Churchill Falls

Churchill Falls, waterfalls of the upper Churchill River, 245 ft (75 m) high, SW Labrador, N.L., Canada; known as Grand Falls until renamed (1965) in honor of Sir Winston Churchill. The falls were first explored (1839) by John McLean, a trader of the Hudson Bay Company. Four miles (6.4 km) above the falls, the Churchill River narrows to 200 ft (61 m) and negotiates a series of rapids before dropping into McLean Canyon, from which sheer cliffs rise several hundred feet on either side. The river flows 12 mi (19 km) through the canyon over a series of rapids. The total drop from the rapids above the main falls to the end of McLean Canyon is 1,038 ft (316 m). Because of their isolated location and harsh surroundings, the falls never became a tourist attraction. The construction of Churchill Falls Generating Station (opened 1974), which has one of the largest hydroelectricity-generating capacities (5,428 MW) in the world, and its reservoir greatly diminished the once spectacular waterfalls. It was completed in 1974 and most of the power is sent to the Montreal vicinity.

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