The coastal drive can be entered via the Trans-Canada highway near Whitbourne, or via the Irish Loop at Trepassey. Atop cliffs and past barrens, the drive is best experienced heading south and east if you are looking for coastal scenery, or west and north if panoramic landscapes are more your interest! Providing access to the Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve at its south-western corner, this route is a major gateway to the province. The Marine Atlantic automobile ferry runs three times weekly to Argentia from North Sydney, providing visitors convenient access to the Eastern Region from Canada’s mainland.
Why is it legendary?
Few sights are as astounding as a Bird Rock at Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve – a towering rock formation covered by tens of thousands of northern gannet each breeding season. The cacophony of sound provided by these seasonal visitors is an exclamation point on an amazing stretch of coastal region.
A land contested
The town of Placentia was once one of the major points of interest in the area – if you were part of the French or English armies seeking territorial power over the rich fishing grounds off Newfoundland’s coasts. Over 300 years ago, conflict over Newfoundland came to head, and the French abandoned their capital in Newfoundland. Today this town is a point of interest from a different perspective – the preserved Castle Hill and the ongoing archaeology at a variety of sites covering a wide span of historical time now tell this story – from a much more peaceful vantage point!