Photo Gallery of NRE Sites:
Galerie photographique des
sites de la NÉR:
Site 2 - Twillingate,
page 1 (of 2)
Local Website / Site Internet
Twillingate, located off the north coast of
the Island of Newfoundland, has an industry comprised mainly of fishing and processing
(20%). The total population (1397) has decreased by 7% in recent years. The labour force
participation rate is 56%, the unemployment rate is 44%, and 10% of the community is below
Twillingate is one of the few areas in
Newfoundland that can trace its history back 3500 years to the inhabitation of Archaic
Maritime Indians around 1500 BC. It was the scene of an important archeological find in
Twillingate is one of the oldest seaports in
Newfoundland. The French fishing fleet used the waters around the island between 1650 and
1690 and it was these fishermen who gave the islands the name "Toulinquet"
because of their similarity to a group of islands offthe French coast near Brest. The name
became anglicized to Twillingate with the first formal settlement of a town, around 1700.
The first livyers, or permanent settlers, were English fishermen and their families from
Devonshire. By 1760, records show that two main merchants were bringing in over a thousand
pounds worth of business a year.
With the growth of a seal fishery in the 18th
century, settlers became more enterprising and were engaged almost year round with fishing
and farming in the summer and autumn and the seal fishery in the spring.
At this time the islands were heavily wooded
and occupied by bands of Beothuk Indians. The settlers disregarded the Beothuks'
aboriginal rights to their traditional fishing and hunting grounds and the Beothuks
responded by petty thieving. The second last living Beothuk, Demasuit, or Mary March as
she was to be called, was captured and brought to live in Twillingate in 1819 where she
later contracted tuberculosis and died.
Twillingate prides itself as the birthplace
of a world renowned opera star. Georgina Sterling was born in 1867, the youngest daughter
of Twillingate's first doctor, William Sterling.
After showing early signs of possessing a
remarkable soprano voice, she was sent to train in Italy and later toured Italy and the
United States to wide acclaim. Her career was cut short when she contracted an illness
that caused her to lose her voice and she returned to Twillingate where she died in 1935.
In 1964, the still proud citizens of Twillingate erected a headstone to mark her grave and
inscribed it: The nightingale of the North sang fairer than the larks of Italy. She
entertained royalty by her voice, the poor by the kindness of her heart. Erected by an
admiring public, 1964.
The original Notre Dame Bay Memorial Hospital
was built by the people of Twillingate between 1921 and 1924 as a memorial to the
casualties of the First World War. Dr. John Olds became Chief Physician there in 1934. Dr.
Olds is considered a legend within Newfoundland for his medical service to the area and
for often doing what others thought impossible.
The Town of Twillingate was first
incorporated in 1965.
The George Hawkins Arena was built in 1968,
using mainly voluntary labour.
The Town Hall/Fire Hall was constructed in
In 1973 the islands became linked to the main
road system of Newfoundland by a causeway.
In 1974 a new hospital was built.
In 1992 the Town of Twillingate amalgamated
with the former towns of Durrell and Bayview.
In the same year, 1992, Twillingate was
affected by the announcement of the cod moratorium.
Photo: Don Loveridge
Photo: Don Loveridge
More photos of Twillingate