5 Hidden Gems in Newfoundland

Seamus O'Regan shares his favourite spots 


 

For close to 10 years, Seamus O’Regan greeted millions of Canadians each morning as co-host of CTV’s Canada AM. These days, he is executive vice-president with The Stronach Group and serves as Media Innovator in Residence at Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) and RTA School of Media. 

While he’s currently based in Toronto, home for O’Regan will always be Newfoundland, and his beloved hometown of St. John’s. “My ancestors have been there for hundreds of years,” he says. “It’s who I am. There’s an authenticity there that I appreciate the more I travel. It is my rock, my anchor, my sail, my rudder.”

Here are a few of O’Regan’s favourite Newfoundland spots. Some are off the beaten track, others are well within reach of downtown St. John’s and all are worth a visit.

Bonavista Social Club, Upper Amherst Cove

Bonavista Social Club was my discovery last summer, although it’s not a well-kept secret anymore. You get a stunning view of Bonavista Bay while eating the best thin-crust pizza made with fresh local ingredients.”

The Crow’s Nest, St. John’s

“St. John’s was on the front lines of World War II, believe it or not. The Crow’s Nest opened in 1942 and is filled with naval memorabilia, including a periscope from

a surrendered German submarine. It’s an unofficial museum where the beer is terrific and the crowd is lively. You’ll always find someone with a story to tell (some of it true, most of it not, but that’s the fun!).”

Chafe’s Landing, Petty Harbour

“It’s dangerous business picking the ‘best’ fish and chips in Newfoundland. I was raised with Leo’s, then I moved to the ‘fee and chee’ at the Duke of Duckworth. Then word got out that a new place had opened in Petty Harbour. Two pieces of Chafe’s Landing fish is worth every bit of the 15-minute drive from St. John’s. The fish is fresh and the batter is light. Judge for yourself, with lots of lemon!”

Sea Kayaking, Cape Broyle 

“Icebergs and whales fill Newfoundland’s tourism ads. It’s amazing to see them from a kayak—where a whale feels close enough to touch and an iceberg can be seen in all its glory. I grab fish cakes and a latte to go from Rocket Bakery in St. John’s and then drive 60 minutes to Cape Broyle, where Stan Cook takes me sea kayaking. He’s a pro, but his guided tours skew more toward the novice.”

2 Rooms Contemporary Art Projects, Duntara, Bonavista Bay

This art gallery doubles as a museum where local artifacts co-exist with modern pieces. It’s housed in a fisherman’s house built in 1881 and restored by Montreal native Catherine Beaudette. Old meeting new is increasingly the way in Newfoundland and Labrador, and I find it really exciting.”

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