do you remember

Jan 28

OK folks, let's see what this topic (suggested by Bob Pelley, GA Class of 1962) might generate in terms of memories, conversation?

‘The Old Dump on Burner Road’.

Where was that, and was it one of your haunts as a kid?

Does that jog anyone's memory of ‘stuff ‘ that got thrown out there and probably is at the bottom of the heap?  Does the Burner Road mean that the dump used to be burned regularly? Can't do that anymore.

One of the most exciting things for me as a youngster was going with my father to the dump in our little N.S. fishing village. Dad would back the truck out to the end of an old abandoned wharf and throw things into the ocean.

Can you imagine.

Everyone in the village did that. Out it went, everything, right into the ocean. In fact I remember an old family trunk (with the rounded top) that got thrown over. It had been in the cellar, covered in mold, so out it went. That same trunk had gone across Canada and back a couple of times, carrying family possessions. First my Great Uncle who homesteaded in Alberta took it out there. After his wife and children died in the great flu epidemic in the early 1900s, he returned home with his possessions in it. My mother later took it out west when my dad had war training in Calgary and returned home again with the trunk. And now the old cargo trunk "sleeps with the fishes."

Today many of our dumps down here in the US have 'swap shops' where things that are still useful are taken and people pick them up for reuse--no charge. Much of the other 'stuff' gets recycled in other ways. So 'dumps' have evolved a bit over the years.

So what's your story on the Gander 'dump of old'.?

Sounds like a great New Year topic. "Out with the old, and in with the new..."


Photo courtesy of RG Pelley

The main Gander "recycling facility" was the dump on Burner Road.

With a very well thought-out layout - again perhaps more from usage  by intelligent Ganderites than design - it  had more or less three main sections.   

As one went south down the road from what is now the airport towards Gander Lake, past the "Radar Station", and continued down over the hill, the first section on the right hand side was the burner as such.  This  was the "garbage truck" section where household refuse was dumped and burned. The trucks would back up to the edge and simply dump everything into the open pit. To my constant amazement, this fire seemed to never go out, even in the worst of rain storms. And sometimes one could see the plumes of smoke for miles around. And I suspect that experienced pilots probably used it as a checkpoint to make sure the chaps in the tower had put them on the right heading!

Across the road from the burner was what could be called the " the metal recycling factory". It was here that people would get rid of their old cars, trucks and heavy metal-based  items like washing machines.  In those days, when businesses like Canadian Tire or United Auto Parts were still "mainland" companies, the first "store" people would go to was the dump. And there always seemed to be something available or could be made up.

I remember my father and someone else slaving for several days to take a hydraulic lift off an old dump truck and send it to St. John's.  I think it went to Marshall Motors or Hickman Motors and I believe they may have gotten 50$ for it - which was a nice bit of change back in those days.

Some time in the future, archaeologists will have field day digging that stuff out.

Further down the hill but back on the burner side was the "construction and general recycling factory".  This was where people threw out anything that was not heavy metal or household garbage. For example, I remember once when for some reason, I think was it Allied Aviation who threw out about 20-30 very large unopened boxes of toilet paper.  It didn't take long before they were all confiscated by the local population!

If someone needed lumber or plywood, that would be first place to look. I suspect that many bunk beds, chairs and other furniture for the cabins – and perhaps homes - came from there.

By the way, this was also a great place to shoot crows and rats with a BB gun - or occasionally even a single shot Cooey 22 - but you had to be careful about the bears... but that is another story!!

I found a great photo from 1953.  If you look at the left hand side near the Gander Lake, you will see a lot of smoke...that's our "recycling facility" going full blast!  
Robert Pelley, GA Class of 1962


I suppose you are talking about the dump for the old American side and was in operation for many years even after the Town Site opened. It wasn't far from where we lived in Bldg. 69 on Roosevelt St. We referred to it as Burner Hill, they did burn there from the beginning right up until it was shut down. It was in the same area where the old concrete bunkers were built.

There was a big incinerator and depending on the wind you could see and smell the smoke from the town. It was a great place to go to shoot rats and crows and anything else that moved with sling shots, home made bow and arrows (made from old hockey sticks and beer stoppers for arrow heads), BB guns and when you were "ready", a single shot 22. You thought you had it made then.

There was a rock quarry on the East side of Burner Road across from the dump. It is still there just like it was then, no fencing and a straight down drop off of solid granite. The old bunker is still there and used to store explosives and accessed by a road off Pine Tree. I'm sure Don Carter will remember all this and more. We called it Burner Hill, and the road continued on down to the Lake, a flat out ride on bike. I'm not sure of the exact year ('60's ??) but the dump was closed and the area filled in and graded.

When the Hudson Bomber was brought to YQX, it was first mounted on Burner Hill in the same place as the dump. They had it done very nice with sort of a little park setting. It was right on the Burner Road at the old dump site, surrounded by a stand of birch trees. It was  great "parking" spot with a spectacular view at sunset over the lake.

The Hudson Bomber was later moved to the North Atlantic Museum on the TCH and the monument structure taken down. The Burner Road is still there but both ends are blocked with large boulders and concrete so you can't drive through but still a great place for a walk and a few rabbit slips. The road to the Lake is still there but the old pump house is gone and the new one built pretty well on the exact site where the old wooden, two story, boat house stood with the large door so the crash boat could drive in and out. Of course there was no tide to worry about.

Parts of the old concrete step wharf still remain to this day. It was stepped to allow for the rise and fall of the water level in the Lake at different times of the year but it caused more trouble for propellers than it was worth. I remember Gord Elson, with his brand new Peterborough (molded birch and mahogany) speed boat, cleaning the prop off his brand new 75HP on one of those concrete steps that was just under water. These are some of my memories of the "Dump on Burner Hill".
         Keith Lacy, GC Class of 1964
That’s it for this visit folks. Thanks for your participation guys. Some great memories. To share yours/suggestions/photos, contact me at
Faye Lewis Raynard, GA Class of 1959



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