Terra Nova National Park: Human History Study


86 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 0-660-11457-7





Reviewed by Les Harding

Les Harding is author of The Voyages of Lesser Men: Thumbnail Sketches
in Canadian Exploration.


Kevin Major is an award-winning children’s writer and a resident of Eastport, Newfoundland, near Terra Nova National Park. This little volume is a successful attempt to summarize the human history of the Terra Nova area from earliest times to 1957, when the park was established. Organized in chronological sequence with reference to printed, oral, and pictorial sources, the book is written in a clear and straightforward fashion with plenty of footnotes. The book opens with a discussion of the pre-history of the area’s extinct aboriginal peoples, the visits of the first European explorers and fishermen in the sixteenth century, and the competition between England, France, Spain, and Portugal for the rich fishing grounds. In the seventeenth century the author deals with the migratory fishery and the expansion of settlement into Bonavista Bay. In the eighteenth century the important topics are the Anglo-French rivalry and the effects on Newfoundland of the American Revolution. In the nineteenth century we see the rise of permanent settlement, the Labrador fishery, and the importance of winter lumbering. The twentieth century section deals with home and community life, fishing, lumbering, and shipbuilding. For the later period a number of interviews were conducted with old-timers. The author traces the mapping and surveying of the area with a very interesting series of maps dating back to 1548. There are some photos of the modern period, chiefly dealing with shipbuilding and lumbering. They have the look of snapshots and their clarity is not always the best. The bibliography and footnotes are extensive.


Major, Kevin, “Terra Nova National Park: Human History Study,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/37873.