A Little Piece of Heaven Exists on Change Islands, NL

As the sun sets on the horizon, one has a feeling that a little piece of heaven exists on Change Islands, NL,


On Saturday, May 2nd I found that little piece of heaven as I took the afternoon ferry, the MV Earl W. Windsor from Farewell to Change Islands. The return fare with a vehicle is $7.15. No doubt this 30 minute direct run, which was slowed by heavy pack ice is heavily subsidized by the Province. If you have not yet been, you are missing out on one of rural Newfoundland & Labrador’s best kept secrets.

The 12 kilomentre jaunt into Town, with a population of 160 has incredible views. The southern part of the island is uninhabited, with trees, bogs and marsh dominating the landscape. Before reaching the second island, I pulled over to take photos of clothes hanging on the line. It made me think of Deborah Gordon and her clothesline calendars. I took several dozen photos before I even reached the bridge and was forced to pull over as the views at both sides of the Tickle would not let me go further.

I stood by the boats took some snaps, after looking around, I just couldn’t contain myself and jumped up and down with joy. This place was real, this place was what is rural Newfoundland & Labrador, as the fishery dominated the landscape – the boats, the wharves, nets and the fishing sheds. I knew at that moment, I was really going to like this place.

The Burgundy Squid and Craft Shop is currently closed, as it is still early for the season. The “For Sale” sign in the window presents a unique business opportunity for the right individual. Behind this dwelling is a Knitting Economuseum and views that will take you breath away.

After passing the Seven Oakes, I made my way to the North end of the island where I would take some photos of the lovely vernacular architecture, view the 120 year old St. Margaret’s Church, pass the “Pink” house, see the shed from Harry Hibbs’ squidjiggin’ ground* and make a trek up on Squidjiggers Trail.

*Editors Note: I’ve been informed Arthur Scammell had written the squid jigging grounds and was born on Change Islands. The school is named A.R. Scammell, so it may be named after him? I could only re-call Harry Hibbs version of what is Scammell’s song. Thank you “Proud to call it home” for your comment.

Squidjigger’s Trail was not possible for me to fully navigate, given rubber boots would have been better footwear than my mesh sneakers, but I did get to the top of the hill. It was quite the look out. You could see where the birds would drop sea urchins or crabs to expose the meat. The ice views and dwellings, while the wind gently blew was nothing but awe inspiring.

Change Islands does not only the mind good, but the body as well. The food that is served is nothing but the best of Newfoundland dishes. My supper included fish n’ brewis, with a helping of scrunchions (fried pork fat). To top it all off was homemade lemon meringue pie. One could not ask for a better tasting dish or better hospitality.

Dinner table conversation led to more adventure. Another walk around the island, but as the sun was about to set. Serenity, tranquility are words that come to mind. As that last ferry sailed away for the day, you know you were just that little bit removed from the rest of the world for the night.

I was only on Change Islands for a few hours, but there was a real sense of contentment here – that I felt at home!

Who wouldn’t want to wake up to views like this?


On Sunday morning, I had a meeting at 11:30 AM, so I made sure to get up early to trek the roads and places I had not been the day before.


Despite the morning rain it was quite a fruitful experience, from the homes in the NL Tourism Ads, Newfoundland Ponies, trails, wood piles, root cellars, encounters with locals and more postcard perfect views around every single corner – I certainly made the most of my time.


I met at the Town Hall with the Manolis L. Citizen’s Committee as they continue to raise concerns about the 600,000 litres of oil that must be removed from the 30 year old sunken vessel. Chronic leaks have been detrimental to bird and sea life. Further action must be taken, to prevent a catastrophic spill that would put at risk the environment and economy of the entire Notre Dame Bay Region.

I am very thankful to the hospitality exhibited from the residents of Change Islands. I feel now, I have friends on these islands that I look forward to continuing to have conversations and learn more about the storied past and the ever changing future of this dynamic island economy.

Time had passed very quickly, as I waited for the MV Earl W. Windsor to depart the harbour. The heavy pack ice was ever more present that day, requiring ice breaking assistance of the Canadian Coast Guard. It was smooth sailing as I made my way back to the busy city life. Reality was setting pretty quick – it would be another week before I would get back to the authenticity and beauty that is home.

The photos are wonderful, but the views and experiences are even more brilliant in person. Thank you all for making Change Islands the destination that is worthy of being known as a little piece of heaven here on earth. You too, can experience this magical place too!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)


  1. Great article but Harry Hibbs did not write the squid jigging ground. It was Arthur Scammell. He was born and raised on Change Islands. Being such a well known piece of NL music history, it is well documented who wrote it and where he originated from.

  2. I just finished reading A.R. Scammell’s book “We Go A-Fishing”. It’s quite a good book and although it pertains to Change Islands there is a lot in it that reflects the industry in almost any Newfoundland community. After reading Scammell’s book, it’s nice to read your blog and see the pictures of Change Islands.

    Ummm…did I miss the clothesline pictures somehow…I didn’t see any among your snaps?

    1. Ha ha. First picture I clicked had a clothesline. Sorry. Oh, and great pictures…beautiful little community and great photography.

  3. The Squid Jiggin’ Ground was written by AR Scammell when he was a boy of 15 or so. It was the first song ever recorded exclusively for the Newfoundland Market, though the print version was available prior to that. Many have recorded it since but the song was sung and recorded by Art Scammell and a copy of that recording exists on Youtube. The song was played on the Bell Tower on Parliament Hill in 1949 when NL joined confederation and later Scammell received the Order of Canada as well as a honorary Doctorate from MUN for his life’s work. The school on Change Islands is named after him and the new Change Islands-Fogo Island ferry, The MV Veteran’s observation deck will also bear his name. It was good to have you visit Chris! The photos are amazing and a wonderful blog post! I see it all over my social media. I should have mentioned that there isn’t likely a town in Newfoundland more proud to be where they’re from. We all stay connected to our island no matter where we go so I’ve a feeling this post is going to be quite popular!

  4. My late husbands ancesters came from Ghange Islands..We had the privelige of visiting some years ago..Walked across the land of the old homestead…

    1. Thank you Phil for commenting on this posting. You will have many opportunities with your group of photographers to capture some incredible images. Thanks for sharing your webpage as well.

  5. you have made me homesick with all the beautiful pictures.I have family in Change Islands.i now live in ontario but newfoundland will always be home in my heart

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog posting about Change Islands. I was a visitor and it truly had an impact on me. I love all things rural and Change Islands is a special authentic place. I hope you get to return again soon!

  6. Wonderful review, photos. Wish we could go back. Family trip in 2015 where my husbands mother was born. The best scenes and people anywhere we’ve been. You must go back in July or August with proper shoes to hike the trails. Beulah’s B & B is the best, ?only, place to stay. We’re 85 next year. Can we squeeze in another trip?

  7. Have you ever heard of Berts Cove, My mother was born there in 1928. I believe it to be one of the coves in changed Island. She came from a family of four children but I am u able to find any information. Any chance you have heard of Berts Cove

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