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Terra Nova National Park of Canada

Burnside From the Ashes

The picturesque coves and tickles of Burnside have made it a favoured destination of visitors to the Eastport peninsula; however, this breathtaking land and its namesake have risen from the ashes of a fire that ravaged the area almost 100 years ago.

Original Settlement

The first settlers to the area were not of European descent; artifacts unearthed in the area reveal how these pristine and sheltered coves attracted the Maritime Archaic at least 5000 years ago, and later the Paleo-Eskimo and the Beothuck. The Archaeological Centre in Burnside depicts this ancient history through interpretive tours and artifacts collected from 40 different sites in the area.

Squid Tickle, Burnside
Squid Tickle, Burnside
© Parks Canada

European Settlement

Early settlement of European ancestry to the area was winter-based and seasonal in nature as families, mainly from Salvage, took advantage of the great supply of firewood and lumber. Later, as the Labrador fishery no longer required them to live within 'easy' rowing distance of good fishing grounds, settlers became more concerned with safe sheltered harbours and land for crops for grazing, and by 1885 the Burnside area had its first permanent settlers.

The first year-round settlers, the Oldfords of Salvage, settled in Squid Tickle. The following year their sister and family, the Vivians of Shamblers Cove, settled near- by. Oldfords and Hunters were living in Hollets Cove by 1887 and the census of 1891 recorded two Church of England families, with fourteen residents in Hollets Cove, and six families with forty residents in Squid Tickle. Hollets Tickle's first settlers were the Hunters and Dunns in 1895. These early settlers used the name of the harbour they lived beside as the name of their settlement. Later in the early 1900's, these three communities wanted to amalgamate under one name of Kingston; this was later turned down by the Newfoundland Nomenclature Board because a Kingston already existed. Interestingly, the Orange Lodge was called the Kingston LOL, No.129 in 1907 and used this name until it closed in 1983.

A few years after the fire of 1912, the idea of amalgamation resurfaced and locals began meeting at the Orange Lodge to decide on a new name. One name that was considered was Smut-town, but it was the Church of England priest at the time that came up with Burnside; this was an existing town he had heard of in England and he considered it a very fitting description of the area at this time.

The resettlement of people from Flat Islands brought 21 families to Burnside between 1956 and 1958. The population of Burnside peaked at 213 in 1961.

Long-Chute Lookout, Burnside
Long-Chute Lookout, Burnside
© Burnside Heritage Foundation

The Present

Today, the communities that make up Burnside are experiencing a rebirth as residents that moved away years ago for employment return with a renewed appreciation for their home. In the summer, the population of Burnside swells as many people with and without connections to the area make this their summer retreat. Many visitors from away are drawn back year after year by the charm of the place and of the people. Ironically, what began as a winter home has turned into a summer community.

It has almost been a hundred years since a fire burned through the area known as Burnside, yet some locals still refer to their place of residence as Squid Tickle, Hollets Cove or Hollets Tickle. Photo opportunities abound in this seaside paradise. One of the best views of the area is at the end of the Long Chute Lookout. As you look around, it is truly amazing to see what has risen from the ashes.