Guide to Day Tripping Brigus and CupidsBy Cailin O'Neil for Newfoundland & Labrador
This article was written by Cailin O'Neil. You can find more of her work here.
Located at the eastern point of the Baccalieu Coastal Drive are the small towns of Brigus and Cupids. Although they may be small, they are full of history with Cupids being the home of Canada’s first English settlement in 1610. Located a 80km drive from St. John’s they make the perfect place to visit for a day trip.
Cupid’s Legacy CentreYour first stop should be in Cupids at the Cupid’s Legacy Centre. Here you can learn about the history of the area and Newfoundland and Labrador. The centre houses over 170,000 artifacts as well as a cafe, used book store and great rooftop views. The museum is open for you to explore on your own or with a guide. During the summer months if you time your visit just right you can also get a tour of the museum via a living history performance where you interact with fictional locals from three different generations dating back to the early 1600’s.
Cupid’s Cove Plantation Provincial Historic Site
To continue your history lessons, dig a little deeper at the Cupid’s Cove Plantation a 5 minute walk away. This plantation is believed to be the exact location of the first English settlement in all of Canada and second in North America. Visit the archaeological sites still being discovered today that are unveiling how and where the first settlers lived in Cupids, which back then was known as Cuper’s Cove. At the Cupid’s Cove Plantation Provincial Historic Site you can get a tour of the archaeological sites that have been discovered so far and not only meet the working archaeologists but see them actively working the site as you visit as well. See the old fortifications, burial sites, where the first settlers lived and more.
Hiking in Cupids
Other things to do in Cupids include strolling along the waterfront and enjoying the magnificent views of the Spectacle Head mountain. For views over the town you can also take the hike along Spectacle Head trail to the top of Spectacle Head gaining 100 meter in elevation as you go. For an easier hike with great ocean views along the way check out the Burnt Head Trail.
Following your morning in Cupid’s make your way to Brigus just a 6 minute drive away. Stop in for lunch at one of the great cafes or restaurants. Brigus is known for its blueberries so be sure to grab a blueberry ginger cake, pie, or crumble when you dine.
Brigus is a great town to explore by foot. Park in the public parking on Water street around the Town Council of Brigus building. From here walk south past the Wilcox Gardens full of beautiful flowers and where you can stop and admire one of the gorgeous rock walled rivers that flows through the town. As you continue further down water street stop and visit the Pinkston’s Forge.
Pinkston’s Forge and Ye Olde Stone Barn
The forge was opened in 1889 and was an integral part of Brigus keeping shoes on the horses and making anchors for the many ships that visited Brigus Cove. The forge operates today to share history with visitors and creates hand forged products like wall hooks, can openers, BBQ sets and more. They can also create custom work and have done so for many in the area including for the popular “Rock Solid Builds” HGTV home renovation show that often films in Brigus.
Located next to the forge is one of the oldest buildings in Brigus, the Ye Olde Stone Barn museum. The building was once a home, then a barn and is now a museum filled with historical items and information about Brigus.
Next make your way right up Magistrates Hill to the Saint George Church of England with its free standing bell tower. Dating back to 1876 this church is no longer operational but is now used for community events. The building is also an icon of the town as it can be seen from both land and sea.
The Brigus Tunnel
Follow “the Walk” road behind the church to the waterfront and the famous Brigus Tunnel. The Brigus Tunnel is an 80 foot long man sized tunnel through thick rock that took men four months to create with hand drills and gunpowder in 1860 for Captain Adam Bartlett. At the time Captain Barlett had a large fishing boat and couldn’t find a docking area deep enough for him to offload his ship. On the other side of this rock however the harbour was deep enough so he had the Brigus Tunnel created. The tunnel was actively used until 1910 and is now one of the most popular spots to visit in the town.
Enjoy the picturesque view of Brigus
Keep meandering the streets of Brigus to enjoy the architecture and beautiful colors. Make your way to Lobster Lane to see the working fishing boats with beautiful scenery as well. Now is a great time to grab a bite to eat before heading back to the city and the end of your day trip to Cupid’s and Brigus.