Channel-Port aux Basques

Discover Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland Labrador: A Historical and Touristic Overview

Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland Labrador, is a charming town located at the extreme southwestern tip of Newfoundland. This town, which is the primary entry point onto the island of Newfoundland, is rich in history and offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage.

The History of Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland Labrador

Channel-Port aux Basques has a rich history dating back to the early 1700s when it was settled by fisher-folk from the Channel Islands. The town's name, Port aux Basques, refers to the harbour that was a favoured sheltering and watering place for Basque whalers from the Pyrenees of France and Spain during the early 16th century.

The town was first seen on a 1687 Johannes van Keulen map of the area. Permanent settlement came from French fishermen who overwintered on this, the French Shore, using rights given under the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. The town was incorporated in 1945 and in 1964, the community of Mouse Island was annexed.

The Telegraph Cable in Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland Labrador

In 1856, an underwater telegraph cable was successfully laid between Newfoundland and Cape Breton Island, making landfall nearby. This was the first step in the race to complete a trans-Atlantic telegraph cable. A telegraph station was opened in Port aux Basques in 1857.

Hurricane Fiona and Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland Labrador

In September 2022, the town was partially evacuated due to Hurricane Fiona. Over 100 homes were reportedly washed away from the wind and storm surge in Newfoundland with a bulk of the homes being from the town. The town declared a state of emergency on September 24, 2022.

Demographics of Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland Labrador

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Channel-Port aux Basques had a population of 3,547 living in 1,652 of its 1,814 total private dwellings, a change of -12.8% from its 2016 population of 4,067.

Transportation in Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland Labrador

Both the Trans-Canada Highway and the Trans Canada Trail have their Newfoundland and Labrador start and end points in Port aux Basques.

The Railway in Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland Labrador

In the 1880s, the Government of Canada erected a lighthouse at nearby Cape Ray. In 1893, it was decided to extend the western terminus of the Newfoundland Railway from St. George's to Port aux Basques harbour.

Ferries in Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland Labrador

On June 30, 1898, the first passenger train arrived in Port aux Basques, and Bruce departed for North Sydney shortly afterward. Over the years, the narrow gauge Newfoundland Railway expanded both the number of trains and vessels which called at Port Aux Basques.

College of the North Atlantic in Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland Labrador

The Port aux Basques campus of the College of the North Atlantic first opened as the District Vocational School in September 1963.

Climate of Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland Labrador

Channel-Port aux Basques experiences a maritime-influenced subarctic climate that has the Köppen climate classification code of (Dfc). The location has strong seasonal lag as well as being cold for the latitude.

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