Top Dream Days of 2018, Visiting the Small Town of Francois, Newfoundland
Guest post and photo by Amy Perry Basseches
Now that I live in Toronto, it makes sense that one of my dream travel days of 2018 took place in Canada! I’m on a devoted quest to explore all 13 Canadian Provinces and Territories — and, in October, Newfoundland’s time had come. Aboard Adventure Canada’s vessel Ocean Endeavour, we spent one special day visiting both La Poile Bay and Francois, along Newfoundland’s southern coast. La Poile Bay is isolated, without any road connecting it to the rest of the province. After hiking high above the cove, and walking on a deserted beach, I joined others in the crazy activity of plunging into the freezing cold water.
Not far away is the former fishing center of Francois (pronounced fran-SWAY), surrounded by steep mountains. Residents travel on small concrete paths between their homes and various buildings in town. There are no roads, and Francois can only be accessed by boat and helicopter (and by snowmobile in the winter). Today, 89 people live in Francois. Here I kayaked peacefully around the cove, then watched divers traveling with the group go deep into Francois Bay and emerge again and again with some 300 scallop shells. These were then shucked and cooked and eaten by anyone lucky enough to get in line early. After filling our bellies, we went ashore and were hosted by the locals at a "Kitchen Party" in the Community Hall. Much music, dancing, drinking, mingling, and eating ensued — all good-natured and fun — especially the tunes of the renowned Alan Doyle, a Member of the Order of Canada ("for his contributions to the musical traditions of his home province of Newfoundland") who was traveling with us.
If you loved the Broadway show, Come From Away, treat yourself to the genuine Newfoundland.