The town of Clarenville is located near the center of three peninsulas: Avalon, Burin, and Bonavista. The Trans Canada Highway and provincial route 230 pass through the town linking Clarenville to the Bonavista Bay area and to the rest of the provincial road network. Because of it’s geographical location and variety of services provided to the area, Clarenville has long been known as ’ The Hub of The East Coast ’. We have two full service international airports. To the west, Gander International Airport is only 1.5 hours from Clarenville. To the East, St. John’s International Airport is only a 2 hour drive from Clarenville. The Trans-Canada Highway crosses Newfoundland west to east from Port aux Basques to St. John’s. Clarenville is conveniently situated on the Trans Canada Highway and is the centre of a vast network of transportation routes.


There is no definite date for the first settlement of what is now Clarenville. It is known that William Cowan owned a sawmill at Lower Shoal Harbour around 1848 and this was bought by Joseph Tilley and James Summers of Hants Harbour. They settled here. Settlers also arrived at Dark Hole ( or Dark Harbour). The families that made up this community were the Balsoms, Pearces, Vardys, and Seawards. Settlers also arrived at Brook Cove (the Burseys), Broad Cove (the Strongs, Adeys), and Red Beach (the Stanleys). These five communities became part of a new community known as Clarenceville in 1892 when the railway came through. There are two versions of the origin of Clarenville’s name. It has been attributed to a memorial to the Duke of Clarence, eldest son of the then Prince of Wales ( later King Edward VII ) who died in 1892. The other version is that it was named for a son of Prime Minister Sir William Whiteway. However, Sir William had no son by that name. By 1901 Clarenville was the way everyone spelled the name and it has remained that way.

Unique Characteristics

The town is a natural gateway to the scenic Discovery Trail. The trail is a panorama of scenery, historic sites, coastal towns and villages, and natural wonders. There is plenty to do and see with interpretative and historic sites, museums, craft shops, and historical pageantries. Opportunities to experience nature include whale watching, bird watching, and berg-chasing. It has become the fastest growing destination in Newfoundland & Labrador, offering plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs.


As Clarenville is located in the beautiful Shoal Harbour River Valley, it is subject to prevailing southwest winds, bringing drier weather and considerably more sunshine and temperate conditions than the rest of the island.


The town is home to 4,500 people and another 32,000 depend on Clarenville for services.

Other Things of Interest

As the major terminus for the Bonavista Peninsula and all rail traffic west, Clarenville quickly became the region’s primary centre. Today, Clarenville is a multi-faceted community with an exhaustive range of things to do and see. Year-round vehicle and passenger ferry service is provided by Marine Atlantic between North Sydney, Nova Scotia, and Port aux Basques, Newfoundland. Crossing time is 6 hours.

From mid-June to mid-September, an additional ferry operates between North Sydney, Nova Scotia and Argentia, Newfoundland, which is 45 kilometers from the Trans Canada Highway and 135 kms from Clarenville.

Crossing time is 12-14 hours. Like the rest of our province and country, the predominant religion in the Clarenville area is Christianity. There are five major Christian denominations in town including: The Salvation Army , Anglican Church, Pentecostal Church, Roman Catholic, and the United Church, along with several minority religions.


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