Churchill Chamber of Commerce History



                                                 Name Change from

             Churchill Board of Trade to Churchill Chamber of Commerce…

Churchill was part of a dream – a trade corridor, import and export, that would transport goods to and from Europe to the very centre North America and beyond.

Thousands of construction workers swelled the population of the area by the late 1920s and within a short period of time the rail line had been completed and the gigantic grain elevator rose near the mouth of the Churchill River and forever  changed Churchill’s skyline.

By 1933 the community was officially open for settlers; up to that time only construction workers and Hudson Bay Company employees were allowed into Churchill. The frontier town changed as families came, put down roots and began to address issues related to making Churchill their home.     

The Churchill Chamber of Commerce traces its roots back to the year 1934 with the Churchill board of Trade.On January 11, 1934 a meeting held at the old station chose a committee for the Board of Trade. Dr Whyte, president, Anderson and Carmen Holmes , assistant managers, 3 vice presidents, Carmen Holmes, Mr Riddock, SM Sigurdson.were elected. “Meetings were well run and intelligently discussed the matters concerned.”

The next meeting was held at Dr Whyte’s hospital at the Lower Dock. It is interesting to review their agenda:

1. to lower freight rates for Churchill;2 investigation of fishing in HudsonBay

3. reindeer for barrenlands around Churchill and north to Chesterfield Inlet; 4. whale industry; 5. seal industry; 6. eider duck industry; 7. moss industry; 8. weekly train service; 9. post office in townsite; 10. to get better facilities for handling coal and other necessary heavy wares, and to get shilling charges on wares lowered on the HBR.

In 1948 the organization became the Port Churchill Chamber of Commerce under the leadership of EC Garnett, FO Martin and JE Ingebrigtson Jr.

Around 1963 the CN approached the Port Churchill Chamber of Commerce in an attempt to improve tourist reception in Churchill, out of those discussions a Tourism Committee was formed to be responsible for such items as - correspondence in regards to inquiries about Churchill, reception of groups and planning activities for them, and generally looking after visitors to the area. The CN provided space for a tourism office at one end of the CNR building in May, 1973 it opened for business.    

The following is a partial list compiled by a review of the minutes through the years. It appears that some issues have not changed all that much.

- tethering sleigh dogs

- purchase lots

- set up Town Planning Committee

- money be set aside to pay for coal for general meetings at the Community Hall

- set up a Fire prevention committee - purchase extinguishers

- congratulated St Johns'Newfoundland Chamber of Commerce upon their entry into Confederation

- installed fire siren

- street lighting

- Churchill Hotel provided 24 hour telephone service

- Duke of Edinburgh visit

- Munck Park fill removed

- set up Fire Hall fund

- roads

- long distance telephone - how necessary was long distance??

- water & sewer

- road signs

- permanent Customs officials

- licence agency - marriage & vehicle

- expedited forming of School Board  -- change from Sunday trains

- bank location

- speed zones

- curfew

- road to Mosquito Point

- urgent need for additional hydro from NHB

- Government Liquor Commission outlet

- public washrooms

- help raise funds for teacherage

- Churchill UUD, Town Planning Committee

- support for Port

- MTS inadequate

- all weather road to Flats - 1/5 of pop lives there

- dock at Prince of Wales Fort

- pulp exports

- road from Thompson

- incorporation, duty free port

- northern university

- Senior Citizens home

- program to educate locals on historical and ecological info

- clean up gravel pits

- peninsula designated a sanctuary

- Incorporation of the Town

- hydro line from Gillam

- abuse to tundra

- lack of private housing

- tax  increases

- joining NWT

- permits for buggies

- transportation costs

- economic development

The Churchill Chamber of Commerce worked closely with all the community organizations championing local concerns. It is also a strong member of organizations, such as the Hudson Bay Route Association, promoting the future economic growth of Churchill.

The Churchill Chamber of Commerce office and visitor information centre is located at the south end of Hudson Square. A Leo Mol bronze sculpture of a “mother bear playing with her cub” graces the front of the building. 

Meeting are held on the second Monday of the month.