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 125-metre (410 ft) high Campbell Hill, which 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 relocation expenses.[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 until it was discontinued on 31 December 2019.[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 that declined substantially after the cod fishing moratorium.[3][4]

As of 2016, the town had a population of about 71 and was in rapid decline, down 27 percent from 2011.[5] The community had a school (until 2016 used by two children and their only teacher),[6] fire station, two churches and a bed and breakfast. The school and one of the churches closed prior to the relocation.[7] The main employment source, a crab processing plant, closed in 2010, leaving the community with just three paying jobs by 2018 and mostly retirees.[7] While there was a bed and breakfast,[8] in 2018, the only paid employees in winter were the postmaster and two janitors.[7]


The final vote for resettlement succeeded in 2019[9] after failed attempts in 2011 and 2016.[10][11][12][13][14][15]

The ferry service and hydro electricity service ended on 31 December 2019. Only two inhabitants, a couple, opted to stay on the island; others may return to live there in summer.[1] That is permitted because residents are allowed to retain their homes, even after accepting compensation, but would receive no government services.[16]

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.[17] The province's relocation program had saved about $30 million since it commenced in 2002.[18] A previous recentralization program, running from 1954 to 1975, resettled some 28,000 people from 300 remote locations.[19]

The couple who 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 have 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.[18][20] "We look at it as an adventure. We’re looking forward to the solitude," Michael Parsons said in an interview.[21]

On 31 December 2019, power to the Islands was cut at 2:30 p.m.[22] and the last ferry left the dock after 5 p.m., an event recorded in a video clip by the Parsons.[23][24]

The town recorded an official count of 0 in the 2021 census.


In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Little Bay Islands had a population of 0 living in 1 of its 1 total private dwellings, a change of -100% from its 2016 population of 71. With a land area of 7.34 km2 (2.83 sq mi), it had a population density of 0.0/km2 (0.0/sq mi) in 2021.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b McKenzie-Sutter, Holly (16 December 2019). "Little Bay Islanders say goodbye as N.L. town resettles, but some eye return". National Post. 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. ^ "Long Island - Pilley's Island". Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  3. ^ McKenzie-Sutter, Holly (16 December 2019). "Little Bay Islanders say goodbye as N.L. town resettles, but some eye return". National Post. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  4. ^ "Little Bay Islands in limbo as residents await word on relocation funds". Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  5. ^ Statistics Canada, 2016 Census profile. Accessed 6 February 2018.
  6. ^ "4 communities keep schools as small as 9 students". Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Wingrove, Josh (22 September 2016). "Why Canadians are being offered cash to abandon their homes". National Post. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  9. ^ "Update Provided on Little Bay Islands Relocation". 12 September 2019. Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  10. ^ "Little Bay Islands votes unanimously to resettle". CBC News. 14 February 2019.
  11. ^ Power, Leigh Anne (19 April 2019). "Little Bay Islands gets $10M to cover resettlement tab". CBC News.
  12. ^ "Little Bay Islands resettlement vote not high enough, government says". Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  13. ^ "Resident of Little Bay Islands 'not impressed' by changes to relocation policy". Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  14. ^ "Little Bay Islands resettlement vote based on 'false information,' says former mayor". Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  15. ^ "Fate of Little Bay Islands unknown after close resettlement vote". Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  16. ^ "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
  17. ^ "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.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ "Canada's Little Bay Islands relocate". Washington Post. 29 December 2019. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ "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.
  22. ^ "Last Ferry Departs Little Bay Islands as Sun Sets on 2019". VOCM. 31 December 2019.
  23. ^ Moore, Mike (31 December 2019). "Last call for Little Bay Islands as the MV Hazel McIsaac departs for the final time". CBC News.
  24. ^ "N.L. ferries made 4,100 trips with no passengers last year". CBC. 15 May 2020. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  25. ^ "Population and dwelling counts: Canada, provinces and territories, census divisions and census subdivisions (municipalities), Newfoundland and Labrador". Statistics Canada. 9 February 2022. Retrieved 15 March 2022.

External links[edit]

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