Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Bonavista
Town
Bonavista harbour, looking north. The large building in the center of the photo houses a replica of John Cabot's ship, Matthew.
Bonavista harbour, looking north. The large building in the center of the photo houses a replica of John Cabot's ship, Matthew.
Bonavista is located in Newfoundland
Bonavista
Bonavista
Location of Bonavista in Newfoundland
Coordinates: 48°39′35″N 53°7′15″W / 48.65972°N 53.12083°W / 48.65972; -53.12083Coordinates: 48°39′35″N 53°7′15″W / 48.65972°N 53.12083°W / 48.65972; -53.12083
Country  Canada
Province  Newfoundland and Labrador
Government
 • Mayor Betty Fitzgerald
Area
 • Total 31.5 km2 (12.2 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 • Total 3,764
 • Density 127.6/km2 (330/sq mi)
Time zone Newfoundland Time (UTC-3:30)
 • Summer (DST) Newfoundland Daylight (UTC-2:30)
Area code(s) 709
Website www.townofbonavista.com
Bonavista lighthouse

Bonavista (2006 population: 3,764) is a town on the Bonavista Peninsula, Newfoundland in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Unlike many Newfoundland coastal settlements, Bonavista was built on an open plain, not in a steep cove, and thus had room to expand to its current area of 31.5  square kilometres.

History[edit]

Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot), a freelance Venetian explorer, was contracted by England’s Henry VII to find new lands, and a sea route to the Orient. Cabot set sail from Bristol, England in his ship the Matthew in 1497. When Cabot first saw land he’s reputed to have said "O Buon Vista" (“Oh, Happy Sight!”)[1][2] giving rise to the name of the town and nearby Cape Bonavista. Cabot landed with "a crucifix and raised banners with the arms of the Holy Father and those of the King of England".[3] The land was inhabited, as the expedition found a trail leading inland, a site where a fire had been, and "a stick half a yard long pierced at both ends, carved and painted with brazil".[4] The harbour was not ideal, eventually requiring the construction of several breakwaters. Despite this Bonavista became one of the most important towns in Newfoundland due to its proximity to the rich fishing and sealing grounds to the north of the peninsula. The Spanish, Portuguese, French and English fished off Cape Bonavista during the 16th century, but the Spanish and Portuguese presence soon declined, leaving the French and English as the dominant powers.[5] Tension between the French and English sometimes resulted in military action, including an unsuccessful attempt in 1704 by the French to burn the town.[6] The French Shore, which had Bonavista as its eastern terminus, was established by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. Fishing rights in the area continued to be a source of tension between the French and English.[7]

Bonavista was a major commercial centre and the evidence for this is preserved at the Ryan Premises, a National Historic Site maintained by Parks Canada. It is a restored example of a large fish merchant's operation.

Bonavista’s status was further enhanced by the development of the Fisherman's Protective Union in the early 20th century, and the creation of nearby Port Union. During the peak years of 1891-1901, the Bonavista Peninsula's population of about 20,000 was centred in Bonavista. The Bonavista Cold Storage Co. fish plant, now a Fishery Products International operation, became the centre of fishery production after the decline of salt fish markets.

In 1722 the first school in Newfoundland was built in Bonavista by Rev. Henry Jones.

Nissan television commercial[edit]

In 2006, the automobile company Nissan developed a new SUV named Nissan X-Trail Bonavista Edition, which was supposedly inspired by the beauty of Newfoundland and named after the historical town. However, the commercial itself backfired when Bonavista Mayor Betty Fitzgerald, claimed it had portrayed people in Bonavista as people who cannot speak properly. To further expose the commercial's lack of linguistic authenticity, CBC News reported the sales rep was played by an actor from Cape Breton Island.[8]

That commercial was parodied by a local car dealer in St. John's, Newfoundland in a radio ad that takes shots at Ontario marketing companies and Premier Dalton McGuinty's "nondescript" personality.[9]

Demographics[edit]

According to the 2006 census.[10]

  • Population in 2006 - 3,767
  • Population in 2001 - 4,021
  • Population in 1996 - 4,526
  • 2001 to 2006 population change -6.4%
  • 1996 to 2001 population change -11.2%
  • Total private dwellings 1,648
  • Population density per 119.6 km2 (46.2 sq mi)
  • Land area 31.50 km2 (12.2 sq mi)

