The Town of York Harbour is located on the south side of the Outer Bay of Islands, a few kilometres from the end of Route 450, the Captain Cook Trail. It is an incorporated community with a population of 345 (2006 Census of Canada). It owes its name to HMS York, a vessel of the Newfoundland Squadron which operated in this area during the mid 18th Century.
The modern town of York Harbour was settled during the 1890s, mostly by families who migrated north from St George's Bay further west (actually, south) along the coast. However it had been used as a fishing station during the mid 1700s by a Halifax merchant, Jonathan Broom, whose main base was at Codroy; hence the local name, "Broom's Bottom". This name still persists and is familiar among older community members, indicating that usage, perhaps seasonal, had been more or less continuous down to the present day.
The town has a Community Centre housing the town office and the post office on the lower level and a hall used for meetings and other public activities. Behind the Centre is a fenced recreational field. There is one store in the town, a public wharf, the York Harbour & Lark Harbour Fire Hall, and a small cemetery,
Between the main road and the sandy beach there is a tidewater lagoon where various kinds of water birds can sometimes be observed.
Offshore is the small Governor's Island where are several cabins used by local people as summer getaways.
Within the town limits near Copper Mine Brook there is, as the name suggests, a mine. It operated for several years around 1900 the York Harbour Copper Mine, but was closed by 1911. Some of the old mine equipment can still be seen beside the trail leading to the small but spectacular waterfall, about a five-minute walk from the signposted parking lot. The entrance to the mine can be seen at the parking area, but it is sealed off for reasons of safety.
From this same parking lot begins a hiking trail leading to the summit of Blow-Me-Down Mountain at about 700m. This is a fairly difficult hike, but presents fine views of the Bay and surrounding area. The Trail provides access to the Newfoundland section of the International Appalachian Hiking Trail System (IATNL). It should be attempted only in good weather conditions.
Click here for more pictures and information on the mountains in this region.
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