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Name That Newfoundland Tune

I’m always better at remembering something when I can sing it. Learning the alphabet? Much easier with the alphabet song than to remember a long string of letters. Canadian provinces? The tune started with “the provinces of Canada are fun to remember, fun to remember…” and it still helps me get them in the right order from east to west.

Studying Newfoundland charts has caused me to pause at times, uncertain of why the name of a community or body of water sounds familiar. And then I realize it’s from a song.

Imagine my delight when a councillor of the town of Harbour Grace phoned to invite Picton Castle for a visit this summer. My mind immediately went to “Excursion Around the Bay” in which the man whose wife becomes ill on board a vessel seeks something to give her to make her better.

I tried every place in Harbour Grace, tried every store and shop…

In researching icebergs and where we’re most likely to encounter them, Iceberg Alley and the town of Twillingate are mentioned in all of the tourism brochures and websites. Sure enough, like in the song “I’se the B’y”, Fogo and Moreton’s Harbour are right nearby, or “all around the circle.”

While we’re not planning to stop, we will sail past the ecological reserve at Cape St. Mary’s, a famous point of land on the south coast of the Avalon Peninsula that inspired the hauntingly beautiful song of the same name.

But when we sail to old St. John’s, will all the girls be dancing? Guess we’ll have to wait and see, or take it upon ourselves to make it true.


Spaces are still available on Picton Castle‘s Newfoundland voyage this summer. Sail for two, four, six or eight weeks in July and August 2011.

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