Named after a type of handmade local anchor The Killick Coast extends east from Topsail along the south shore of Conception Bay to Cape St. Francis, and ends just outside the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Capital, St. John’s. One of the best ways to get to know the Killick Coast is to drive the 55-kilometre length of the coastline visiting the towns, bays and farming areas which lie within the Killick boundaries.
At Portugal Cove, so named because the Portuguese visited the area in the 14th Century, you can board the small ferry for the 20-minute trip to Bell Island. This island is interesting because it used to have productive iron ore mines, but was also where a number of allied ships were sunk by German U-Boats in 1942. There’s also a prominent lighthouse on the island upon which are painted murals which depict the area’s history.
After visiting the island, travel to the small fishing village of Bauline to get some great views of Conception Bay. From here continue on to Pouch Cove, which is one of the oldest settlements in Newfoundland, having been occupied since at least 1611. Pouch Cove’s dangerous harbour was the primary reason for its early settlement, and the reason was that the torrid conditions kept away the ships of the Royal Navy that were scouring the coastline looking for illegal settlers, and also the pirates who would often attack and plunder the small settlements.
There’s quite a famous local story which centres around an extraordinary rescue that occurred following the wreck of the ship the Waterwitch in 1875. It is said that when the ship went aground in a storm with 25 people aboard, a courageous resident, Alfred Moores, performed a daring rescue. According to legend, Moores allowed himself to be lowered to the ship by a rope from an overhanging cliff so that he could carry the people to safety; his heroic actions were responsible for saving 11 lives.
The Killick Coast has attracted everyone from roving buccaneers to the English and Irish ancestors of its modern day residents. Historic Torbay was the scene of a strategic and successful military manoeuvre in 1762 when British forces under Colonel Amherst used this village as their base of operation to retake St. John’s from the French army that had captured it previously.
From Torbay there is a scenic route called Marine Drive that winds in and out of the small communities along the coastline. This is said to be one of the best points on the east coast of the island for admiring the magnificent Atlantic seascape.
It is worth stopping at various points along the drive for, in the right season, you can see whales and icebergs and sea ice. This is a rugged coastline of steep cliffs, attractive bays and windswept beaches, and a great place to experience a region of Canada that is seldom visited.
I received a very helpful email from Kelly at Educatorlabs.org in North Carolina informing me about a broken link in this story. She said that her students had been looking at this story and had suggested other links about Canada that I could add. In the spirit of cooperation and to let Kelly’s students know that their opinions are important, I am going to add their suggested links here.
Thank you Kelly and students for taking such an interest in geography and travel.
Keep up the great work Kelly and students!