Port de Grave is one of the oldest and historically most successful fishing communities in Canada. Although there is evidence it is much older, its recorded history goes back to 1675, when the main planter in the community was Thomas Butler. In 1675, Thomas was living at Port de Grave with his wife and three sons. He employed 20 servants and owned five boats, 50 cattle and 20 sheep. Thomas is believed to be the grandson of Samuel Butler, who was a member of John Guy’s colony in Cupids Cove, which was settled in 1610.
The French from Quebec led by Pierre Le Moyne D’Iberville attacked Port de Grave on January 23, 1697. Abbé Jean Baudoin wrote in his journal that they found 116 men, 14 planters, 20 boats, and 10 000 salt codfish. He commented: “This place is very beautiful.” Visitors to the community make exactly the same comment today! Artists and photographers love Port de Grave!
Organically growing from the cliffs on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, Port de Grave is one of the most beautiful communities in Newfoundland and Labrador. About 15 minutes from Bay Roberts, it retains its own distinct character and community spirit, while older people in the community still speak with their distinctive Port de Grave accent. People from all over the province come to see Port de Grave Harbour during the Christmas season, when fish harvesters decorate their longliners with colourful Christmas lights.
For further reading about Port de Grave, see Heritage of a Newfoundland Outport: The Story of Port de Grave written and published by Gerald Andrews. Available through Amazon > >
Aslo see, Our Life on Lear’s Room, Labrador by Greta Hussey, published by Flanker Press. Available through Flanker Press > >
Here is Greta Hussey, 89 years old, reading a selection from her book.