Corporate History

​For over 50 years the Woodward family has been building businesses that primarily service remote, northern and rural community needs.  This strategy has resulted in a wealth of experience and accumulated knowledge in offering services to those communities.  By concentrating on the needs of remote communities and the Canadian high Arctic we have developed a unique niche that has allowed for continued growth and success.  The group of Companies is a family run business. Peter Woodward is the President and Chief Executive Officer and is the successor President and CEO to his late father Melvin Woodward Sr., the founder of the Group, who passed in the spring of 2015 at the age of 81 years.  Peter, together with his brother Mel, who is Vice President and Corporate Secretary, are the current owners of the Group. Three generations of the family have been actively involved in management of the business. Today, the family is assisted in management by a core group of very experienced senior executives.

​The Group started in the late 1950’s when Mel Woodward bought his first home heating fuel delivery truck in Goose Bay.  Soon after followed other businesses including establishment of a stevedoring company working the busy Goose Bay dock servicing the rapidly growing needs of the American military who were then using the Goose bay Airforce Base for cold war operations. This led to the establishment of an enduring relationship with the major Oil Company Imperial Oil as their agent in Goose Bay. Soon after, in 1967, the Company became agents for Imperial in the Canadian high Arctic at both Resolute Bay and Iqaluit, operating their tank farms serving the needs of remote users in those areas. This marked the beginning of an over five decade long tenure as experienced fuel delivery, storage and distribution Company with unique Arctic expertise that has grown and continued to flourish.

Mel Woodward, the early years

Tana Woodward, 1974

Through his experience and knowledge of how things were working during the early years, Mel Woodward saw further opportunity for his business growth. Much of the fuel delivered in the Arctic was accomplished using a tug and barge methodology. This meant a less efficient and riskier delivery method of delivery was being utilized compared to other parts of the high Arctic including northern European and Russian Arctic locations.​
Seizing the opportunity for growth and never quitting when an opportunity arose, Mel Woodward entered the shipping business with the acquisition in 1973 of his first tanker. Since then, Coastal Shipping Limited has continued on its growth plan, becoming the largest Arctic tanker fleet in Canada serving the needs of all marine accessible ports in Nunavut. 
​Where others saw risk, Mel Woodward saw opportunity. He found a way to increase the safety factor but grow his business empire all the while concentrating on that niche approach of serving places other business mostly ignored.
 Never one to sit idle, the family entered the aviation fuel and services business in Goose Bay in the 1960’s. An FBO was opened and the many foreign military operators at 5 Wing Goose Bay were offered the Woodward family brand of personal service. The growth of that business continues today with FBO operations at airports in Gander, St. John’s and Deer Lake in addition to Goose Bay. The Group enjoys a very strong relationship with both the Canadian and many foreign militaries that operate at those locations as well as commercial users who use all four airports.

​From their home base in Labrador, the Woodward family saw another opportunity in the early 1980’s. Goose Bay and Labrador City were growing quickly and the needs of local residents were not being fully met in the retail automobile sales area. Mel and Peter Woodward were soon in the car business. They bought an existing smaller operator who ran a General Motors franchise in Goose Bay and soon expanded that operation to Labrador City. Now Labrador Motors and Woodward Motors run dealer franchises and sub franchises in 9 locations, all once again in rural, previously under serviced areas that followed the path originally blazed by Mel Woodward over 50 years ago. Find a niche and stick with it; be as prepared and as resilient as the residents of those places; stay true to your roots. These are all part of the history and the future of the Woodward Group of Companies.

Grand Opening of Woodward Motors in St. Anthony