Find Yourself on Bell Island, Newfoundland & Labrador

On January 2, 2012 – My friends & I set out on our first adventure of the New Year. We hopped in the car, drove to Portugal Cove-St. Phillips, after a few minutes waiting in line and a fare of less than $10 return ($6.25 for passenger + car/$1.75 for each additional passenger) we hopped on the MV Flanders and worked our way across the tickle.

The ferry ride is short about 20 minutes on the water ~40 minutes total. If you visit the City of St. Johns, consider adding Bell Island to your agenda as it truly is a stark contrast of life and beauty in itself.

Bell Island was once home to an iron ore mine that made it the second largest populated area, next to the  capital. It has a rich vibrant history, one that may be re-explored  as an announcement came a day or two after our visit that the mine may re-open.

No visit to Bell Island can be complete with at least one visit to Dick’s Famous Fish & Chips. It has been a fixture to the island for 60 years. This is quite a milestone for any small business.

The fish and chips were likely battered with a secret recipe, surely only available to family. I bet the workers are not even privy to such a lucrative combination. Enough for my selling pitch, before I get to a point of exaggeration. 🙂 The fish n’ chips were served golden brown and would not  disappoint as they tantalized the taste buds.

I was quite happy I ordered the three-piece meal, as it truly has been the best fish n’ chips I’ve tasted on the East Coast of the island of Newfoundland & Labrador. There was no choice but to leave satisfied and with a full stomach.

Dick’s Fish and Chips has done a remarkable job of marketing itself as a fixture – one which may have evolved over time. This was present from a wall of cartoons and notes posted in the hallway leading up to the take-out and restaurant seating area as past patrons noted how much they loved “Dicks”.

I have noted before the importance of truly marketing the rural experience. I challenge other retailers and small businesses to find their niche, stand out and create a following that will help you continue adding loyal customers into multiple decades whether you use humour, appeal, facts or some other means to market.

If you find yourself on Bell Island – Do not dare leave without some of Dicks’s Fish & Chips.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
PS. I’ll be  following up shortly with more of our Bell Island Adventure….


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