Nfld. & Labrador

'Quite the coup': Battle Harbour nabs En Route magazine cover

Battle Harbour has stepped from off the beaten path of Labrador's south coast into the national spotlight.
Battle Harbour is a restored fishing village in southern Labrador, and a key tourist draw in the area. (Battle Harbour)

Battle Harbour may lie off the beaten track, but it's stepped into the national spotlight by gracing the May cover of En Route magazine.

The historic Labrador community of Battle Harbour is on the cover of En Route magazine. (En Route)

"It's quite the coup," said Peter Bull, the executive director of the Battle Harbour Historic Trust, the group which manages the 18th-century fishing settlement and National Historic District that lies on an island off Labrador's south coast.

"It's right on the cover of the magazine, which I think is brilliant. Because if it was just a little article inside, you might miss it."

In addition to the cover of En Route, Air Canada's in flight magazine, 10 pages inside detail all Battle Harbour has to offer, stuffed into just about every seat pocket of the company's fleet.

"There are people in Australia, in Japan, going to be picking this up," Bull told CBC Radio's Labrador Morning.

"The publicity is going to be fantastic."

'The place sells itself'

Battle Harbour, seen in a 1997 image, is a relocated community that has received a second life as a tourist attraction. (CBC)

Bull said what makes En Route so key is its readership.

"The people who are on planes are travellers. We get published in other magazines, but it's not necessarily the travelling public," he said.

His only regret? Other attractions in southern Labrador, such as the UNESCO World Heritage site in Red Bay, didn't get a mention.

"We're becoming a destination there, in its own right. It's not just Battle Harbour," said Bull, adding the biggest challenge facing the area is the 85-km stretch of unpaved road between Red Bay and Mary's Harbour.

"It makes all the difference to coach traffic and car rentals."

Off the grid...ish

Battle Harbour is a one-hour ferry ride from Mary's Harbour, and offers overnight accommodations. (CBC)

Bull said while Battle Harbour welcomes every stripe of tourist, it mainly targets adventuresome 45- to 70-year-olds.

"We're off the grid, but we're not too far. Torngat is a really fantastic spot, but it's really hard to get to. Battle Harbour is a really fantastic spot, but you can get there," he said.

Battle Harbour is a one-hour ferry ride from Mary's Harbour, and offers overnight accommodations.

Bull said his team will be watching the Battle Harbour website for a spike in traffic, and that they have already noticed more visits to its Facebook page.

Bull added the weaker Canadian dollar and financial gloom may even entice more Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to take a "staycation" at the site.

Battle Harbour opens for the season on June 12, through to Labour Day weekend.

With files from Labrador Morning