Located in the central part of Labrador, Happy Valley Goose Bay is the largest population centre in that region. Incorporated in 1973, it comprises the former town of Happy Valley and the Local Improvement District of Goose Bay. Built on a large sandy plateau in 1941, the town is home to the largest military air base in northeastern North America, CFB Goose Bay.
In the summer of 1941, Eric Fry, an employee of the Canadian Department of Mines and Resources on loan to the Royal Canadian Air Force, selected a large sandy plateau near the mouth of the Goose River to build the Goose Bay Air Force Base. Docking facilities for transportation of goods and personnel were built at Terrington Basin.
Goose Air Base became a landing and refuelling stop for the Atlantic Ferry route. Soon after the site was selected, men from the coast of Labrador began working on the base. With World War II in bloom, it took only five months to build an operational military airport on the leased territory.
The first settlers to the area came from coastal Labrador to work with McNamara Construction Company, which was contracted to build the Goose Bay Air Force Base. Their first choice was Otter Creek, where they were told that it would have been too close to the base. A new location was chosen based upon the requirement to be at least five miles (8 km) from the base. In 1942, a new site was chosen that was first called Refugee Cove; it was not until 1955 that it eventually was renamed Happy Valley.
Though the area was not an officially registered municipality, the Rev. Lindsay G. King—then 23 and newly ordained that June, was appointed as the first resident United Church of Canada, minister (1953–1954). He remembers that the name commonly used was Happy Valley. However, the name over the Grenfell Mission Nursing station, at the time, was Hamilton River Settlement—no one called it that. Due to lack of a church-owned residence, he and his wife, Jean (Turner—a MTA graduate), who began teaching that fall, were welcomed by, and stayed with, the family of Thorwald and Alice Perrault.
With the help of the Perraults and of others, from all denominations in Happy Valley, the Reverend King and his wife helped organize the first non-denominational community meeting, which set up the first community council. It was chaired by Mr. Ron Roberts. It was this council that first recommended, to the base and government authorities, that Happy Valley become an officially registered municipality.
Happy Valley's first school was operated by a Mrs. Perrault from her home until 1946, when the Royal Canadian Air Force donated a building. The old one-room school was bought by Bella and Clarence Brown in the early 1962 and turned into a family residence. In 1949, the Air Force donated a second building which became the North Star School. Mrs. Perrault became Happy Valley's first librarian also. Bella Brown took over as Happy Valley's librarian when the North Star School's second building was donated as the new library.
The Grenfell Mission operated the first medical facilities when it opened a nursing station in 1951. In 1963, the provincial government built Paddon Memorial Hospital.