St. Barbe-Pigeon Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula is the year-round port for the MV Qajaq W, which crosses the Strait of Belle Isle in 1 hour and 45 minutes to land in Blanc Sablon, Quebec, just a few kilometres south of the Labrador border. For Ferry Information click here.
The opening and significant investment of paving in the Trans-Labrador highway, as well as a World UNESCO designation for Red Bay Basque Site has increased visitor traffic to Labrador. In 2019, the former MV Apollo was replaced with an enhanced vessel with 12 year $144 million contract to improve service. The work continues to see further upgrades of local infrastructure.
A number of tour companies see Gros Morne National Park and Tablelands World UNESCO site and L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage site as the perfect itinerary, with the inclusion of UNESCO at Red Bay, Labrador. The community of St. Barbe offers accommodations, food services, gas station, retail and is a hub of recreation activity.
While visiting this community or waiting for your ferry commute, I encourage you to take a walk on the beautiful trails. The St. Barbe-Pigeon Cove Walking trail is part of an inter-connected system that can take you as far as Forrester’s Point in a linear trail. It is more than 10 kilometres to complete the full system on a return journey.
This portion of the trail begins at the St. Barbe RV park, which is across from the Ferry Terminal. You can follow the fence to the forest and follow a crushed stone pathway that will take you to the waterfront area of Pigeon Cove in just a short kilometre.
I had the pleasure of taking this trail during the summer, but also recently in January, which offered another unique perspective as freezing was beginning in the harbour.
The St. Barbe RV park has been since upgraded with new red siding and will be ready for your business this coming season. There are many important amenities and offerings for the visitor, commuter or resident in St. Barbe-Pigeon Cove. When visiting the Great Northern Peninsula, this is gateway you will not want to miss.
Learn more about the Great Northern Peninsula’s trails by clicking here.
Live Rural NL –
Today, is another game changer for our Great Northern Peninsula! The community of Conche joined 10 others (Bay de Verde, Burin, Burlington, Cow Head, Cox’s Cove, Forteau, Hampden, McIvers, Trout River and Winterton) in Newfoundland and Labrador that will see new or enhanced cellular service.
This is a big deal for a community at the heart of the French Shore that has a strong fishing community and has been diversifying its offering to include hospitality, tourism and cultural products. 2020 saw internet improvements and 2021 will also see the completion of paving on Route 434, as it was scheduled to be done in 2020 but the tendered work did not get completed before the end of the construction season. Conche will now be well positioned to compete in the 21st century and have opportunities for further growth. I wrote an article in 2014 entitled, “The Fire Still Burns – Conche, NL”. Although there have been changes over the years since that article, new businesses have opened and now with these investments there will be new opportunity in this region. An investment of cellular service can only help attract more visitors and residents to the Great Northern Peninsula!
I firmly believe that we must invest in advancing our transportation and telecommunications networks to remain competitive and enable rural economies to have the successful tools they need to thrive.
In 2018, it was truly a pleasure to serve as Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation and gain the necessary approvals to create the first of its kind cellular service pilot program. Budget 2018 allocated $1 million to the program which required a partnership with a provider and community/organization and a contribution of 25 percent from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. This initial program saw significant leverage and approvals for multiple communities on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula (including L’anse aux Meadows, a World UNESCO site), Southeastern Labrador (including Red Bay, a World UNESCO site), Lark Harbour & York Harbour, various communities in St. Mary’s area, Bauline, Pouch Cove, King’s Point, Lord’s Cove and Francophone communities on the Port au Port peninsula.
Communities on the Great Northern Peninsula along Route 436, Route 437 and Route 430 have already reaped the benefits of cellular service, which means improved safety, enhanced quality of life, supports dozens of small businesses en route to L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site, expand marketing potential and creates numerous other opportunities.
A trek along the Iceberg Trail, a multi-day hike from L’anse aux Meadows to St. Lunaire-Griquet including the abandoned community of Fortune or a trek to the Glass Hole in Conche will be much safer and I’m sure showing up more on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook or other social media channels when there is a signal. I’ll share with you in some upcoming posts incredible hiking adventures that you can have on the Great Northern Peninsula!
The Great Northern Peninsula has come a long way in the last decade with dozens of communities connected to high-speed Internet and cellular service for the first time, Conche seeing its road into the community paved for the first time in 50 years and many other investments in roads, wharfs, airport and other vital infrastructure. To have strong rural economics it is vital to keep advancing these two pillars – Transportation and Telecommunications! Let’s keep building stronger communities!
Today is another great day for our Great Northern Peninsula!
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA for District of St. Barbe-L’anse aux Meadows
This past summer I visited the Burin Peninsula, which is quickly developing its tourism product. Heritage Run is quickly becoming a destination for many travelers to our province. With a direct ferry connection to an international destination of St. Pierre-Miquelon, an economuseum, expansive trails, museums, heritage square, dinner theatres, beaches and more. One place that stood out as a model to truly replicate in our rural communities was the Artisan’s Nook in Lamaline.
The importance of buying local and filling a gap that residents and tourists want – access to quality made locally produced products that are handmade. The concept is quite simple of using space in a community building to set-up a permanent craft shop that is professional and operated by one of the artists. A collective of artisans working together in a cooperative has created something beautiful for residents and tourists alike.
Four talented locals came together, quilter Christina Lundrigan, artist Kathy Hillier, rug hooker Anne Kirby and knitter and crocheter Melaine Lambe operate this shop, but also work and interact with visitors as they are surrounded by their creations.
