relationship between Naskapi and Innu than between Naskapi and other Cree language communities, Naskapi remains unique and distinct from all other language varieties in the Quebec-Labrador peninsula.


Nitassinan is the ancestral homeland of the Innu, an indigenous people of Eastern Quebec and Labrador, Canada. Nitassinan means "our land" in the Innu language. The territory covers the eastern portion of the Labrador peninsula.The area was known as Markland in Greenlandic Norse and its inhabitants were known as skrælingjar.


Nord-du-Québec (French pronunciation: ​[nɔʁ dy kebɛk]; English: Northern Quebec) is the largest, but the least populous, of the seventeen administrative regions of Quebec, Canada. With nearly 750,000 square kilometres (290,000 sq mi) of land area, and very extensive lakes and rivers, it covers much of the Labrador Peninsula and about 55% of the total land surface area of Quebec, while containing a little more than 0.5% of the population.

Before 1912, the northernmost part of this region was known as the Ungava District of the Northwest Territories, and until 1987 it was referred to as Nouveau-Québec, or New Quebec. It is bordered by Hudson Bay and James Bay in the west, Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay in the north, Labrador in the northeast, and the administrative regions of Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Mauricie, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, and Côte-Nord in the south and southeast.

The Nord-du-Québec region is part of the territory covered by the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement of 1975; other regions covered (in part) by this Agreement include Côte-Nord, Mauricie and Abitibi-Témiscamingue administrative regions.

Strait of Belle Isle

The Strait of Belle Isle (; French: Détroit de Belle Isle [bɛl il]) is a waterway in eastern Canada that separates the Labrador Peninsula from the island of Newfoundland, in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Torngat Mountains

The Torngat Mountains are a mountain range on the Labrador Peninsula at the northern tip of Newfoundland and Labrador and eastern Quebec. They are part of the Arctic Cordillera. The mountains form a peninsula that separates Ungava Bay from the Atlantic Ocean.

Torngat Mountains National Park

Torngat Mountains National Park is a Canadian national park, located on the Labrador Peninsula at the northern tip of Newfoundland and Labrador. Set in the Torngat Mountains, the name comes from the Inuktitut word Torngait, meaning "place of spirits". It contains the highest mountains in Mainland Canada east of the Rockies.

An area called Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve was set aside with enactment of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement on December 1, 2005, with the intention of creating a national park. When the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement came into effect on July 10, 2008, the park was officially established, and the National Park Reserve became Torngat Mountains National Park, the first in Labrador. The park covers 9,700 square kilometres (3,700 sq mi), extending from Cape Chidley south to Saglek Fjord. It is the largest national park in Atlantic Canada and the southernmost national park in the Arctic Cordillera.

This park protects wildlife (caribou, black bears, wolf packs, two species of fox, polar bears, peregrine falcon, and golden eagle among others), while offering wilderness-oriented recreational activities (hiking, scrambling, kayaking).

Ungava Peninsula

The Ungava Peninsula of Nunavik, Quebec, Canada, is bounded by Hudson Bay to the west, Hudson Strait to the north, and Ungava Bay to the east.

The Ungava Peninsula is part of the Labrador Peninsula and covers about 252,000 km² (97,000 sq mi). Its northernmost point is Cape Wolstenholme, which is also the northernmost point of Quebec.

The Ungava Peninsula is a part of the Canadian Shield and consists entirely of treeless tundra dissected by large numbers of rivers and glacial lakes, flowing generally east–west in a parallel fashion. The peninsula was not deglaciated until 6,500 years ago (11,500 years after the Last Glacial Maximum) and is believed to have been the prehistoric centre from which the vast Laurentide Ice Sheet spread over most of North America during the last glacial epoch.

W. E. Clyde Todd

Walter Edmond Clyde Todd (Smithfield, Ohio, September 6, 1874 – June 25, 1969), generally known as W.E. Clyde Todd, was an American ornithologist.

In 1891 Todd abandoned his studies at Geneva College to take up a post as messenger with Clinton Hart Merriam at the United States Department of Agriculture, where his first job was the sorting and cataloging of a collection of bird stomachs preserved in alcohol. In Washington he met many leading scientists including Robert Ridgway, whom he took as a role model.

Discontented with government work, in 1898 Todd contracted with the fledgling Carnegie Museum to collect bird specimens in western Pennsylvania. He soon joined the museum as Assistant, and remained there the rest of his working life, which was much prolonged beyond any normal retirement age. He continued with field work on Pennsylvania, and later in north-eastern Canada, and would later produce two major works, Birds of Western Pennsylvania (1940) and Birds of the Labrador peninsula and adjacent areas (1963); along with many descriptions of new taxa and systematic studies based on the Museum's growing collection of neotropical birds. Todd's specialty was the Arctic – he participated in over twenty expeditions before producing Birds of the Labrador Peninsula. He chose the Arctic as his specialty because of a bout of malaria he contracted while working in Washington, DC, which prevented him from working in tropical climates. Despite his inability to do fieldwork in Central and South America, his first book was called The Birds of Santa Marta and focused on a particular region of Colombia. Todd's research was based entirely on the collections of bird skins he had amassed at the Carnegie Museum, but he still won the Brewster Prize (the Pulitzer of the ornithological world) for it.

A long-time Fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union, he was elected Fellow Emeritus in 1968. He was also noted for his local initiatives in conservation and philanthropy. In his book Birds of Western Pennsylvania (1940) and his pamphlet (published post-mortem) Birds of the Buffalo Creek Region, he displays both his love of Western Pennsylvania ecology and a prescience about such topics as urban sprawl, global warming, and habitat fragmentation. He was also a vocal critic of private collections and of museums that amassed multiple versions of the same bird or bird's eggs, denouncing such practices as wasteful and not contributing to the study of birds. Although he married, he became a widower early in life and did not have any children. As a result, he devoted a substantial amount of personal resources to conservation of the area where he had spent much of his childhood, Buffalo Township (in Butler County). In 1942, he purchased seventy-one acres on the site of his grandfather's farm, where he had made his first significant ornithological discovery. The land would otherwise have been logged; he rescued it via his purchase and donated it to the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania (ASWP) with the suggestion that it be turned into a nature reserve. The society honored his wishes, and in 1956 he donated an additional sixty-one acres south of his initial donation. ASWP has continued to add to the nature reserve and as of 2009 it stood at 224 acres (0.91 km2). Todd Nature Reserve, located off Route 28 and Highway 356 in Butler County, is named for W.E. Clyde Todd and is open to the public dawn to dusk throughout the year (with the exception of hunting season in November–December).

The ASWP annually awards the W.E. Clyde Todd Award to recognize "an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to conservation in western Pennsylvania."

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