Climate[edit]

Bonavista is the windest place in Canada with an average wind speed of 32.6 km/h (20.3 mph).[11]

Climate data for Bonavista
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 12.4
(54.3)
11.8
(53.2)
13.4
(56.1)
21.5
(70.7)
25.6
(78.1)
28.8
(83.8)
30.6
(87.1)
30.1
(86.2)
26.1
(79)
22.8
(73)
17.8
(64)
14.4
(57.9)
30.6
(87.1)
Average high °C (°F) −1.6
(29.1)
−2.4
(27.7)
0.3
(32.5)
4.1
(39.4)
9
(48)
14.2
(57.6)
19
(66)
19.1
(66.4)
15.2
(59.4)
10
(50)
5.4
(41.7)
0.9
(33.6)
7.8
(46)
Daily mean °C (°F) −4.95
(23.09)
−6.0
(21.2)
−2.95
(26.69)
1.05
(33.89)
5.2
(41.4)
9.7
(49.5)
14.6
(58.3)
15.3
(59.5)
11.8
(53.2)
7.1
(44.8)
2.8
(37)
−2.0
(28.4)
4.3
(39.7)
Average low °C (°F) −8.3
(17.1)
−9.6
(14.7)
−6.2
(20.8)
−2
(28)
1.3
(34.3)
5.2
(41.4)
10.1
(50.2)
11.4
(52.5)
8.4
(47.1)
4.2
(39.6)
0
(32)
−4.9
(23.2)
0.8
(33.4)
Record low °C (°F) −24.4
(−11.9)
−24.7
(−12.5)
−24.3
(−11.7)
−13.6
(7.5)
−6.7
(19.9)
−2.8
(27)
−2.2
(28)
2.8
(37)
0.8
(33.4)
−3.3
(26.1)
−11.6
(11.1)
−22.2
(−8)
−24.7
(−12.5)
Precipitation mm (inches) 93.6
(3.685)
86.2
(3.394)
92.7
(3.65)
76
(2.99)
72.5
(2.854)
79.3
(3.122)
74.3
(2.925)
80.2
(3.157)
100.8
(3.969)
113.7
(4.476)
100.3
(3.949)
102.4
(4.031)
1,072
(42.2)
Source: Environment Canada[12]

Attractions[edit]

  • The Ryan Premises
  • The Matthew Replica
  • The Mockbeggar Plantation
  • The Dungeon
  • White Rock Murals
  • Bonavista Lighthouse
  • Bonavista Archives
  • Cabot Stadium
  • Puffins, whales, and icebergs

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bonavista". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Foundation of Canada. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Whiffen, Bruce, Prime Berth: An Account of Bonavista's Early Years. Harry Cuff Publications Limited, St John's, A1C 2H2. 1993. ISBN 0-921191-82-0. page 4: "There are no contemporary documents to directly support this story."
  3. ^ John Day's letter to Columbus, quoted in Whiffen, op. cit. page 6.
  4. ^ John Day's letter, as above.
  5. ^ "The International Fishery of the 16th Century". Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site Project, Memorial University of Newfoundland. 1997. Retrieved 26 January 2008. 
  6. ^ Bernard Ransom (1991). "Museum Notes - A Century of Armed Conflict in Newfoundland". The Rooms, Newfoundland Provincial Museum. Retrieved 26 January 2008. 
  7. ^ J.K. Hiller (2001). "The French Treaty Shore". Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site Project, Memorial University of Newfoundland. Retrieved 26 January 2008. 
  8. ^ "Tongues wag in Bonavista over Nissan ad". CBC News. 14 November 2006. Retrieved 18 January 2010. [dead link]
  9. ^ "N.L. car dealer spoofs Nissan's 'Bonavista' ad". CTV News. Canadian Press. 25 November 2006. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  10. ^ "Population and dwelling counts". Statistics Canada. 2006. Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  11. ^ Environment Canada Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010
  12. ^ Environment Canada Canadian Climate Normals 1971–2000, accessed 14 July 2009

External links[edit]