Heart’s Content prides itself as one of the foremost historical communities in Newfoundland & Labrador. Its story extends back as far as 1612 when John Guy of the Cupids plantation passed through here, describing it as an “excellent good place for fishing.” Over the next three centuries its harbour gradually filled up with fishermen, plantation owners, businesses, churches, and schools as it became a major shipbuilding center, then a railway town and trans-shipping port. The signature event for the town, however, was the landing of the trans-Atlantic cable in 1866, giving it international status as the pioneer communication gateway between Europe and North
In its 99 years of operation, the cable station reshaped Heart’s Content, making it into an industrial town with new layers of culture, lifestyle and social class. The cable staff brought not only new technology, but also art, literature, music and organized sports, creating a diverse community rare in rural Newfoundland. The integration of an international cable station with a traditional outport culture is an intriguing piece of history.
Today, a half century after the closure of the station, Heart’s Content retains the landscape of a cable town, centered around the station itself, a Provincial Historic Site and the centerpiece of the town’s Registered Heritage District. The District has numerous historical buildings dating from the 1860s to the 1920s, including company-built houses, fraternal lodges, the former Heyfield United Church (now repurposed as a Regional Centre for the Arts) and schoolhouse, as well as significant landscape features, cemeteries and other structures. Many of the properties in the Heritage District have seen restoration in recent years.
In 2017 the Heart’s Content Cable Station, described as “an exceptionally well-preserved monument to the world’s first successful trans-oceanic submarine telegraph cable,” was added to Canada’s tentative list of sites for nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, part of a bi-national nomination with Valentia, Ireland, the eastern end of the 1866 cable.
The renewed effort to make Heart’s Content a tourist-friendly destination offers visitors a unique and pleasurable experience. Walking trails, picnic spots, a town steeped in history, come see for yourself. We’d love to see you!
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