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The word Baccalieu is Portuguese for salted cod fish.


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Carbonear Island



Carbonear Island Development Strategy

Carbonear, NL – November 18, 2020 – Have you noticed as you drive through Carbonear that a silent sentinel guards the mouth of the harbour and indeed has been guarding the waters of the harbour for longer than we can know.  The little island has a history that would make most history buffs sit up and take notice.  Read on to learn a bit more about its past, and keep your eyes and ears open for coming information on the island that will intrigue you.


The “sentinel” is Carbonear Island a.k.a. the “Gibraltar of the North” and down through the centuries it has been the scene of activity that will captivate your imagination and transport you back to the past:  black flags of pirate ships have been reflected in the waters surrounding the island as pirate captains scanned the gulches and rocks of its shoreline searching for possible places of concealment from enemies; its cliffs and battlements have resounded to d’Iberville’s guns as the early settlers from the area frustrated the French invaders, not once but twice.  It has been home to the families who fished from its shores in summer, allowing them to harvest vegetables and hay from its soil while harvesting the fish from the surrounding waters in more peaceful times.  The reflected light from the lighthouse has been a welcome beacon for storm-weary travelers since the late 1800s but with the departure of the last family of Forwards from the lighthouse in 1928, the silence on the Island in more recent times has been broken only by the seabirds that find refuge there as they nest and raise their young.


Today, new activity concerning the ancient island, as in its earlier history, is coming from the direction of the Town of Carbonear.  A committed group of people have met and begun to wage an action that will once more bring Carbonear Island into the spotlight. Already, a comprehensive report has been completed and launched and the recommendations of that report are interesting and impressive.  Mariner Resource Opportunities Network (M-RON) Inc., the Regional Economic Development Board for Zone 17, has recently hired two staff persons, a Project Coordinator and a Research Officer, to fulfill the outlined recommendations of the Carbonear Island Development Strategy Report (completed by Facilities Design Group Inc., 2004) in conjunction with the directives of the Strategic Planning Committee.  A Strategic Action Planning session has been held and fourteen direct initiatives have been identified and will be the beginning of long-term planning and development for Carbonear Island.


Carbonear Island has been a focal point through centuries of our history.  Today it has great potential as an anchor attraction for the tourism industry and will bring attention to the whole of the Baccalieu Trail Region.  Through strong partnerships that will include both the public and private sectors, the Island’s rich history and development potential will become the anchor attraction for tourism, education and private, as well as public, investment.


Look in the Compass for regular updates on our progress and other interesting tidbits concerning the Carbonear Island.


If you have stories, objects or other items that might reflect on the rich history of Carbonear Island, please contact:


Fred Earle, Committee Chair

Florence Button, Project Coordinator

Erica Jackson, Research Officer


22 Goff Avenue, Carbonear

(709) 596-6217


Mariner Resource Opportunities Network (M-RON) Inc.

P.O. Box 520

Carbonear, NL   A1Y 1B9


[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]


We look forward to hearing from you!



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