Bar Haven Suite

Josephine Rowe
2014 Offset  
Bar Haven is an island in Newfoundland, Canada. In 1966 it was entirely depopulated, as were many outport communities like it, as part of a government scheme to modernise the flagging provincial economy. Families were paid $1000 for their land and directed to designated growth areas on the mainland. Houses were lifted from foundations onto rafts made of birch logs and oil drums, then towed across Placentia Bay. It's an image you'll find on every other lounge room wall throughout Newfoundland
more » ... out Newfoundland -the double-storey weatherboard floating eerily in open water. On Bar Haven, all that was left behind were the cemetery and church, and the stone doorsteps to show where the houses had stood. For several decades the only residents were moose and caribou, the forest gradually erasing evidence of human inhabitants. But if you go there nowadays, in the summer months (piloting a boat from Swift Current through forty-five minutes of Atlantic fog) you'll likely find somebody at work; repairing the wharf, or putting the finishing touches on a cabin. The government never quite got around to transferring the land away, and those who were forced to leave half a century ago are slowly returning to the island of their childhood.
doi:10.15209/offset.v0i12.396 fatcat:ki2blqtjojhejikqlyuks4nkem