Trinity - Newfoundland

by Lynda White

As we stepped out of our hire car we soon realised that we had found one of Newfoundland’s treasures. On the roadside overlooking Trinity, my travel companion and I agreed that we would not look out of place arriving here by horse and cart. Behind us, a gentle sloping granite hillside and ahead stood the town, just as it did several hundred years ago. The pastel painted wooden houses with their green and red tiled roofs stood against the breathtaking backdrop of Trinity Harbour, a town steeped in history and totally unspoilt with the ravages of time. Not one high-rise block or concrete car park in sight. [more]

Our holiday had begun in St Johns, the capital city of Newfoundland. Although we didn’t travel there with the intention of delving into its past, somehow it was difficult not to. The city is bathed in Maritime history with so many connections to the UK fishing trade and the locals soon convinced us that it was time to explore further. “Many of us are descendants of the early settlers”, a proud local announced in an accent that can only be described as a cross between Irish and Canadian. This was the Newfoundland dialect, an Irish tradition that had survived the test of time, folk dancing being another. A walk along the main street revealed the sound of Irish jigs resounding from the bars into the cool night air. This added the city’s a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Travelling to Newfoundland at the end of May gave us the best chance to witness spring on this island rich in natural beauty and it has reputation for happening particularly quickly. We were not disappointed and within a few days of us arriving, the blossom was on the trees and the city was transformed from winter, displaying a wealth of new growth, into spring. Only two months earlier, visitors would have enjoyed the delights of the snow, skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports. But this fine weather allowed us the luxury of travelling on roads that would have been previously impassable.

The journey to Trinity took us out of the city, past magnificent lakes and typical Canadian pine forests, along the highway through the Avalon Region and into the Eastern Region. Trinity Bay lies between these two areas. It was a novelty to catch a glimpse of moose grazing on the fresh buds during the day as we passed by but we were warned to be wary about driving in the darkness hours, as they have a tendency to wander in the road.

Two hundred and fifty seven Kilometres from St Johns, we had stepped back in time to one of Newfoundland’s many isolated settlements with its community largely shaped by the sea and its abundant fish stocks. Trinity’s magnificent harbour had, for many hundreds of years, provided shelter from the North Atlantic ocean for a migratory fishing fleet and a home and livelihood for the families once involved in the salting industry and as we soon discovered, the salt box houses and fishing rooms had been restored to their original condition and open to visitors. Close to where we parked the car, overlooking the town, was a wooden church and a neat cemetery adjoining.

The headstones, all remarkably intact, had clear inscriptions dating back as far as 1700s, many with intricate carvings. We agreed, a haven for the family history researcher!

Having taken in the view from the hillside, our walk into town took us past the Lester Garland house, now rebuilt and once owned by a Merchant from Dorset who gained his wealth by the rich pickings of this newly found land (hence the name). In the local store, the assistant enquired, ‘Have you visited the film location of Shipping News yet?’ and added ‘you can also see where Random Passage was filmed’. With the local museum to check out, icebergs and whales to spot, we had plenty to keep us occupied for the next few days. It was rumoured that the picturesque harbour was the best in Newfoundland so were looking forward to taking a few photos whilst exploring the secluded beaches and inlets.

Although we wouldn’t be in town long enough to see it, we learned that Trinity holds a yearly Pageant, informing visitors and locals of the traditions and hardships of their forefathers by re-enacting historic events. Traditional music and folk dancing is practiced regularly by the townspeople and provides entertainment for all.

We were happy to have found this place so full of interest, the tranquillity was unrivalled and the air was pure and fresh with a wealth of unspoilt land just waiting to be explored.

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