First of all, let me explain why I am dedicating this to the people of Fogo Island. After all, I am a "townie". For those of you not from Newfoundland, you may not have heard that the people from the capital city of St. John's are called "townies" and the people from smaller outport communities are called "baymen". Since there is a rivalry of sorts between these two groups of people, some would think it funny that I want to write about such a small place. However, Fogo Island is one of the nicest places I have ever visited in Newfoundland. And I consider myself lucky to have met so many friends on this little island.
I first met Cindy Bixby at school in St. John's. I went to see her hometown of Stag Harbour on Fogo Island that summer. I was immediately accepted, even though I was a "townie". I felt like a member of her family right away, right down to sibling teasing about the "townie" car in the driveway. I soon met other friends from the same community and other communities from Fogo Island. It was the same with everyone, I felt as if I became part of more than one family on that island.
Despite popular belief, when I say I am going to visit Fogo Island, I do not necessarily mean to visit Fogo. Many of my friends and family have never been to Fogo Island, so they don't understand that Fogo is a town on Fogo Island. They are not one and the same. Unless a person visits this small island, they may naturally assume that Fogo is Fogo Island. But I soon learned that the people of Fogo Island are sensitive to this point. Thus I always tell people that I am not going to Fogo, but Stag Harbour. They soon get the picture.
So, here is my little tribute about this island. If you ever get the chance, visit Fogo Island. It will be worth the trip. And please make a special note that I have not been able to visit this island in about 4 years so if any of the information is outdated, tell me so I can correct it!
Fogo Island is in Notre Dame Bay on the northeastern part of the island of Newfoundland. There are a couple of different routes to take to get to Fogo Island but they all lead to Farewell, which is where the ferry departs on it's approximately 40 minute ride to Fogo Island. The route I usually took was through Gander Bay. If you leave the Trans Canada Highway near Gander, take the Road to the Isles, which is also known as Route 340. Follow the signs to the ferry and you cannot go wrong. And of course, checking the Ferry Schedule ahead of time is a good idea, especially during it's winter schedule as the ferry doesn't run as often!
So just how many communities are on this little island? There are possibly 10 different communities on Fogo Island. I hope I haven't forgotten any! Some people say that there are 11 communities as they include Fogo Island Central. I really am not sure if it's a community or not, it depends on who you ask:)
The population of this not-so-small island has been quoted at 3500. However, in the past 10 years or so, there have been a lot of people leaving due to the cod Moratorium. The people on the island say that now, the number of people still living there is more like 2000, but again, that may not be an exact figure.
First of all, you will hear that the ferry lands in Man O'War Cove. This is not a community, just the cove where the wharf is located and where the Beaumont Hamel lands. Here is a picture that I took of the Beaumont Hamel one summer day while riding on the other ferry (sorry the name escapes me now)! I have been told that there is a new ferry now which is called the Captain Earle Windsor.
The first community you reach is called Stag Harbour. Now I have a soft spot in my heart for Stag Harbour because most of my friends are from here. Stag Harbour is not very big. The harbour is shaped like a horseshoe. There are many houses still in the harbour that were floated over from Indian Islands during a resettlement many years ago. One of my friend's mother is originally from these Indian Islands, as are many of Stag Harbour's older generation. Here is a photo I took one fine summer night at the pond across the highway from Stag Harbour! It was a beautiful sunset and my friend had just won this boat!
The next community is called Little Seldom. Next is Seldom. The ferry used to land in Seldom back when it's starting point was Carmanville. But that's changed for any of you who haven't been there in a long time! The next turnoff on the main highway goes to two of Fogo Island's Communities, Island Harbour and Deep Bay. This turnoff is also near the island's only runway. An airstip is needed in case of emergency or for those times in the spring when the ice is in and the ferry cannot make any crossings.
As we travel further on the main highway on the island, we see what looks like a community but as far as I know, it is not. This point is known as the center of the island or Fogo Island Central. Here you will find the schools, the old motel, the stadium, a Chester's, a bank, the RCMP station, and other businesses. Also, there is a new hospital being built in this part of the island. The current hospital is in Fogo. This central point also branches off so that you have a choice of where on the island you wish to visit next!
There is one road that travels to the community of Fogo. I am not sure but I think that Fogo is more or less the capital of the island. It bears the name of the island and it also houses most of the businesses on the island. Fogo is the home of a bank, drug store, the hospital and many stores for shoppers. Fogo Island is also the home of the Brimstone Head Folk Festival. The name comes from the following piece of land that juts out into the Atlantic. This small hill is called Brimstone Head!
The other branch of the road at the central part of the island goes to the other communities of Fogo Island. This road travels through the communities of Barr'd Islands and Shoal Bay before reaching Joe Batt's Arm. Yes, Newfoundland and Labrador does have some unique place names, I did say Joe Batt's Arm:) Joe Batt's seems to be to be one of the largest communities. It is spread out more than Fogo, so that could be the reason for that. Once you leave Joe Batt's, the last community is called Tilting. The people of Tilting are unique in that they are known for the Irish lilt in their accent.
Fogo Island Links
Island Experience => This is a nice tourist page!
Fogo Island Flyer => The monthly flyer which is similar to a newspaper for residents!
Joe Batt's Arm => The website of the largest town on the island!
Newfoundland Map => This map is one of the few that actually shows where Fogo Island is located!
Eric Praetzel - Fogo Island, Newfoundland Photos => Nice pictures of Fogo Island!
Provincial Ferry Services - Fogo Island => If you wish to visit, you will have to know the ferry schedule, or take a chance!
Road to the Isles => Wordplay has a site about this highway as well as the one above!
Ten Historic Towns (Fogo, Fogo Island) => Wordplay has a site about the town of Fogo!
Town of Fogo => This is an amazing site about the town of Fogo on Fogo Island!
Travel Central Newfoundland Fogo Island Page => Great if you wish to travel around the central part of Newfoundland on your way to Fogo Island!
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