In the early days, most families lived up in Jockville, the hill behind the Port of Churchill. Back then, it was a collection of tar-paper shacks with limited power supplied by the Port’s steam house. Families grew gardens of onions, carrots and lettuce in the summer and collected chunk of ice for melt water in the winter. Most water was chopped and carried from Isabelle Lake, five miles to the east.
Closer to Cape Merry and across the river, a collection of trapper tents signified the Dene families from the west that had traditionally trading with Fort Churchill and still trapped in the area. On the other side of the port construction and railway tracks, Cree families, many working at the port, were establishing a small community along the river, now known as The Flats.
A school was soon established and a school teacher, Mr. Leonard Budd, was brought into the community. Eventually, a community hall was built and there were dances each week. A small band, including piano and violin, would supply the music. In the summer, residents played baseball, fished and went for walks along the coast.
Gradually stores developed in the main townsite, circling Hudson Square. Riddoch’s Trading, the Hudson’s Bay Company Post and Sigurdson Martin were among the first to be established.
The train usually arrived on a Monday carrying cargo, passengers, supplies and most importantly mail. It was a well-known fact that one must not go visiting on a Monday night for invariably families and workmen were busy reading and answering letters, for any return mail would have to be sent with the train the following morning.