Town of L'Anse au Clair

Labrador, Canada

The Gateway to Labrador

Located just 3 km from the border with neighbouring Quebec, L'Anse au Clair is an entry point to the Province of Newfoundland & Labrador. The Gateway to Labrador at L'Anse au Clair introduces visitors to the Labrador region of our province.

 

Adaptive re-use of old St. Andrews church

The building was constructed in 1919 as L'Anse au Clair's first church, St Andrew's. In the 1970s a new church was built and the old one was deconsecrated and passed to private ownership. In the ensuing decades the structure served a variety of functions — a youth centre, a pool room and a storage building. Eventually it fell into disuse.

In 1991 the owners, Steve & Shirley Letto, passed the building to the Labrador Straits Historical Development Corporation (LSHDC), a regional non-profit organization embarking on a multi-year heritage tourism development project.

With architectural assistance from the Heritage Canada Foundation, the LSHDC restored and repurposed the building to serve as a regional vistor centre. The bell tower, removed decades ago, was reconstructed based on historical photos. Inside, the vaulted ceiling was rebuilt following the trace outline left on the walls by the original varnish.

 

Telling the story of Labrador

A series of interpretative panels, art pieces, and artifacts relate the story of the people of Labrador from the first inhabitants who arrived in Labrador some 9000 years ago to present day settlers. Information is provided about the region's historic attractions, including Red Bay, Battle Harbour, the Point Amour Lighthouse and the L'Anse Amour Burial site. The Gateway Visitor Centre provides visitors with the full, incredible story of the people of Labrador.

Of particular interest in this exhibit is a series of reproduction artifacts, including a Thule harpoon and many of the artifacts recovered at the 7500 year old site at L'Anse Amour. The Gateway had a display of artifacts from the recently excavated Jersey Rooms at nearby L'Anse Au Cotard.

The pine walls and unique architecture of the interior of the Gateway provide a perfect backdrop for several commissioned pieces of art. The vibrant silk paintings by renowned artist Diana Dabinett bring the flowers, birds, whales, and icebergs of Labrador to life in dramatic style. The beauty of the Northern Lights is captured in a winter landscape by local artist, Janet Howell.

The Gateway also serves as the region's information centre. Visitors will find information on ferry schedules, accommodations, hiking trails, craft shops, restaurants, maps, points of interest and more.

 
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100th Anniversary: 1919-2019

The year 2019 is the 100th anniversary of the construction of old St. Andrews church. Community events and celebrations are planned to mark this occasion.

The document 100th anniversary of old St Andrews (PDF) provides a detailed look at the historic significance and legacy of this building, now the Gateway to Labrador.