Life in Newfoundland and Labrador is built on tight-knit community spirit. We believe in weaving strong relationships, and we’re lucky enough to do it all from one of the most beautiful places on earth. There’s no better example of inspired living than right here in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, a growing modern town in rural Newfoundland. Portugal Cove- St. Philip’s is close to St. John’s, but separate enough to offer a quiet and rich existence on the edge of the Atlantic. Business is booming, families are growing, and life is good. Better yet, we’re surrounded by jaw-dropping coastline and hundreds of years of history and folklore.
Out here on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, we’re close to all the amenities of St. John’s but far from the maddening crowds. It’s the kind of place where children still play outdoors. Year round, families take advantage of the numerous walking trails in and around the community, including 4.5 km of new trails at Voisey’s Brook Park. In the warmer months, families and individuals can take advantage of the artificial and multipurpose turf at Rainbow Gully Park, as well as a softball diamond and a skateboard park. Kids can join sports teams, as well as organizations like Girl Guides of Canada and Scouts Canada.
Children from kindergarten to grade 6 attend Beachy Cove Elementary before moving on to secondary and post-secondary schools. We’re an educated, employable community with
a high percentage of youth attending Memorial University
of Newfoundland and the College of the North Atlantic. In fact, Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s is home to a higher portion of university-educated people compared to the rest of the province, with many people working in skilled trades.
Homeowners who appreciate a big backyard and lots of freedom to move around know Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s is a prime location for real estate, and offers a better way to raise a family. Our community has a diverse range of housing, from modest to lavish, and we take comfort in an abundance of privacy and space to grow.
There are endless opportunities here in Portugal Cove- St. Philip’s to stay active and in touch with nature. New walking trails, multipurpose courts, a dog park, and field lighting were all added recently to Voisey’s Brook Park. Rainbow Gully Park has a multipurpose court, a skateboard park, and artificial turf with lighting. Both of these parks also have softball diamonds, playgrounds, and community huts.
Hiking trails such as Blast Hole Pond Trail offer panoramic views of the harbour and Conception Bay. Recreational fishermen will be thrilled to discover Hogan’s Pond, where rainbow trout are in abundance. During the summer, locals head to Broad Cove and Beachy Cove to swim and hang out on the beach. Most people in the area rate their health as “very good.” We know that fresh air and a healthy lifestyle has something to do with it.
Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s encourages people of all ages to jump in and get involved in the community. The beauty of having a small population of 7000 people means the ability to connect with your neighbours on a deeper level, all while giving back to the town.
There are dozens of opportunities to volunteer or to get involved with local groups. For children and teens, there are sports teams, church youth groups, and various non-profit organizations to get involved in. For seniors, the Rainbow 50+ Club offers fun and recreational activities year-round, including cards and darts, once a month dances, and outings in conjunction with the town.
The politically minded will thrive by being active in the Town Council. A large number of locals often turn out for Council meetings, which allow those living in the area to directly impact the town’s future. We’re proud of our blooming community, and we want to continue making it a great place to live! For more information about how you can get involved with various community groups, please refer to the directory at the back of this book.
Newfoundland and Labrador is in the middle of a food revolution, and Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s is one of its biggest purveyors. Since Portugal Cove Road was completed in 1831, residents have supplied St. John’s and the rest of the province with fish and produce.
Agriculture is a strong industry here, and since 1993 we’ve experienced growth in vegetable and greenhouse production and some livestock farming. Bickerstaffe Nurseries and Farms and Lien Family Farms are just two providers in the area.
Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s is home to classic restaurants like By Da Beach and Wild Horses Café, as well as our local farms that supply award-winning restaurants in St. John’s and area with fresh produce.
Over the past couple of years, Newfoundland and Labrador’s employment rate has nearly doubled the rate of Canada’s. With so many exciting opportunities going on in the oil and gas industry, as well as tourism and other major sectors, Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s is an ideal place to set up a business. This area has a very skilled and educated labour force.
For those seeking business possibilities, the convenience of locating in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s is significant. The world is nearby, with easy access to and from St. John’s International Airport and direct routes to major hubs like Halifax, New York City, and Toronto. It’s a quick drive to the Trans Canada Highway, linking the town to St. John’s and the rest of the province.
