It is similar to such well-known wilderness trails as the Alaska Highway, the Top of the World Highway or the Dempster Highway in northwestern Canada - The Freedom Road connecting Baie Comeau, Quebec with Churchill Falls, Labrador. The difference is that it is - at least - more original than the well-known wilderness highways in western Canada. And that's no wonder, the Highway 500 was only completed 1992.
The Freedom Road - road link in Labrador's wilderness
Most of the route is still unpaved, although this has started to change in recent years. Incidentally, the highway was nicknamed "Freedom Road" by the residents of Labrador, who are now able to use a road connection to southern Canada for the first time and are no longer dependent on expensive connections by ship, plane or train.
The ride on the Freedom Road is an experience that wants to be well planned, because there are only a few gas stations, accommodation and shopping opportunities. And the connection with the outside world via cell phone, television and the internet is rarely - if ever - available. Anyone who wants to protect themselves for an emergency, is better advised with a satellite phone than with standard mobile devices. But the best way to prepare yourself is to always refill the tank early, shopping in every grocery store for the next few days for lunch pic and maybe even for dinner - depending on where you want to stay overnight. Luxury resorts and exclusive accommodations are not available on this route. It's all about finding a bed after driving through the wilderness and getting a hearty and warm meal.
The places along the Freedom Road in Labrador
The existing accommodations are located in the communities along the Freedom Road, which were established to mine the mineral resources of the region or to harness the water and energy wealth of the area. There was little emphasis on beauty in these places. These are usually mining and supply locations that should not be the destination of the journey on Freedom Road, although there are interesting things to discover there as well. However, these are mostly not natural beauties, but the results of human activity in the middle of the wilderness that arose from some economic considerations. And economic engagement in the middle of the wilderness usually only takes place when sufficient profit is expected - such as the extraction of rich mineral resources or the production of energy as in Churchill Falls.
A trip on Freedom Road is made for the sake of travel, not to get to a specific destination. The route leads through untouched tundra and taiga areas through endless expanses, where wild animals are more common than humans. On the drive on Freedom Road, you rarely come across other vehicles and people, an experience that is a completely new experience for most Europeans. The views of the endless expanses of the tundra are breathtaking, as are the countless lakes, among which the circular Lake Manicougan in northern Quebec is just one of many. It is precisely this experience of loneliness that makes a trip on Freedom Road something unique that only a few roads in the world can convey. Even the Alaska Highway can no longer deliver this feeling today, as it is now tarred in its full length. So if you are looking for the wilderness adventure away from mass tourism and in the infinity of the north of Canada, you will find a real alternative on Freedom Road.
Tour proposal for a trip on the Freedom Road in Labrador
A road trip on the Freedom Road can be combined with a tour along the east coast of Labrador and the scenic island of Newfoundland. In order to save expensive one-way fees for the car rental, offers a travel start in Halifax in Nova Scotia, where you return the vehicle after the end of travel.
Text: © Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline