MAP: The abandoned communities of our province

600 towns settled. 600 towns abandoned.

If a picture can say a thousand words, then what about a Google map?

In the large scheme of the world, our island and our chunk of mainland are still quite “new.” But, regrettably, much of Newfoundland and Labrador has been not only found, but already lost.

Our satellite, country, and now province, has been undergoing constant change since its discovery in 1497, and this is no more evident than when looking through Smallwood’s Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador and period maps.

It immediately becomes clear that many of the settlements which were full of life even in the 1950s do not exist today. This is a characteristic not shared by our Canadian counterparts, and yet another unique element of culture which makes our people truly ‘independent’.

The interactive map displays the 600 towns and villages which were founded and later deserted in our short 500 years of history. By clicking on each pin you can see for yourself the name of the town, the year it was settled, the year it was abandoned and the highest recorded population for that town. The pins are also colour-coded to represent the decade in which the settlements were abandoned – refer to the table below for more information.

600 towns settled. 600 towns abandoned. Who were the people that lived in these towns? Why did they decide to leave? Does anything remain in these locations today? How much do we collectively know about them, and how many stories and have been lost forever?

View the Abandoned Communities Map in Newfoundland and Labrador in a larger window

And for further proof of Newfoundland’s penchant for quirky names…

Funny names

Man Point
Woman Cove
Great Bona
Little Bona
Beaver Cove
Tickle Beach
Indian Tickle
Long Tickle
Occasional Harbour
Jerry’s Nose

Places you might never want to go

Burnt Island
Rogues’ Harbour
Muddy Hole
Venoms Bight
Dead Islands
Pearl Harbour (ab. 1945)
Separation Point

Pleasant-sounding places

Safe Harbour
Doctors’ Harbour
Gin Cove
Thwart Island

Most foreign-sounding names


Have you been to any of these abandoned locations and found anything? Share your pics.

Do you have any stories about these places? Share them.

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