The provincial government recently set some money aside to develop tourism on the West Coast of NL. It’s a smart investment, given the importance of tourism to our economy, and the fact so many people call the West Coast the Best Coast.
Here’s 10 fun things you maybe didn’t know about the area:
The town of Aguathuna was originally named Jack of Club’s Cove, but a quarry manager, running a new limestone mine in the area, worried no one would take a place called Jack of Club’s Cove seriously. An Archbishop suggested Aguathuna, which he said was Beothuk for Limestone.
There are 18 World UNESCO Heritage Sites in Canada; 2 of them are on the West Coast of Newfoundland: L’Anse Aux Meadows & Gros Morne National Park. UNESCO Heritage Sites are areas selected by the United Nations as worthy of protection for “the collective interest of humanity.”
Stephenville was once known as “Acadian Village” and deemed “paradise of farmland and fishing ” by settlers fleeing poverty and strife in Nova Scotia in the mid 1800s. The name, Stephenville, is in honour of the first boy born into the village. Stephen Gallant or Stephen LeBlanc, depending who you ask.
L’Anse Aux Meadows is arguably the first European settlement in North America. About 1000 years ago, Norse Vikings sailed here from Greenland in utterly unsafe boats, built a small encampment of timber-and-sod buildings, must’ve gotten cold, and vanished. Today it’s a famous national historic site.
Isle-Aux-Morts means “Island of the Dead.” It was so named because of the abundance of shipwrecks in the area, which makes it a hotspot for diving enthusiasts. Every summer, there’s an Ann Harvey Days festival to commemorate her and her Newfoundland Dog’s habitual rescuing of people aboard sinking ships.
Human history in the area dates back roughly 5,000 years. Port-Aux Choix — both a town and National Historic Site — is one of the richest archaeological finds in North America. Burial sites provide evidence of Maritime Archaic Indians, Dorset Palaeoeskimos, Beothuks, and more.
The Port Au Port Peninsula is home to the most varied ethnic and linguistic backgrounds in the province, including Mi’kmaq and Basque families, and the highest proportion of French-speaking locals on the island. The peninsula is said to have had a prominent influence on folk music in NL.
There is an unincorporated fishing community named Jerrys Nose. It is purposefully spelled without an apostrophe, and named after a fisherman who was sent tumbling down to the bottom of a cove by a freak gust of wind, which busted his nose open.
Plenty of people speculate that Sop’s Arm is the ” Straumfjörð” referred to in Viking travel lore. A 2010 investigation of possible Norse hunting pits in Sop’s Arm did declare that “no other cultures in the area are known to have used deadfalls to hunt.”
Corner Brook’s Newfound Sushi offers the best sushi (and sake selection) in the province … and names its special rolls after local landmarks, like the Blow Me Down Roll or the Humber River Roll. It sources local, including cod and smoked char rolls.