Click HERE to visit!
Route 210 takes you down the Burin Peninsula to an entirely different part of Newfoundland, both in geography and outlook. Separated from the seat of political power in St. John’s for centuries, the Burin Peninsula developed its own trade links with the eastern seaboard and beyond. Everything, from its dialects, to its traditional set and square dances, to its architecture is different.
Swift Current has long been a favourite area for fishing and hiking. Just south of there is Piper’s Hole River where, according to legend, the mournful pipe tune of a French soldier killed in battle can still be heard.
The Burin Peninsula Highway is surrounded by panoramic maritime barrens, one of the main ecoregion characteristics of this province. Keep an eye out for rough-legged hawks, typical barren birds and the migratory Midland caribou, whose young are threatened by the black bear, coyote and bald eagle populations. The rocks you see strewn about the barrens are glacial erratics; boulders dropped by melting glaciers 10,000 years ago.
The west side routes 211 and 212 boast quiet, picturesque communities with all the outport charm of children at play, clothes on the line, whales breeching in the windy sunset of Fortune Bay. Catch the coastal boat from Bay L’Argent to isolated Rencontre East and across to Pool’s Cove.
Sample genuine hospitality in Placentia Bay communities on routes 214 and 215 while gaining an understanding of personal adaptation through stories of past island resettlement and more contemporary tales of “uprooted” family traditions brought on by changes in the fishery. Have a cup of tea and talk to locals anywhere. Take the South East Bight ferry that leaves daily from quaint Petite Forte.
Throughout this journey, community names attest to the diverse European influences: Spanish Room, Jean de Baie, Beau Bois. Way back in the 16th century, the Basques pursued fishing and whaling in these waters, and about the same time the Portuguese were here, too.
Lighthouses still stand their watch over the bays of this peninsula: See the rescued dome of Long Point Lighthouse in Petite Forte, Tide’s Point Lighthouse of Mortier Bay near Fox Cove, Burin Island Lighthouse from Burin Bay, St. Lawrence Lighthouse, Allan’s Island Lighthouse, Green Island Lighthouse from Point Crewe Park, Fortune Head Ecological Reserve Lighthouse, Grand Bank and Garnish Lighthouses.
The peninsula’s extensive coastline leads to good bird watching territory. Both bays have a large population of Bald Eagles. Further south you’ll find Leach’s Storm Petrels at Corbin Island, rare Manx Shearwaters at Middle Lawn Island, and Great Black-Backed Gulls on Outer Lawn Island.
Marystown is the commercial hub and service centre for the peninsula and the site of a modern shipyard and fabrication facility for the oil industry. Boasting state of the art indoor and outdoor recreational facilities, it has the largest population in the region.
Winterland, on route 222, was settled in the early 1940s by fishers who were enticed to become farmers by the Newfoundland’s Commission of Government. The settlement is also on a migratory bird route over a 2000 acre Wetland Stewardship Zone with interpreted habitat along the Ecomuseum boardwalk trail.
Route 221 winds on to Burin, which is built along a series of high cliffs and sheltered coves. Once a haven for pirates and privateers, Captain James Cook was sent here to set up a lookout to catch smugglers running rum and other booty from Saint Pierre, just 19.2 kilometres from the peninsula’s southwest tip. Take a stroll along the Oldest Colony Trust Boardwalk built right over the harbour shoreline.
Southwest of Burin on Route 220 is St. Lawrence where legend has it that the first settlers were sailors who escaped the sinking of Sir Humphrey Gilbert’s ship in 1583 having sailed grandly into St. John’s and claimed Newfoundland for England. St. Lawrence, site of a 20th century closed fluorspar mine, is best known for its soccer teams which have captured eight straight provincial championships, a bronze medal at the 1999 national championships, and has been a major force in provincial soccer for the past 35 years.
In 1942, two American warships ran aground near the town and 180 sailors were rescued and cared for in their homes by people from St. Lawrence and Lawn who risked their own lives to scale steep cliffs to reach the sailors, many of whom drowned. The Americans built a hospital in the town as a mark of gratitude.
The Tsunami in 1929 had disastrous effects on the settlements along route 220 coastline. Lawn, Lord’s Cove, Taylors Bay, Point au Gaul are still effected by whims of the pounding sea. Lawn and Lamaline heritage museums relay stories of both Wars and of the tidal wave, respectively. See dory models by Otto Kelland, composer of the well known song “Cape St. Mary’s”. Say a prayer at Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto on the road to visit Allan’s Island Lighthouse. Point May and Point Crewe are great spots to see the islands of Saint Pierre et Miquelon.
Grand Bank is the quintessential Newfoundland outport. More than any other port, this town is associated with the schooner fishery carried out on the Grand Banks for which the town is named. The town’s architecture reflects the prosperity and loss that went hand-in-hand with the deep-sea fishery. These include excellent examples of Queen Anne-style sea captains’ houses, a reflection of prosperity, topped by the Widow’s Walk, where shore-bound women waited and watched, sometimes in vain, for their menfolk to return.
Fortune traces its name from the Portuguese “fortuna” which means either a place of misfortune or of good fortune. The fishery has always been its economic backbone. The Fortune Head lighthouse is on a globally recognized and protected site that is the best place in the world for tracing the evolution of simple trace fossils to more complex Cambrian life. Fortune is also the gateway to Saint Pierre et Miquelon, the last French possession in North America. The rhythms of Saint Pierre are similar to those in the homeland. Here residents rise early to buy fresh-baked bread for breakfast, just one of the many French cultural traits still well preserved right next door to our Newfoundland culture. For more information call the Saint Pierre tourism office at 011-508-41-02-00
The last stop is Frenchman’s Cove, on Route 213, which is home to a nine hole golf course located adjacent to a provincial park. Both it and nearby Garnish and Grand Bank are bordered by many kilometres of hiking beaches where you can appreciate spectacular Fortune Bay sunsets.
The Heritage Run is your route to a world set apart.
Experience the Culture
Enjoy the Hospitality!
For more information, please contact:
P.O. Box 757
Canada A0E 2M0
Tel: 1 (709) 279-1887 - Fax: 1 (709) 279-5116
Text Content & Photos provided by The Heritage Run Tourism Association