A tour along the Killick Coast brings you from the spectacular scenery just Northeast of St.John's through many historic and scenic communities of Conception Bay.
Begin on Route 30 Logy Bay Road and turn off onto the Killick Coast, a scenic route that winds in and out of the small towns along this part of the coastline. This is a great place on the East Coast of the island for photographing and viewing the magnificent Atlantic Seascape. Along the way you can visit Logy Bay. Logy means heavy and the fish caught in this cove were usually larger in size and thus the name.
In the last century a St.John's doctor tried to establish a health spa here. Dr. Kielley sent some of the spring water to Britain for analysis and it was found to have definite minerals with medicinal properties. The chalybeate spring with nine chemical ingredients was to equal the famous German spas curative effects.
Logy bay now is a centre for scientific research and is home to the Ocean Sciences centre where a program of continuing oceanographic research is being carried out in an effort to learn more about the ocean habitat that surrounds the province. The laboratory is part of Memorial University of Newfoundland. Guided tours of this facility are regularly conducted. The most popular attraction are the seals.
The Killick coast goes through Middle Cove and Outer Cove named for their positions along the coast. The elevated cliffs, exposed beaches and wild sea that this coast is famous for are visible from a number of excellent highway vantage points and seaside parking facilities. This area easily rivals any highway tour in Eastern North America for scenery. During late spring and early summer it is a good area to see icebergs, and during the winters Arctic ice drifts south to these waters, the ice stretches to the horizon. Middle Cove Beach is a traditional area to catch capelin.
Over five hundred years this seacoast has attracted everyone from roving buccaneers to the English and Irish ancestors of its modern day residents. Historic Torbay was the science of a strategic military maneuver in 1762. On September 13 of that year Colonel Amherst used this village as a base of operations to retake St.John's from the French army that had captured it. The British expedition landed at Torbay and marched overland to outflank the French and overwhelm them. Torbay was likely named by Devonshire fishermen after a place of the same name in England.
Another historically interesting community along the way is Flatrock,which dates back to at least 1689. The name of this community comes from the flat rocks around the cove that made ideal places to dry salt cod. A local point of interest is the Flat Rock Grotto, a shrine to our lady of Lourdes. Blessed by Pope John Paul II, it is the largest shrine of its kind east of Montreal.
Also along route 20 is Pouch Cove, one of the oldest settlements in Newfoundland. The exact date of the settlement is unknown but it is documented as early as 1611, only 28 years after Sir Humphrey Gilbert claimed the island for England. Pouch Coves dangerous harbour was the primary reason for its early settlement. Permanent dwellings were forbidden by law so its dangerous harbour kept the Royal Navy ships seeking the illegal settlers, as well as the pirates who preyed on them.
A famous local story centres around the wreck of the Waterwitch in 1875. When the ship went aground in a storm with 25 people on board, a courageous silent Alfred Moores performed daring rescues which saved 11 lives. He allowed himself to be lowered to the ship by a rope from an overhanging cliffs that he could carry people to safety.
Retracing your steps for a few kilometres, take route 21 at Pouch Cove for a side trip to Bauline, a fishing village on Conception Bay. Between Pouch Cove and Bauline is Marine Park, a great place for a picnic or a swim, The hills above Bauline provide a panoramic view of Conception Bay and the northeast Avalon Peninsula. The road loops back to route 20 at Torbay.
At the end of route 20 you will find a road leading to the rugged headland of Cape St.Francis. The road to the cape is rough but passable using extreme caution. Cape St.Francis is found on one of the earliest maps in existence, a chart from 1527. It is believed to have been named by the Portuguese explorer Gaspar Corte-Real during his voyage to Newfoundland in 1501. During the fall this is a good area to pick blueberries and partridge berries.
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