Trinity is in the heart of Newfoundland’s history; the town has been an active settlement since at least 1588. Some sources place settlers here even earlier. The explorer, John Cabot, discovered the Western World when he arrived at Bonavista in 1497, just a short distance away. The harbour, secure in the worst gales, was irresistible. “The best and largest harbour in all the land,” said the 1689 English Pilot. It is still regarded as one of the finest natural harbours in the world.
There is much speculation about how Trinity gained its name. Some believe it was named by the explorer Gaspar de Corte Real. Corte Real was said to have sailed into the harbour on Trinity Sunday, 1501. Modern historians believe the name was English, as 16th century Portugese maps show Trinity Bay as bay de St. Cyria. Still others contest that the three arms that constitute the harbour have been a foundation for its name.
The first Court of the Admiralty in the New World was held by Richard Whitbourne in Trinity on June 4, 1615. A courthouse built in the 1700’s still stands reminiscent of law & order in a new land. The first smallpox vaccination was administered in Trinity by Dr. John Clinch (both medical doctor and Anglican priest) in 1800. Clinch was sent the vaccine by his friend, the vaccine’s inventor, Dr. William Jenner. Seven hundred (700) local residents were inoculated at that time.
A good place to start on your adventure is to visit the local historic sites. The Interpretation Centre, Hiscock House, and Ryan Premises are Provincially funded sites. The Trinity Historical Society and Trinity Trust maintains the local Museum, the Lester Garland Mansion, and the Green Family Forge. Other must sees are the local churches. St. Paul’s Anglican church was rebuilt in 1892 and is simply breathtaking. It was at its consecration that Rev. William Bullock introduced the well known hymn, “We Love Thee Place O God”. The Holy Trinity Catholic church is the oldest standing wooden structure in Newfoundland. A short trip to Fort Point will bring alive the battles that were fought here when the French invaded centuries ago. Remnants can still be seen of the whale factory, but long gone are the Salvation Army Barracks, Mussel Factory, and United church. The two room school house still stands watch over the village today.
Trinity is a very quaint, historical town with many attractions.
It houses provincial historic sites, breathtaking scenery, a popular open air pageant and evening theatre, whale watching tours, kayaking & spectacular coastal trails. From early July until Labour Day, Rising Tide Theatre stages The New Founde Lande historical pageant, as well as scheduled dinner and night-time performances of such works as Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Newfoundland written productions.
Special attention has been made to keep the history in Trinity alive. The remarkable preservation of buildings and artifacts makes Trinity the most notable of any heritage community in Newfoundland. From the special accommodations featured here, to the many other local historic establishments and activities, Trinity is proud to maintain its magnificent past.