The Bonavista Peninsula is on the east coast of the island of Newfoundland, Canada surrounded by the North Atlantic Ocean. The peninsula separates Trinity Bay and Bonavista Bay and has about 30 small coastal communities. I live 100 km. from the town of Bonavista and visit the peninsula fairly frequently.
My first visit was in 1995 with my late wife whose family is from this area. We had been living in the Toronto area for many years and during our vacation trip to the peninsula I fell in love with the place. One sunny afternoon on that trip we hiked out to the headland past Tickle Cove and watched a huge iceberg break up off shore. On that day we made a pact that when our daughter graduated high school we would try to move here. Emily graduated in June 1999 and in July I started work at the college in nearby Clarenville. The power of will.
This is a very rugged landscape. Newfoundlanders often refer affectionately to their home province as “The Rock”. On the Bonavista Peninsula it’s easy to see why. There is very little topsoil and many exposed geological formations. You rarely see a house with a basement.
Some of the oldest permanent settlements in the province were established in this area in the decades following John Cabot’s voyage of discovery in 1497. Communities were started near natural harbours where the fishing boats could shelter from the sometimes vicious North Atlantic Ocean. Homes were simple wood structures usually built by their owners; churches and schools were constructed by community volunteers.
I see a simple but strong beauty in this area. There is a built environment but the natural landscape retains an equal voice.