Located nine miles off Labrador’s southeast coast, Battle Harbour is a bit of a challenge to get to. You can make most of that journey via the Trans-Labrador Highway these days, or by some combination of flights, ferries and vehicle as far as Mary’s Harbour on the Labrador mainland. But the last leg is a 45-minute small-boat ride into open sea, skirting a handful of treeless, unoccupied islands.
Even Battle Island, the lesser of two islands nestled cheek by jowl, looks uninhabited when you first catch sight of it. But as you motor closer, the south-facing hillside opens up, as if someone was swinging it wide like a door, revealing a green slope dotted with white buildings, their roofs painted a bright ochre red.
Beyond this tidy little village, the north Atlantic stretches empty to the horizon. Peter Bull, executive director of the Battle Harbour National Historic District, leans in to shout over the outboard. “If you were to sail past here,” he says, “the next stop is Greenland.”
Find ‘Across the tickle,‘ our Battle Harbour story by Michael Crummey, in the May/June 2021 issue of Canadian Geographic.