The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Burgeo, Newfoundland—What? A Canal?

Tucked in among the many rocks and islands enclosing Burgeo, the Burgeo Marine Service Centre takes a bit of tricky navigation to access but once in the welcome is warm. June, the harbourmaster, greets us enthusiastically and shares her plans on how to make the marina more attractive for visitors. The next member of our welcoming committee is Marion.

Now, there must be something about women whose names start with M, because they have been vital in maintaining our quality of life this summer! First there was Marjorie in Hermitage, who did our laundry—just in the nick of time—and now here in Burgeo it’s Marion, who runs a home bakery offering wonderful wholewheat bread—which we have been sorely missing—and other tasty treats!

Another Burgeo must, besides Marion’s Bakery, is Sandbanks Provincial Park, about an hour’s walk from the marina. Once in the park, there are 5 kms of boardwalked trails that meander through bogs, past old graveyards, and to a hilltop lookout. And, as the name of the park suggests, there are miles and miles of fine sand beaches to explore.

As is our wont, John and I find an unmarked trail at the end of Western Beach that wends its way over hills and through valleys, leading to another, in this case deserted, beach, which ends in a point.

When we walk to the end of the beach and turn back on the other side of the point, we are surprised to see a huge shallow bay spreading out in front of us. When we check the chart back at the boat, we see that this bay is connected to another equally large shallow bay by a channel named ‘The Canal’. June tells us that in 1867 local men dug The Canal out of the marsh with picks and shovels. Someday I would like to paddle there and ponder the backbreaking work it took to settle Newfoundland and the strength of the people who managed to do it.

However, for now, we’ll sit in the cockpit and ponder, over a cold beer, our next port of call.

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Ed Seling

I am normally reluctant to give cruising advice but I can say unequivocally that no one will ever regret visiting Burgeo. A wonderful community full of tremendously friendly people.

Should you get a chance to take the Burgeo Road to the main highway you will see some of the best scenery that Newfoundland has to offer. You can probably catch the van that runs to Cornerbrook, do some shopping and see what Newfoundland is all about.

This is the way the world was meant to be!

Jim Ferguson

I couldn’t agree more, it is a marvelous place with super friendly people. The Harbor Master took us on a tour while we were sitting out a gale, moored in the the travel lift slip since it was broken. It was scary working our way past the rocks and stages that made the channel so narrow, but it was worth the experience and those memories will never be forgotten.


Thank you for the post.. Sounds like a wonderful, off the beaten path, kind of place to visit.. Some day—–if dreams do come true..