Top News

Labrador West pioneers Claude and Lena Johnson

Claude and Lena Johnson
Claude and Lena Johnson - Gary Shaw

No regrets

LABRADOR CITY, N.L. — There is no better representation of a true Labrador West pioneer couple than Claude and Lena Johnson.

Claude and Lena were quick to share their age. Claude is 88 and Lena is 79. They have spent a large portion those years in Labrador West.

Claude arrived as a young man in September of 1960. Lena followed in 1968. Claude arrived with the lure of steady work from Jacques Fontaine on the Burin Peninsula and Lena from Fair Island in Bonavista Bay.

Claude worked for the contracting companies for the first two years in Labrador West and then moved on to a 32-year career with the Iron Ore Company of Canada.

Claude and Lena raised two children, one son and one daughter who as adults, live in Labrador West. They also have one grandchild and one great-grandchild.

In the early years Claude stayed in the bunkhouses at the camps and got all his meals at the company cafeteria. There were only a few houses when he arrived and the house construction was in full swing to provide the demand for homes for the workers and their families.

The only vehicles in those early years were company trucks. The only roads were in and out of the mine sites. There was no roads in either direction in and out of Labrador West. The few streets were covered in snow or mud.


Related:

Labrador West Pioneers: Linda Woolridge

Labrador West Pioneers: Gerry Russel

Labrador West Pioneers: Tony Stead

Labrador West Pioneers: Jim Aylward

Lab West Pioneers: Darrell Brenton

Labrador West Pioneers: Albert and Noreen Careen

Lab West Pioneers: Dick and Anne Louvelle


Needless to say, a personal vehicle at that time was not necessary. If you wanted in or out, the airport and a flight were the only means of travel.

In those early years all of the groceries and supplies came in on the train where everything arrived at the station and was distributed from there on its arrival.

The community was a tight knit group, all folks from outside who only had each other and pretty much isolated from any easy access to the outside. Any social life and events surrounding it was all close to home and from within the circle created by being here.

Gatherings at the homes of folks, shared on a rotating basis with music, good grub and the bonding efforts that were created by living and working in close quarters was a regular and enjoyable time for all.

Claude remembers some wicked good ball games played in those days by the men and Lena and the other ladies shared in regular gatherings for card games. When the theatre finally arrived, show night was a big hit enjoyed regularly by all. Old-fashioned fun, the old-fashioned way.

Claude spent a good amount of his spare time in the woods and on the water. He enjoyed fishing, his passion was fly-fishing. He was on many fishing adventures and also enjoyed all the glory years hunting caribou when they were among us and enjoyed a good many moose hunts to the island over the years.

Claude has been retired since 1994 and admits, he has had a good run. He and Lena have had a great life in Labrador West and have been solid as a rock, contributors, to the community through their many years as great citizens.

When asked about any regrets in coming to Labrador West, they both answered together, instantly. Not one regret, Labrador West is their home, has been for a very long time.

It has been a great community, they said, a safe and wonderful place to raise a family and they have been surrounded by great people and have had a wonderful lifestyle for all of these years. Regrets, not one.

           

Recent Stories