This descriptive name for the 75-foot cataract on the St. John River dates from at least 1686. In that year the Bishop of Québec, Jean-Baptiste La Croix de Cheveriéres de Saint-Vallier, visited the area. He wrote: "On 16 May we arrived at the placed called le Grand Sault Saint Jean-Baptiste, where the river falls from a height over lofty rocks into the abyss making a wonderful cascade: the rising mist hides the water from sight, and the uproar of the fall warns from afar the navigators descending in their canoes." Celebrated in legend from the time of the Maliseet onward, Grand Falls saw a small French settlement develop in the mid 18th century; by 1790 a military post was established by Lieutenant-Governor Thomas Carleton. With the development of sawmills in the 1830s the population began to expand. The town was incorporated in 1890. From Grand Falls onward, the St. John River is entirely within Canadian territory.

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Most recent revision September 6, 2015
Alton Morrell