From early June through Thanksgiving, Rising Tide theatre features daily performances. Commissioned works by local playwrights, dramatic productions that recount the history of Newfoundland, and haunting voices singing traditional songs are Rising Tide’s best work. In particular, we love No Man’s Land - the story of the Newfoundland Regiment during the Batle of the Somme in WWI, when nearly an entire generation of Newfoundland’s young men were killed in a single battle at Beaumont Hamel. The Trinity Pageant - a series of vignettes about the history of the area performed outdoors during a walk about town plays on Wednesdays and Saturdays, as does the dinner theatre. For your choice of meal, best to book the dinner theatre early.
Before modern roads, schooners visited the coasts of Newfoundland, bringing provisions in the summer months. To survive the winters, people had to store vegetables they had grown, berries they had harvested, salt fish and other provisions in root cellars. By the time the “long, hungry month of March” came, supplies were low, and people were hungry. The seal hunt provided fresh meat to keep families from starvation, and the pelts provided much-needed income - a cash economy so different from the traditional merchant trade. Men and boys, without the luxury of modern gear, crossed the open ocean on ice pans heaving on the surface of a frigid sea. Experience the Newfoundland Seal Hunt as told by Newfoundlanders in art and verse.
Built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the great sealing disasters of 1914, Home from the Sea features a visitor’s centre and a seaside monument to remember the boys and men who were lost in two separate disasters during the same storm — the first, the sinking of the SS Southern Cross on it’s return from the Gulf of St. Lawrence; the second, when the crew of the SS Newfoundland were left out on the ice while a storm raged for two days, after two ships captains (a father and son) mistakenly assumed the crew to be aboard the other’s ship. I promise, the experience will be thought-provoking, and unforgettable.
Step back in time in historic Port Union. Explore the history of the brave fisherfolk who defied the traditional balance of power in the fishery, started the Fisherman’s Protective Union, and built a pioneering community with cutting-edge technology. Amidst a number of historic buildings that include living quarters for the workers, you can tour through the factory that now houses the printing presses, artifacts from the retail shop, tools and equipment preserved from a time when they endeavoured to generate local employment by crafting everything from barrels and fish bars to windows and furniture in-house. With so much history to preserve, be sure to support the incredible efforts of the Coaker Foundation. Nearby, an aspiring Geopark is taking root.
Since it’s inception 50 years ago, the Trinity Historical Society has been instrumental in preserving the traditional architecture that makes Trinity special. You can purchase a pass to explore their sites, and the two provincial historic sites in Trinity. Experience living history at the Green Family Forge - a working blacksmith’s shop, or at the cooperage, where traditional barrel-making takes place - a skill important to the traditional outport way of life. Be sure to check out the famous table at the Lester-Garland House and the period restoration of both the Ryan Shop and the Hiscock House. See how many artifacts you recognize, from bygone days, at the Museum. Restoration of Fort Point, just across the harbour from Trinity, at the entrance to the harbour, recently took place, so take in some of the military history, and enjoy a stroll by the lighthouse. Whales love to feed just offshore here, “in the mouth of the horn”, and you can enjoy the views of Trinity from across the water. The Trinity Historical Society also has a significant archive, should you be looking to trace your roots.
A teacher and the son of a fisherman, Kevin Toope grew up in Trinity after his family resettled from Ireland’s Eye, and continues to spend his summers home. On this two-and-a-half hour tour, Kevin recounts the fascinating history of Trinity and area, using recorded anecdotes from the archives and local lore. Kevin also provides visitors with a sense of the current struggles to sustain outport livyers, as the traditional ways of life die out. This tour offers the best bang for your buck in Trinity. I can’t recommend it enough. Don’t miss it.
Founded both with an eye both to preserving the old church in English Harbour and to creating a place for artistic and cultural workshops, the English Harbour Arts Association hosts musicians, throughout the summer season, in their intimate concert venue. They offer a diverse line-up of workshops including different art mediums and rock wall construction. They also offer artist residencies. For details, check out their website.