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Red Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador: Wikis


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Red Bay
—  Town  —
Red Bay seen from the harbor
Red Bay is located in Newfoundland
Red Bay
Location of Red Bay in Newfoundland
Coordinates: 51°43′55″N 56°25′32″W / 51.73194°N 56.42556°W / 51.73194; -56.42556
Country  Canada
Province  Newfoundland and Labrador
Government [1]
 - Type Municipal incorporation
 - Total 1.58 km2 (0.6 sq mi)
Elevation 10 m (33 ft)
Population (2006)
 - Total 227
 - Density 143.7/km2 (372.1/sq mi)
Time zone Newfoundland Time (UTC-3:30)
 - Summer (DST) Newfoundland Daylight (UTC-2:30)
Area code(s) 709

Red Bay is a fishing village and former site of several Basque whaling stations on the southern coast of Labrador in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Between 1550 and the early 1600s, Red Bay was a major Basque whaling area. The site is home to three Basque whaling galleons and four small chalupas used in the capture of whales. The discovery of these vessels makes Red Bay one of the most precious underwater archaeological sites in the Americas.



Red Bay is a natural harbour residing in the bay that gives it its name. Because of the sheltered harbor, said to be the best on the coast, it was used during World War II as a mooring site for navel vessels. In the bay are Penney Island and Saddle Island, which were used by the Basques for their whaling operations. The location of the sunken vessel San Juan is near Saddle Island.


An iceberg off the coast of Red Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Between 1550 and the early 1600s, Red Bay was a center for Basque whaling operations. Sailors from southern France and northern Spain sent 15 whaleships and 600 men a season to the remote outpost on the Strait of Belle Isle to try to catch the right whale and bowhead whales that populated the waters there, according to Memorial University of Newfoundland.

In 1565, a ship -- believed to be the San Juan -- sank in the waters off Red Bay during a storm. Other, smaller vessels, such as chalupas, have also been recovered from the waters.

Another galleon was found 25-35 feet below water in 2004. It was the fourth trans-oceanic ship to have been found in the area.

A cemetery on nearby Saddle Island holds the remains of 140 whalers. Many of the people buried there are thought to have died from drowning and exposure.

Historians believe that a decline in whale stocks eventually led to the abandonment of the whaling stations in Red Bay. Today, an interpretive center in Red Bay explains the history to visitors.

Local legends of Red Bay make reference to a hidden treasure buried in a body of water known as Pond on the Hill 51°43′43″N 56°26′56″W / 51.72861°N 56.44889°W / 51.72861; -56.44889 at the foot of Tracey Hill by the infamous pirate Captain William Kidd. An attempt was made to find the treasure by residents of Carrol's Cove by draining the pond. The attempt had failed.

Red Bay has been inscribed as a National Historic Site by Parks Canada.[2]


  Population in 2001     264  
  Population change from 1996     -4.1%  
  Median age     39.6  
  Number of families     80  
  Number of married couples     65  
  Total number of dwellings     90  
  Catholic     3.8%  
  Protestant     77.3%  
  Land Area (km².)     1.58  
Source: Statistics Canada 2001 Census[3]

Notable persons

Tourist attractions

Basque whaling station on Saddle Island. The location of the sunken vessel 'San Juan' (1565) is near of the 'Bernier's wreck that grounded in 1966.
  • Basque whaling stations
  • Iceberg and Whale Watching

See also


External links

Coordinates: 51°43′55″N 56°25′32″W / 51.73194°N 56.42556°W / 51.73194; -56.42556


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