I live just 14 miles NW of L’Anse au Loup, Labrador giving me the opportunity to wake up each morning and view the empowering rocks of the “Big Land”. As well, each night see the illuminating lights twinkling before I close my shade and say goodnight to the world. Yes, there is something magical and luring about the pristine landscape of Labrador. I understand why Hubbard was interested and optimistic about his expedition into the unknown.
In 2008, during Labour Day weekend I had the privilege of travelling the south coast and onward to Port Hope Simpson to collect some fishing nets. During the night we visited with a local, named Ben. He invited us into his home and gave us a room for the night and would not hear of us staying at the local hotel. Talk about hospitality! For a youthful man in his eighties, he sure could whip up a great batch of pies, give us a tour of his massive greenhouse and tell us stories from his trapping and fishing years. I think the secret of staying youthful is to keep a good attitude, maintain your sense of humour and of course, stay active!
We had travelled to Charlottetown and another coastal community with Ben, stopping to visit the fishers on the wharf to discuss their daily catches and other news of the sort that gets collected at such a “social commons” and is transferred throughout the communities. It is amazing how fast news can travel this old-fashion and more personalized way in rural regions.
Our next morning would take us to Mary’s Harbour, where we would catch the ferry-boat at the former Grenfell Mission Shed to take us to “Battle Harbour” (known historically as the Capital of Labrador), an island just 17 kms away. The wind was not strong that day, which provided for good steaming and the opportunity to capture some fantastic scenery along the way.
I snapped images of former fishing rooms, dwellings and coastlines as we came into port. Battle Harbour is full of history. In the 1770’s a mercantile salt fish premises was established, spurring economic and social activity. It posed to be a significant stopover for those who became involved in the Labrador offshore bank fishery in the early 19th and into the 20th century. I recall my grandfather speaking of stopping there on some of his longer journeys. Hundreds of fisherman flocked to the area, the Grenfell Mission provided medical services.
Battle Harbour, in its current form presents an opportunity to visit historical buildings, walkways and work areas, while receiving an interpretative tour. Upon arrival you also get a meal. Additionally, it has a distinction of being the only historic site in Canada where you can overnight in the historical buildings http://www.battleharbour.com/home/. I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity, but next time I certainly will, as Battle Harbour is the perfect get-a-way from it all retreat.
We are blessed to have many Rural Retreats in Newfoundland and Labrador. Around every corner if we stop, take a look and breathe it all in, we will see that we have a great quality of life that many can only dream. I have visited many large centres and rural villages on my travels, but there is no retreat comparable!