Little Bay Islands

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Little Bay Islands
A dock in Little Bay Islands
A dock in Little Bay Islands
Little Bay Islands is located in Newfoundland
Little Bay Islands
Little Bay Islands
Location of Little Bay Islands in Newfoundland
Coordinates: 49°38′39″N 55°47′26″W / 49.64417°N 55.79059°W / 49.64417; -55.79059
Country Canada
Province Newfoundland and Labrador
 • Total2
Time zoneUTC-3:30 (Newfoundland Time)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-2:30 (Newfoundland Daylight)
Area code(s)709

Little Bay Islands is a vacant town in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. It consists of Little Bay Island, Macks Island, Goat Island, Harbour Island, and Boatswain Tickle Island. The highest mount is Campbell Hill, which is 125 metres (410 ft) high. It is located in Notre Dame Bay, near Springdale.

In February 2019, the permanent residents voted to be relocated and nearly all of the 55 residents departed by late December 2019. This was part of a relocation program operated by the provincial government for small communities that had become too expensive to service. Property owners who were permanent residents were paid at least $250,000 in compensation for property they were leaving behind.[1] Two residents decided to stay, living off of the grid and installing solar panels and wireless internet.

A ferry, the MV Hazel McIsaac, served the island several times daily but was scheduled to be discontinued by 1 January 2020.[2] The two remaining residents broadcast the final departure on Facebook Live.


First settled in 1825, Little Bay Islands was once a thriving community of about 500 people but that declined substantially after the cod fishing moratorium.[3]

As of 2016 the town had a population of about 71 and was in rapid decline, down 27 percent from 2011.[4] The community had a school (until 2016 used by two children and their only teacher), fire station, two churches and a bed and breakfast. The school and one of the churches had closed prior to the relocation.[5] The main employment source, a crab processing plant, had been closed since 2010, leaving the community with just three paying jobs by 2018 and mostly retirees.[5] While there was a bed and breakfast,[6] in 2018, the only paid employees in winter were the postmaster and two janitors.[5]


The final vote as to resettlement succeeded in 2019 after failed attempts to do so in 2011 and 2016.[7][8]

The ferry service and hydro electricity service were scheduled to end on December 31, 2019. Only two inhabitants, a couple, opted to stay on the island; others may return to live there in summer.[9] That will be permitted because residents were allowed to retain their homes, even after accepting compensation, but would receive no government services.[10]

The provincial government explained the payments made to property owners in this manner: "The funding provided to eligible permanent residents is not intended to compensate for the value of their property. As such, persons with permanent residences outside the community do not require financial assistance to relocate". The total paid was approximately $8.7 million. The government estimated that the relocation would save about $20 million over 20 years; a large portion of that amount is the savings produced by cancellation of the ferry service.[11] The province's relocation program had saved about $30 million since it commenced in 2002.[12] A previous recentralization program, running from 1954 to 1975, resettled some 28,000 people from 300 remote locations.[13]

The couple who had decided to remain year-round, Georgina and Michael Parsons, told the news media in autumn 2019 that they were prepared to live off the grid in their recently built home with a well to provide drinking water. (They were not eligible to vote on relocation, since they had not lived in the community for an adequate amount of time.) The Parsons had accumulated a propane oven, wood stoves, satellite connection, a solar panel system, a snowmobile, a cell phone and boats to travel to the mainland to purchase supplies.[12][14] "We look at it as an adventure. We’re looking forward to the solitude," Michael Parsons said in an interview.[15]

Power to the Islands was cut at 2:30 p.m. on 31 December 2019[16] and the last ferry left the dock after 5 p.m., an event recorded in a video clip by the Parsons.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Little Bay Islanders say goodbye as N.L. town resettles, but some eye return". National Post. 16 December 2019. Retrieved 26 December 2019. Street lights will go out, the daily ferry will stop running and other services will be cut off as of Jan. 1
  2. ^ 2018 Winter Ferry Schedule
  3. ^ "Little Bay Islanders say goodbye as N.L. town resettles, but some eye return". National Post. 16 December 2019. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  4. ^ Statistics Canada, 2016 Census profile. Accessed 6 February 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Hopper, Tristan (1 February 2018). "Haunting images of life inside Little Bay Islands, a depopulated Newfoundland town". The National Post. Postmedia Network Inc. Retrieved 6 February 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Wingrove, Josh (22 September 2016). "Why Canadians are being offered cash to abandon their homes". National Post. Retrieved 18 October 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Little Bay Islands votes unanimously to resettle". CBC News. 14 February 2019.
  8. ^ Power, Leigh Anne (19 April 2019). "Little Bay Islands gets $10M to cover resettlement tab". CBC News.
  9. ^ "Little Bay Islanders say goodbye as N.L. town resettles, but some eye return". National Post. 16 December 2019. Retrieved 26 December 2019. Street lights will go out, the daily ferry will stop running and other services will be cut off as of Jan. 1
  10. ^ "With the deals signed, Little Bay Islands residents make plans to move on". CBC News. 17 September 2019. Retrieved 26 December 2019. Springdale or Grand Falls-Windsor
  11. ^ "They lived and loved on Little Bay Islands, but were left out of the resettlement program". CBC News. 18 December 2019. Retrieved 26 December 2019. A permanent resident is defined as an individual who "lives and sleeps year-round, 365 days per year," on Little Bay Islands — subject to some conditions.
  12. ^ a b "N.L. couple won't move, to live off grid as island town resettles". CBC News. 1 October 2019. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  13. ^ "Canada's Little Bay Islands relocate". Washington Post. 29 December 2019. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  14. ^ Campbell, Meagan (26 September 2019). "Then there were two: Newfoundland couple readies for life off the grid when rest of island community relocates". National Post. Retrieved 26 December 2019. With nobody to plow the roads or pilot the ferry or provide electricity, Michael Parsons and his wife, Georgina, will soon be alone.
  15. ^ "Just two people remain on Little Bay Islands, NL, after Dec. 31". The Telegram. 22 December 2019. Retrieved 26 December 2019. We’ll miss our family and friends, but just the idea of being out here alone, for most people it would be a scary proposition, but for us, it’s not. We have zero anxiety or anxiousness about it.
  16. ^ "Last Ferry Departs Little Bay Islands as Sun Sets on 2019". VOCM. 31 December 2019.
  17. ^ Moore, Mike (31 December 2019). "Last call for Little Bay Islands as the MV Hazel McIsaac departs for the final time". CBC News.

Coordinates: 49°38′41″N 55°47′55″W / 49.64477°N 55.79853°W / 49.64477; -55.79853 (Little Bay Islands)