When it comes to Newfoundland and Labrador, I could probably have 100 spots on my top 10 “favourite places” list. But a spot that is particularly special for me is Chapel’s Cove, where I have a summer home. My father and his brother originally built a very small cabin here. It was more like a utility shed with a wood stove. They never bought anything new. At one point, they took out a bucket of bent nails that had been pulled out of old wood. We would sit there and they would be like, “Okay, we got an hour to kill. Let’s straighten nails.” As a kid, I remember thinking, “Surely you could just buy a box of nails!”
Today, I have a real home there that I designed. It’s about 45 minutes from St. John’s and overlooks Conception Bay. When I look out, it feels like I am on a boat, with the land disappearing and only the ocean visible on the horizon. As the sun rises and dips, I feel like I am watching my favourite painting change minute by minute in front of my eyes.
I am constantly mesmerized by the lights and boats that float along Conception Bay, with fishermen going out at daybreak and coming back in at sunset, coming and going in vessels of all shapes and sizes. When the bay is filled with squid, humpback whales frolic in the water in front of my cabin about 200 feet from shore. I could just sit there all day and watch them. It’s somewhere I feel at peace and where I can delve into my writing. The words just come easy when I am there and the only distractions are the noises that whales make right outside my window.
The area around St. John’s is the ancestral homeland of the Beothuk. The island of Newfoundland is the ancestral homeland of the Mi’kmaq and Beothuk.
– As told to Samantha Pope