Welcome to Fortune & Grand Bank

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Festivals, fossils, lighthouses, and more than 375 years of bountiful history. Settled by French and Portuguese families, these communities offer a glimpse into a past of wooden ships, iron men, and smuggling.

Discover Grand Bank

The epitome of rural Newfoundland, Grand Bank is the most famous community on the Heritage Run Scenic Driving Route, and one of the most beautiful communities anywhere along the Atlantic seaboard.

As soon as you drive into Grand Bank, you can sense this is a special place – self-assured, neat, and conscious of the important part the town has played in Newfoundland history. It was settled in the 1650s by the French, and was taken over by the English early in the 18th century. The town of Grand Bank is synonymous with the fishery. Out in the unforgiving Atlantic Ocean, the Grand Banks are the richest fishing grounds in the world. 

The Provincial Seamen's Museum in Grand Bank is devoted to the people and ships involved in the fishery. You can't miss this building: it's shaped like the sails of a schooner, and was once an exhibit hall at Montreal's Expo ‘67 World Fair. Inside are scores of boat models and a helpful staff. 

Along the waterfront and nearby streets are Grand Bank's architectural wonders. The houses, influenced by the styles of Halifax and Boston, lie close to one another along narrow winding streets.

There are a couple of very fine examples of Queen Anne architecture with the ‘widow's walk' atop the roof. The Heritage Walk takes in most of the older houses and commercial buildings in town. One of the many highlights is the George C. Harris House. This merchant property was built by Harris in 1908. Tour guides in period costume will show you around. Another must-see is the Thorndyke House, a sea captain's house dating from 1917.

The town hosts an annual Regional Theatre Festival in July and August, featuring plays and a lunch-time theatre series focusing on the stories and heritage of the Burin Peninsula.

Explore Fortune

It’s a 5-minute drive along the highway from Grand Bank to Fortune, home to the Fortune Head Ecological Reserve, which contains rare fossils from 540 million years ago. Geologists call it the ‘Golden Spike', reflecting the boundary between Precambrian and Cambrian periods, one of the most significant in the entire world. A display on the fossils is housed in the Interpretation Centre.

From Fortune, you can take a side trip to France – Saint-Pierre et Miquelon – on the seasonal summer passenger ferry (no cars) operated by SPM Tours. During the prohibition era in the United States, rum-running gangsters like Al Capone did quite a bit of business with Saint-Pierre and the local museum has one of Capone's hats on display. You can stay at a hotel, or a pension, have piping hot fresh bread for breakfast, sample French wine and sweets, and soak up the French ambience.

Getting to Grand Bank and Fortune

Grand Bank and Fortune are located on the Burin Peninsula, which is accessed via Goobies at the intersection of Route 1 and Route 210. Goobies is less than a 2-hour drive, either east from Gander or west from St. John’s, and Grand Bank is 2½ hours from Goobies. Total driving time is about 4 – 4½ hours.

If you go to Saint-Pierre, remember that you must go through customs both in Saint-Pierre and on your return to Fortune. Canadians must show an identification card with the holder's photo, such as a driver's license or citizenship card. Americans must show their passports. The new American passport card is not accepted. People from other countries will have to show valid Visas and passports. The ferry ride takes about 70 minutes.

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