Lisbon Earthquake

On the morning of 1 November, 1755, the city of Lisbon, Portugal was struck by what is now estimated to be the most destructive earthquake in European history. As well as destroying many buildings, the quake generated a large tsunami – a massive wave caused by the sudden movement of the tectonic plates. The tsunami was so big it travelled across the Atlantic Ocean, and was observed here in Bonavista – over 3500 km from the quake’s epicentre. Rev. Philip Tocque wrote in his book of 1846: This event is likely the inspiration for the traditional Newfoundland song “A Great Big Sea Hove In Long Beach”. Directly in front of you is Long Beach and Bonavista Harbour is to the west.

Cultural/Historical Attractions

The Town of Bonavista boasts structures of architectural and historical significance, including an inventory of more than 1000 heritage structure within their municipal inventory.

Cultural Attractions

The following are a list of Cultural Heritage Sites in Bonavista:

Memorial United ChurchThe largest wooden church in eastern Canada, constructed in 1918 in the Classical Revival style.
Matthew Legacy Interpretation CentreThis site presents the story of John Cabot and his uncharted voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in 1947.
Garrick TheatreOne of the oldest surviving theatres in the Province, dating to 1945 and a popular entertainment venue and social centre.
Orange HallThe Loyal Orange Lodge was built in 1907 and is the largest fraternal hall of wooden construction in North America.

Historical Attractions

The following is a list of Historical Heritage Sites in Bonavista:

Ryan Premises National Historic Site of CanadaThis site commemorates five centuries of commercial fishing on Canada’s east coast and is managed by Parks Canada.
Mockbeggar Plantation Provincial Historic SiteThe site contains historical gems from the oldest surviving wooden structure in the province, dating to the early 1700s, and interpreting the life and business of the middle class workers pre- Confederation with Canada in the 1940s.
Cape Bonavista Lighthouse Provincial Historic SiteOcean and scenic views make this the most visited Provincial Historic Site. Built in 1843, the original lighthouse interprets the working lifestyle of a lightkeeper’s family. The site offers guided natural and geological history interpretation.
William Alexander House – Bridge HouseThis wood framed Georgian style building is the oldest documented, residential structure in Newfoundland, built either 1811 or 1814.

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