Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Checking out the sites in Grand Falls and Botwood

The Mary March Museum is well worth a visit

by Keith and Heather Nicol
      In our quest to see some new sites in Central Newfoundland we headed to Botwood at the base of the Bay of Exploits. We were planning on heading to Leading Tickles to see icebergs and to try some of the hiking trails in this area. We left Corner Brook about 9:00 am on July 1 and in Grand Falls- Windsor we stopped to visit the Mary March Provincial Museum ( and the Salmonid Interpretation Centre. We were very impressed with the Museum and it not only provided information about the human and geological history of the area but also had 3 excellent traveling exhibits that will be there until October 5. We really likely the Coastal Women display and they had some excellent carvings by aboriginal artists from Labrador and Nunavut. From there we headed to the Salmonid Interpretation Centre (  )and although we have been here before we always like going to see the salmon in the underwater viewing area. We were told that the run this year is late and that very few fish had come through the fishway so far.   An interpreter at the centre mentioned that it might have  been  due to the pack ice that was very late in leaving the Northeast Coast of the province this summer. 
We love seeing salmon from the underwater viewing station
 We then headed to Botwood ( at the base of the Bay of Exploits. It was our first visit to this community and we were struck by its varied and interesting history. We headed first to the “Air Base” where we checked out the Flying Boat Museum. Who knew that Botwood was the centre of international flights for a period in the late 1937 to 1943? In fact this year Botwood is celebrating its 75th anniversary of the first commercial transatlantic flight that occurred in 1939. 

The Flying Boat Museum is a fascinating part of NL aviation history

We also were impressed by the guides at the adjacent Botwood Heritage Museum who lead us through many rooms of exhibits and displays illuminating Botwood’s varied economic and social history. No place that we know of in Newfoundland has had such a variety of economic roles from being a transportation hub that shipping ore, newsprint and other goods to its role in commercial and military aviation in World War 2 as well as it early history in ship building and saw milling. They even have an early snowmobile exhibit which is the only one of its kind this side of Montreal. Be sure to see both of these museums. There is also a great walk to the end of nearby Killick Island (450 meters one way) which gives good views of Botwood and the southern end of the Bay of Exploits.
The snowmobile exhibit in the Heritage Museum is unique in Newfoundland
That night we stayed at the Dockside Inn ( in Botwood and had a delicious sea food meal at the adjacent restaurant. We even got to meet the owner and chef Jim Stuckless . Jim grew up in Botwood and made numerous suggestions for hikes and places to visit to the next day.   
Take a hike on scenic Killick Island

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