Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador

Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Bonavista
other_name =
native_name =
nickname =
settlement_type = Town
motto =

imagesize =
image_caption = Bonavista harbour, looking north. The large building in the center of the photo houses a replica of John Cabot's ship, the "Matthew".

flag_size =

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pushpin_label_position = left
pushpin_map_caption = Location of Bonavista in Newfoundland
pushpin_mapsize =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = CAN
subdivision_type1 = Province
subdivision_name1 = NL
subdivision_type3 =
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established_title =
established_date =
established_title2 =
established_date2 =
established_title3 =
established_date3 =
government_type =
government_footnotes =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Betty Fitzgerald
leader_title1 =
leader_name1 =
leader_title2 =
leader_name2 =
unit_pref =
area_footnotes =
area_total_sq_mi =
area_total_km2 = 31.5
area_land_sq_mi =
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area_urban_sq_mi =
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population_as_of = 2006
population_note =
population_footnotes =
population_total = 3764
population_urban =
population_metro =
population_density_sq_mi =
population_density_km2 = 127.6
timezone = Newfoundland Time
utc_offset = -3:30
timezone_DST = Newfoundland Daylight
utc_offset_DST = -2:30
latd = 48
latm = 39
lats = 35
latNS = N
longd = 53
longm = 7
longs = 15
longEW = W
coordinates_display = inline,title
coordinates_type = type:city_region:CA-NF_scale:25000
elevation_footnotes =
elevation_ft =
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area_code = 709
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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.


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!”) [cite encyclopedia
title = Bonavista
encyclopedia = The Canadian Encyclopedia
volume =
pages =
publisher = Historica Foundation of Canada
date =
url =
accessdate =2008-01-26
] , giving rise to the name of the town and nearby Cape Bonavista, 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 1500s, but the Spanish and Portuguese presence soon declined, leaving the French and English as the dominant powers. [cite web|url=|title=The International Fishery of the 16th Century|publisher=Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site Project, Memorial University of Newfoundland|date=1997|accessdate=2008-01-26] Tension between the French and English sometimes resulted in military action, including an unsuccessful attempt in 1704 by the French to burn the town. [cite web|url=|title=Museum Notes - A Century of Armed Conflict in Newfoundland|author=Bernard Ransom|date=1991|publisher=The Rooms, Newfoundland Provincial Museum|accessdate=2008-01-26] 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. [cite web|url=|title=The French Treaty Shore|author=J.K. Hiller|publisher=Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site Project, Memorial University of Newfoundland|date=2001|accessdate=2008-01-26]

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 1900s, 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

In 2006, The automobile company Nissan has developed and manufactured 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 [] .

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. []


Population in 2001 (1) 4,021
Population in 1996 (2) 4,526
1996 to 2001 population change (%) -11.2
Total private dwellings 1,638
Population density per square kilometre 127.6

Land area (square km) 31.50


*The Ryan Premises
*The Matthew Replica
*The Mockbeggar Plantation
*The Dungeon
*White Rock Murals
*Bonavista Lighthouse


* NHL player Michael Ryder is from Bonavista.
* Bonavista is mentioned in the most common Canadian adaptation of the folk song This Land Is Your Land. The lyric, "From Bonavista to Vancouver Island" is used to illustrate the breadth of the country.

ee also

*Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
*List of cities and towns in Newfoundland and Labrador

External links

* [ Statistics Canada 2001 Community Profile - Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador]


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