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History and Traditions

Main tickle
Main tickle

Change Islands is an artist's, tourists', and photographer's paradise, rich in geologic features and historical architecture, with salt box houses, tidy gardens and red ochre fishing stages and stores that hug its charming coves. Home of the Squid Jiggin' Ground, the Newfoundland Cod Trap, and a historic fishing heritage, the community of Change Islands is steeped in time-honoured traditions.

The incorporated community of Change Islands, is built along the shores of a long and narrow tickle that separates the two largest islands. There have been fishermen here since the 1700's when the Labrador fishery rose to prominence. By the beginning of the twentieth century, this was a prosperous settlement with a population of over 1,000 people who fished the adjacent North Atlantic waters or worked in the many large merchant premises that were established in the coves and on the rugged shores and the many adjacent smaller islands. With the introduction of modern fishing technology and the recent closure of the northern cod fishery, the population census has reduced to 360 in 2006.

Change Islands in winter
Change Islands in winter

Despite the introduction of modern conveniences, Change Islands still retains the "look and feel" of the last century and still maintains a fishing tradition. The house styles and the lifestyles here are from another time. White painted, narrow clapboarded homes sit in well-kept green gardens facing the main tickle or the open sea. Fishing stages and stores, painted in the traditional red ochre colour line the shore. Small boats traverse the many harbours, tickles and coves. There's even a general store where you can buy the makings for a picnic that can be enjoyed at an abandoned fishing hamlet at nearby Puncheon Cove. The "Encyclopedia of Newfoundland & Labrador" provides a detailed account of the history of Change Islands.

Artist Gerald Squires and the writer-poets A.R. Scammell and Canon George Earle, all born in Change Islands, are well known for their literary and artistic achievements.

Gerald Squires

Art Scammell

Canon George Earle

Fishing Stage Capital of the World

Change Islands - "Fishing Stage Capital of the World" – is rich in heritage buildings and contains approximately 200 stages and stores most of which are still in use. A slide show presentation of a selected number of Change Islands heritage stages and stores is presented below.

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