History Along the Coast
The Greatest Ice Pilot of Them All
Of all the mariners who set to sea in Newfoundland and Labrador over the centuries, none is more justly famous than Captain Bob Bartlett of Brigus. A noted explorer in his own right, and perhaps the greatest ice pilot who ever lived, Bartlett guided American Commodore Robert Peary to within 150 miles of the North Pole in 1909, at which point Peary set out with one servant to finish the job on foot. Bartlett won numerous awards and spent many summers exploring the Arctic, and had a gift for self-promotion that in the first half of the 20th century made him one of the most famous men alive. But he never forgot his roots, and made annual voyages to Brigus, in Conception Bay, to see his family and friends. His house, Hawthorne Cottage (pictured above), is a National Historic Site - and an architectural gem of the early 19th century that has its own fascinating story to tell.
Canada’s First English Colony
It was called Cuper’s Cove when John Guy and his colonist from England established a colony at what is now Cupids in 1610. But it wasn’t all lovey-dovey for those newcomers. In addition to the usual trials and tribulations of adapting to a new home on a new continent – hunger, illness, bad weather – the Cuper’s Cove colonists had to deal with pirates. At one time they traded their only two pigs for respite from the notorious Peter Easton. The original colony didn’t survive, but the deeds of the first settlers paved the way for others.
As part of the 2010 Cupids 400 celebrations, a beautiful performance space called The New World Theatre was built. Meticulously remodelled after Shakespeare’s famous Globe in London, England, the theatre’s performances feature some of the provinces best stage actors and captures stories reminiscent of John Guy’s England, particularly what the settlers may have seen, heard, or written about in the London of 1610.