Isle aux Morts is a small town on the Southwest Coast of the Island of Newfoundland, with a population of 664 (2016). Take a look below for 25 fun and interesting facts about Isle aux Morts, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
1. The town is located approximately 16 km south from the Marine Atlantic Ferry Terminal in Port aux Basques along Route 470.
2. There are two walking trails: Harvey Trail, named after George Harvey and his family (information below), and Boat Cove Trail, named for Boat Cove Pond, where residents obtained drinking water years ago.
3. These two trails offer a great view of the harbour and the town.
4. The Walters House museum, which is in an old-style house which shows what life was like in the past in Isle aux Morts.
5. The house acted as the first school and church in Isle aux Morts.
6. Currently, the town contains one convenience store, a local bar and a school housing students from kindergarten to grade 9.
7. During the summer season there is a museum and local cafe open.
8. In the larger and nearby town of Port aux Basques, there are several other facilities that residents can avail of, including grocery stores, shopping malls, restaurants, a state of the art sports complex and numerous other services.
9. In the summer, usually late July, there is a week long festival, Ann Harvey Days commemorating Ann Harvey and her family for their brave and daring rescues of sailors stranded on sinking ships, on two occasions. (more information below)
10. Isle aux Morts has a rich Atlantic heritage and popular coastal scenery.
11. The community was first settled as a fishing port on nearby islands.
12. In the 1800’s the families moved from the islands to land and settled in what is now present day Isle aux Morts.
13. In 1868, the first school was built and was also used as a chapel for church services. Today it is the “Walters House Museum.”
14. The local orange lodge was constructed in 1914 with free labor by a group of men who previously used the school for their meetings.
15. The first fishery products plant was constructed in 1939 and burned down in 1943. Another was built and became the heart of the community for the next fifty years.
16. LeGallais Memorial, was built in 1958 and served as a grade school until 1989 when the new LeGallais Memorial school was open.
17. In the early 2000s the highschool students from this school began being bused to neighboring Port aux Basques due to declining enrolment.
18. The town is mentioned in the lyrics to the Tragically Hip song “The Dire Wolf” on their In Violet Light album.
19. The town is named after a formerly inhabited nearby island and is a reference to the many shipwrecks off the coast. Isle aux Morts translates from old French as “Island of the Dead”.
20. On November 26, 1981, Wayne Mushrow discovered a very rare and working Portuguese mariner’s astrolabe on a shipwreck near Isle aux Morts.
21. The year “1628” and “Y. Dyas” are stamped on the astrolabe, indicating that it was likely made by known astrolabe maker Joas Dyas. Portuguese mariner’s astrolabes are unique because they are graduated for zenith distance only.
22. In 1983, at the same site, Mushrow found a French mariner’s astrolabe stamped with the year “1617” and the name “Adrian Holland”.
23. It is unknown whether he was the maker or owner of the astrolabe. In 2001, the Mushrow Astrolabes were designated heritage treasures by the provincial government and placed in the collection of the Provincial Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador.
24. There is an outdoor ice rink maintained by volunteers and in Port aux Basques, 16km away, there is a state of the art sports complex with a ice rink, curling rink, bowling alley, swimming pool and fitness center. The vast country and barren landscape make snowmobile and ATV use very popular.
25. Each February there is a Winter Classic Pond Hockey Tournament on a pond in the community where locals and ex-pats join to break up the long cold winter.