The town of Trinity — 260 km (161 mi.) north of St. John’s and 52 km (32 mi.) south of Bonavista — is well worth a detour if you are driving around Newfoundland from St. John’s to the ferry at Port Au Basques. This is a living village that has several heritage structures that have been restored and are open to the public.
Trinity harbour was used as early as the 16th century by Portuguese fishermen but it was not until the next century that a settlement was established by fishing entrepreneurs from Poole, England. The several heritage buildings in the community date from the 19th century when there was a lively commerce in the cod fishery. More recently the town has been used as the backdrop for the filming of the movie The Shipping News and the television series Random Passage. While the permanent population is very small the number increases in the summer when several fine tourist services – restaurants, bed and breakfasts and Inns – are in operation.
Begin your visit to Trinity at the Visitor Centre where you can purchase a ticket covers the entrance to all the heritage homes and businesses.
Take a leisurely stroll through the village and visit the various structures that have been meticulously restored by the Trinity Historical Society. The Lester-Garland House, an imposing Georgian brick home is used by the society as a museum with exhibits that trace the development of the social and commercial life in the community. The Lester-Garland House is a reconstruction of the original grand 1819 home. It is built right over the original stone foundation.
The Trinity Museum is located in a more modest house nearby. There are four rooms with plenty of artefacts of life in the 19th century town that reveal what domestic life was like at the time. Along the street is the Green Family Forge that dates from the late 19th century. It is open from mid-May to mid-October as are the other public buildings in Trinity. It is more than a static display for it is a working forge where you can see the sparks fly and hear the clang of hot iron being shaped on the anvil. Another living demonstration of early life in Trinity is presented at the Cooperage where a skilled craftsman will show you the in’s and out’s of his trade.
Other sites in the town include the restored 1910 home of Emma Hiscock Here the visitor is immersed in the life of a large family in Trinity. The store where Emma and her fellow residents of Trinity purchased their supplies is also restored and open to the public. At the Mercantile Premises one relives the lively activity of the lucrative operation where fishermen from the region traded their salted and dried cod for fishing and domestic supplies.
Of course you will not miss the most imposing structures in Trinity – the churches. Enter them to get a feel for the importance that religion played in the everyday life in a 19th century Newfoundland town. The largest is St. Paul’s Anglican Church which was built in 1892. It is a beautiful wooden structure with fine woodwork inside. The more modest Holy Trinity Catholic Church was built in 1835 to serve the spiritual needs of the minority adherents to the Catholic faith.
A visit to Trinity will not be complete without attending one of the fascinating dramatic performances presented by the Rising Tide Theatre. Their summer program is varied and innovative. Don’t miss The Trinity Pageant which is a dramatic summertime walkabout through the streets and lanes of Trinity.