Nfld. & Labrador

From itty to bitty: Canada's tiniest town gets even tinier

They might be down, but they're not out. The four remaining full-time residents of Tilt Cove on Newfoundland's Baie Verte peninsula have no plans to leave Canada's tiniest incorporated town.

Population of Tilt Cove, N.L., drops to 4

Tilt Cove has the distinction of being the birthplace of the province's first copper mine, which began half a century of production in 1864. The mine reopened again in 1957 and ran for 10 more years. (Adam Walsh/CBC)

They might be down, but they're not out. The four remaining full-time residents of Tilt Cove on Newfoundland's Baie Verte Peninsula have no plans to leave Canada's tiniest town anytime soon.

Margaret Collins is the town clerk. Her husband Don is the mayor. They live right next door to her brother and his wife who serve as town councillors. And that's it for a former mining town that was once home to 1,500 people.

"We still pay our taxes and still get a bit of money from the government, so we're still surviving," Collins told CBC Radio's Central Morning Show.

Margaret and Don Collins in their shed in Tilt Cove. (Adam Walsh/CBC)

But the town has seen a sharp drop in its population in the past couple of years.

Collins's mother-in-law died in 2015, her own mother died last year, and another senior citizen decided to move 12 kilometres away to La Scie.

"There were three senior citizens here, two have died and one has moved to a nearby community in the wintertime, and comes here in the summertime, but then she's 91."

'It's a big loss'

Collins keeps busy as the town clerk — paying the bills to keep Tilt Cove's two street lights burning and water flowing to the two remaining households. They pay for garbage collection and snow clearing for the road on one side of the pond.

She and her husband also run the community museum out of their home, but it doesn't get much action during the long, cold, snowy months of winter. 

'The Way We Were' museum contains many pictures that show how Tilt Cove has changed over the years. (Quirk blog)

Since there are no children in the community, their road is the last on the priority list to be plowed by the province.

"We do get a lot of snow in Tilt Cove, and I tell everybody that's the only bad thing in Tilt Cove — the snow in the winter."

An avalanche hit the community March 11, 1912. This is a before and after of a home built at the head of the cove. (Department of Natural Resources)

Once warmer weather hits it's a different story, with the population jumping to 10 or 11 during the summer months.

Many tourists also make the six-kilometre drive down a dirt road to check out the town that has gained fame for being tiny.

"A lot of people come to see Tilt Cove because it is considered the smallest town in Canada. We still get people wanting to see the sign and get their pictures took with it, and we still get people because Tilt Cove has such history," said Collins.

Not many make the drive in winter, but the town sees lots of tourists when the weather warms up. (Adam Walsh/CBC)

"And people still have family that used to live here. They want to see the place they heard so much about."

Sticking with it 

In its heyday, Tilt Cove had a movie theatre, spots for bowling and curling and a nightclub. 

Now the two remaining couples, all in their 50s, make their own entertainment — without the benefit of an internet connection — playing cards or getting together for a cup of tea and a chat in Don's shed. 

"We're all getting older, so I don't know what's to come. Right now, we all just love living in Tilt Cove," said Collins.

And there are benefits to living in a really, really, really small town.

"We all know who our neighbours are," joked Collins.

Tilt Cove is southeast of Baie Verte on Notre Dame Bay, Newfoundland. (Google Maps)

With files from Central Morning