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Port au Port Peninsula

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Western Newfoundland : Port au Port Peninsula
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Port au Port Peninsula

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Port au Port Peninsula is an arrow-shaped peninsula jutting out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence from Western Newfoundland. The peninsula is south of Gros Morne National Park, as well as the city of Corner Brook, and north of the ferry port at Port aux Basques. Connected to the island by a narrow isthmus, the region has a lively francophone community descended from French fisherfolk and Acadians. As a result of this rich French heritage, the peninsula is the only part of the island that is officially bilingual.

While not officially on the peninsula, the larger community of Stephenville is often associated with the peninsula as part of the Port au Port area.

Visitors can drive Routes 460 and 490 to take what is called The French Ancestors Route, touring from the Trans-Canada Highway through Stephenville and on to the peninsula itself.

Regions & Communities[edit]

Part of the eroded Appalachian Mountain chain, the peninsula is home to quite a variety of scenic coastline (around 130 km) and ethnic diversity collected in around twenty small, but self-sufficient, communities based around fishing, a small forest industry, and small-scale farming. A small selection of these areas and their communities:

  • Port au Port - the gateway community to the peninsula itself, sitting right at the isthmus, and home to the largest wooden structure in Newfoundland & Labrador, Our Lady of Mercy Church
  • The Bar - from Lourdes, home to Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, through Black Duck Brook to Long Point, a seasonal community, on the tip of a narrow strip of land with the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the west side and the Port au Port Bay on the east side
  • Route de mon grand-pere (Route of my grandfather) - the lively French communities of De Grau, Cap St-George (Cape St. George), and La Grand'Terre (Mainland)
  • The South Coast - breathtaking ocean views and a peak into Port au Port industry with Atlantic Minerals

Other destinations[edit]

  • Cap St-Georges/Cape St. George - immensely high sea cliffs being hit by large waves, great hiking along Route de mon grand-pere, and whale-watching from the trail or nearby rest stop
  • Red Island - just offshore in the the La Grand'Terre/Mainland area, this island lives up to its name


Originally called Port of Rest by 16th Century Basque fishermen, Port au Port was a site of French and Basque seasonal fisheries for hundreds of years. Eventually, some of the fisherfolk began to stake out homesteads on the peninsula and in the area. This entire area of settlement became known as the "French Shore", with Port au Port as one of the heavily settled areas.

With its Roman Catholic traditions, Francophone culture, and excellent music and theatre festivals, the Port au Port region has made a name for itself in presenting a full cultural experience as well as spectacular views of cliffs, rocky beaches, whales and birds.


Unlike Newfoundland English, Newfoundland French is nearly extinct. Newfoundland French is distinct from other Canadian French dialects including Quebec French and Acadian French, and is generally found in the Port au Port Peninsula. The language was deliberately discouraged by the government in the 20th century, so visitors can expect most people they encounter to speak English. However, if you speak French, here's your chance to engage with a fascinating dialect. You will find Francophone Associations in the communities of De Grau (Les Terre-Neuviens Francais 709-644-2050), La Grand'Terre/Mainland (Heritage de l'Ile Rouge 709-642-5254 & Association regionale de la cote ouest 709-642-5254), and L'Anse-a-Canards/Black Duck Brook (Chez les Francais 709-642-5498).

Get in[edit]

By Air[edit]

The Port au Port Peninsula is easily reached by air. The isthmus of the peninsula is just 15 kilometres from Stephenville International Aiport which has connections to just about anywhere, so long as you route through either St. John's or Toronto. Stephenville International is identified by the IATA/ICAO code CYJT/YJT.

Provincial Airlines provides daily between Stephenville and St. John's (YYT). Sunwing provides seasonal service between Stephenville and Toronto's Pearson International Airport (YYZ). Air St-Pierre provides seasonal service between Stephenville and Saint Pierre-et-Miquelon, France. Porter Airlines offers a seasonal service between Halifax (and connections) to Stephenville.

Call your travel agent and insist you fly through Stephenville!

From the airport terminal, head left on Tennessee Drive, turn left again onto Massachusetts Drive and follow it until West Street. Take a right on West Street and continue straight all the way to the Port au Port Peninsula.

Route 490[edit]

Stephenville is the entry point to the Port au Port Peninsula. From the west/south (Port-aux-Basques/Marine Atlantic Ferry) take the Trans-Canada Highway and turn off onto Route 490. Follow this route to its end, roughly 15 kilometres. Turn right onto Minnesota Drive and continue 400ft to its end, take a left onto Route 460 which will skirt around the east end of Stephenville before entering the town's west end. Route 460 (at this point called the Hansen Highway) will come to a stop with an intersection at West Street. Take a right, crossing the bridge at Gaudon's Brook. Crossing the bridge, you are now in Kippens, this road is again Route 460, now the French Ancestors Route. Continue straight to the Port au Port Peninsula.

Route 460[edit]

From the east/north, take Route 460 from the Trans-Canada Highway. Following this route will take you into the west end of Stephenville. Take a right onto West Street when the highway comes to an end and cross the bridge at Gaudon's Brook. You are now in Kippens, this road is again Route 460, now the French Ancestors Route. Continue straight to the Port au Port Peninsula.

Get around[edit]

There is no other option than to drive or take a chartered bus.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church.  edit

Warning Potholes are imminent all throughout province and can cause severe damage and possible accidents if not watched out for.

  • Our Lady Of Lourdes Church Grotto, Lourdes, 642 5367.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

Abbott's Walking Trail. Newfoundland Alpaca Farm.

  • Kendallight Studios, 12 Main, Abraham's Cove (11 km west of Alpacas), 709-648-2387, [1]. Local artist Kevin Kendall's studio. Providing customized artwork, portraiture, photography, pop culture art, commissions.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Sea Breeze, Mainland.  edit
  • Kays Country Resturant, DeGrau.  edit
  • Olivers Resturant, Piccadilly.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Inn at the cape.

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

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