Tourism is one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s fastest growing industries, and in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s we’ve mastered the art of famous east coast hospitality. Untouched coastal hiking trails attract outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen from the far corners of the planet. Big events like the Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s Regatta Festival as well as the Portugal Cove End of Season Regatta draw active people to experience one of North America’s oldest sporting events. In the colder months, the Winter Carnival gives opportunity to appreciate a snowy winter wonderland’s embrace.
Thanks to Newfoundland and Labrador’s incredibly unique culture, we also understand the importance of preserving our heritage for years to come. Several historic churches stand proud around our coast, as well as other landmarks like the newly upgraded Portugal Cove War Memorial built to commemorate those who lost their lives in the world wars. Buildings like the Irish White Property show visitors what it was like to live in this corner of the province during its early settlement. Built in the early 19th century, its stone fireplace and flagstone floor may have been built for an immigrant family from Wexford.
We are just 17 kilometers from the famous Signal Hill, and 26 kilometres from Cape Spear, the most eastern point in North America. Outdoor adventurers, history buffs, food enthusiasts, and vacationers are all welcome here. There’s quite literally something for everyone.
Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s is a relatively new town, originally made of two separate communities (Portugal Cove and St. Philip’s) that joined in 1992. The history of the area, however, dates back hundreds of years. There are still many old standing cemeteries and churches that were constructed in the 1800s. We’re proud of our extensive history, and every year two festivals are held to celebrate our oceanic past: the Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s Regatta Festival and the Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s End of Season Regatta.
We continuously work to preserve our heritage while offering new opportunities in the area. Just this year we’ve opened new recreation facilities, as well as added to our existing facilities. We also believe in environmental sustainability, and any new business must adhere to environmentally friendly practices already in place.
Portuguese fishermen first visited the area as early as the 1500s, when Gaspar Corte Real landed to bury two of his men who had died during the voyage from Lisbon. There are also reports of other fishermen using the cove to dry fish around that same time. Permanent English settlers began claiming the area as their home over 200 years ago, especially the Churchill and Tucker Families, having found a spectacular part of the island to make their own.
Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s constructed the first real, functional road in Newfoundland and Labrador. Portugal Cove Road was completed in 1831 as a means to allow residents to travel to St. John’s to sell their fish and produce. Before then, travel to and from the area was done by sea using small, locally-owned boats.
Did you know that Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s was the first place in the world to document a real giant squid sighting? In 1873, a “Devil Fish” known as Kraken attached itself to a fishing boat, and a 12-year-old boy quickly cut off the squid’s tentacle with a hatchet and saved the men onboard.
One of the best things about living in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s is how easy it is to maintain an active lifestyle. Hiking and outdoor enthusiasts will love the abundance of trails and parks, and for many people, these little gems of nature are literally outside their front doors. There’s even a Walking and Hiking Club for those who want to engage in social wellbeing.
The Beachy Cove Trail will bring you to the highest point of Prince’s Mountain, where there is an incredible view of Beachy Cove and Portugal Cove Harbour. Beachy Cove holds a small piece of beach looking out into the Atlantic that is ideal for campfires. When you visit, bring a small camera to capture the stunning waterfall dropping into the sea.
Another favourite is St. Philip’s Beach, which attracts a lot of visitors in mid-summer when the capelin rolls in. Diving lessons are also taught here, and the wharf is often used as headquarters for kayaking and sailing excursions.
Even our trails are instilled with folklore. Goat Cove Trail was once the only land connection between Portugal Cove and St. Philip’s. The remnants of the old Goat Cove Trail still exist in the ground today.
Another spot for spectacular landscape views is Grayman’s Beard. The site contains a large outcrop of rock above the United Church in Portugal Cove. Grayman’s Beard got its name because water drips down the face of the rock and forms a cluster of large icicles during the winter. To some, this formation looks like a man with a heavy beard on his face. To get there, you take Grayman’s Beard Trail.
There’s also the Portugal Cove Geeze, otherwise known as “the geeze,” which was once home to many people. The trail leading here will take you through a deserted community with only the foundations of abandoned homes remaining. Several old gravestones make up the North Point Cemetery.
Recently, Town Council has obtained 100 acres of untouched crown land and is in the process of constructing beautiful multi-use trails. We are also lucky to have St. John’s Sunshine Camp walking trails as a wonderful amenity for our residents.