Bruce D. Pratte


The Port of Churchill is located just inside the mouth of the Churchill River, on the western shore of Hudson Bay (Fig. 1, Photo 1). Each shipping season, about 25 x 106 bushels of grain are shipped to Europe and Britain. The Port opens just after mid-July when Hudson Strait and Bay become relatively clear of ice. However, it is forced to close 3 months later by ice forming upstream in the rapids, sweeping down as slush ice at ebb tide, jamming between the ships and the dock and breaking mooring lines. Since the route to Europe is shorter and therefore the laidin cost of the grain slightly less than from other Canadian ports, there is a demand to extend the operating season at Churchill. A feasibility study and field survey in 1965 by Dick (Refs. 1, 2) showed that the Port could remain open about 2 weeks longer than the present October 23 closing if the slush ice could be kept out of the harbour. To this end, the National Harbours Board in 1974 commissioned the Hydraulics Laboratory of the National Research Council of Canada to do an hydraulic model study of the harbour and estuary.


Churchill River; tidal model; salt water model

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