There has been a longstanding tacit agreement between the old and the young in rural Newfoundland: those that can move away, probably will.
And in most spots b’y, it’s hard to blame them.
It’s a rare sight indeed to see an old face return home after many years away, and rarer still to come home for good. But every so often, those who leave seeking opportunity elsewhere find the greatest opportunity in the home they once left. This is the case with Miranda McCarthy – Owner of the newly opened Bonavista Bicycle Cafe and Picnics.
Born and raised in Bonavista, McCarthy left to pursue an English degree, and later a career in public relations. After some time in the world of corporate PR she found herself immersed in the stock market as a public relations liaison in the mining industry. At the height of the early 2000s market, she was the owner of her own PR firm with offices in Vancouver and Toronto.
And then in 2008, the Market Crashed.
At the time McCarthy was a recent mother of two small children and was forced into a series of moves to make ends meet. First by working for a soon-to-be-bankrupt lifestyle magazine, then was laid off from another position within the mining industry before finally getting into real estate, just in time for another massive market downturn.
McCarthy was working part-time as an instructor at Academy Canada on Kenmount Road when the opportunity to lease a small cafe property on the Bonavista waterfront became available. “It was perfect.” The property itself used to be a barter store in its operating days, but is now owned by Provincial Historic Sites.
“There never would have been an opportunity for me to come back home unless Bonavista started taking off like… well… like it HAS been taking off!”
The cafe itself has been a grind Bradley says, sometimes working several weeks straight without a day to herself. McCarthy had no experience in restaurants prior to opening her cafe – but she knew how to run a business and perhaps more importantly she knew how to sell a story: “Small-town-girl leaves for the big city to work in the stock market only to find herself back again when the town she grew-up in takes off as a tourist hotspot.”
This is a story he has the opportunity to practice often, as the tourists continue to show up from all walks of life: both young and old; rich and, well, not rich.“And all to see these things we have here like puffins, whales, icebergs… things that I once took for granted!”
McCarthy says the real reason for starting this venture however is not to cash-in on the growing wave of tourist dollars washing up on Bonavista’s shore. Rather, it’s to ensure that her kids have the same freedom she felt as a kid, to roam around until sundown just exploring and without her having to worry.
It seems that this sentiment rings true to both McCarthy and every tourist she meets. The most remarked upon feature by tourists in Newfoundland is that they feel safe here, even among strangers. It’s a small wonder then why they come here when one stops to think what a relief that must be to those who can’t find it at home.