I have several pieces of Anne Kirby’s hooked rug ornaments hanging on my tree. I especially loved my line of salted cod.
I also purchased mummer things, which is quintessentially a part of our Newfoundland and Labrador cultural activities, still celebrated today.
The shop is an outlet of creativity, to purchase a variety of product, utilizes technology and illustrates the type of success people in small communities can have by working together to create the right atmosphere. Four artists now will spend less time marketing and more time creating. A permanent shop reduces setup time, provides continuity for repeat customers and multiple people allows for sharing the day required to be physically at the shop. Sales are not lost because of cooperation.
This is a more sophisticated model of a continuous craft fair that adds so much value to the artist, the community and the tourism product offering. I was impressed by use of the “square” (a credit card processing and business solution that connects to a mobile or iPad and allows for direct sales https://squareup.com/ca). I’ve seen more crafters using this technology at fairs, markets and at shops, which has led to increased sales.
I would encourage communities to open community hall or other spaces and artists to consider a model like the Artisan’s Nook. It can be a valuable addition for all involved. Drop by Lamaline, say hello and get some great pieces of art today!
Live Rural NL,
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA for St. Barbe-L’Anse aux Meadows and Minister of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development
At the end of summer, I took what would be my third Northland Discovery Boat Tour in just over a decade. It was my first without an iceberg (given the lateness in the season this was to be expected), but was I ever surprised by the number of whales I would see and the show the orcas and humpbacks would put on for me!
Located at the Grenfell Historic Properties Dock, St. Anthony, NL – Northland Discovery Boat Tours is the place you can see more whales, more icebergs and have more time on the water. It is an experience one will want to take if iceberg and whale watching is on your bucket list on the tip of Great Northern Peninsula!
Departing scenic St. Anthony harbour, one gets a warm feeling of the significant fishing history of this community – the presence of wharves, fishing rooms, a state of the art shrimp plant, cold storage, port facilities for fishing vessels and so much more. As you get to the end of the harbour, Fishing Point Park’s lighthouse, walking trails, Lightkeeper’s Café, Fishing Point Emporium and the Great Viking Feast are the last dwellings you see before hitting the open water.
As we travelled past neighbouring communities of St. Anthony Bight, Great Brehat and St. Carol’s we would see boaters and fishers jigging for cod fish on the last days of August. It was clear there was lots of fish in the water, making our likelihood of seeing whales that much more possible.
Three humpback whales were working together to push fish near the rocks and become a feeding ground for the whales. It created an opportunity for some lovely photos. On the return we would capture some impressive coastline.
The biggest surprise was the 7 orcas (killer whales) we were greeting with again near the mouth of the harbour. It was my first time seeing orcas, so it was quite memorable and the perfect summer surprise. I captured many up close photos and videos of the whales.
The 2.5 hour boat tour was highly educational, offered hands on information about barnacles, birds, whales and bergs (icebergs). It also at times includes a trip to a sea cave called “the oven” and includes some local folklore.
As we steamed back in the sun was beaming and shrimp draggers were returning to port. There was a comforting feeling knowing all the amazing beauty and economic potential that is garnered from the sea. It is our reason for why we settled permanently on the Great Northern Peninsula and businesses, such as Northland Discovery Boat Tours shares a little bit of that with the world. If you are interested in a tour check out – http://www.discovernorthland.com/
Experience the Great Northern Peninsula –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA St. Barbe-L’Anse aux Meadows
The Burnt Cape Cafe is a wonderful place to dine on traditional seafood dishes, moose meals and berry desserts. Situated in historic Raleigh this business offers an appealing space, with beautiful waterfront views, while listening to the music by local Quirpon native Wayne Bartlett.
This season moose has made the menu, including soup, burgers and cheese steak sandwiches. I ordered the moose soup to start and it surely was a welcome treat, as I’ve not had my grandmother’s version in such a long time. It was a hearty bowl, with chunky vegetables and filled with savouring flavour. A great way to start any meal.
As a main, I had pan fried cod, steamed broccoli. and Parmesan mashed potatoes with coleslaw. The meal was cooked with care, as the vegetables were perfect, the potatoes are out of this world dreamy and the cod just incredibly fresh as it fell gently with each fork full.
No meal could be complete without dessert, so I opted for the bakeapple sundae. This was truly a tantalizing treat! Local wildberries add to the gourmet flavouring of what the dining experience at Burnt Cape Cafe offers to its patrons.
The business, which includes cabins, vacation home, convenience store, gift shop and gas station has a rating of 9.1 from Booking.com which highlights the care and attention to visitors. The owners have put together a nice package to offer an experience to their guests. This may include the walk to the wharf to pick your own lobster for dinner and getting your photo taken for social media to capture the moment.
A Little Free Library has popped up outside their business, where residents and visitors can take a book or leave a book any time of the day. This is a great community economic development concept and initiative that I’d love to see more Little Free Libraries on the Great Northern Peninsula and across Newfoundland & Labrador.
I enjoy conversations with Ted and Marina, the owners of this small business as they are striving to find new ways to create opportunities in their small Town.
Keep up your entrepreneurial spirit Ted and Marina! Rural Newfoundland and Labrador certainly needs more small business to thrive!
It’s not too late to make a booking or drop by this gem on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. Visit www.burntcape.com/
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA (The Straits-White Bay North)