Located on the southeast corner of the Burin Peninsula, 185 km south of the TransCanada Highway, is St. Lawrence. This picturesque community is strategically connected to all major communities along the south Burin Peninsula, and is referred to as the Soccer Capital of Canada for all its regional, provincial and national accomplishments.
Land Area, km2
St. Lawrence’s rich culture and heritage carries with it the memory of three distinct tragedies. In 1929, a tsunami resulting from the Grand Banks earthquake overwhelmed the community, throwing the fishing industry into turmoil with the loss of lives and with widespread devastation. In the early 1930’s, the men of St. Lawrence and neighboring communities responded to the promise of steady, paying work at the new St. Lawrence fluorspar mine, which ultimately resulted in the loss of a generation of men through mine-related disease. Then in February 1942, the naval vessels the U.S.S. Truxtun and the Pollux ran aground between the outport communities of Lawn and St. Lawrence during a howling gale. The heroic rescue effort of the residents and miners over the ice-covered cliffs of Chambers Cove saved the lives of many American servicemen; however, there was still a tragic loss of life. This unique history has helped to shape the character of the community and its people – community matters here.
Today, a vibrant community spirit is helping to harness innovative opportunities – like sustainable energy – to diversify the economy. The St. Lawrence Wind Power Project was a first for the province – this commercial wind farm now provides power to the provincial grid, along with an expansion to the town’s tax base.
Sustainable development in tourism is another component of diversification. Chambers Cove Heritage
Walk, and tours of the Miners Museum and the Island Rock Jewelry and Crafts shop – where jewelry is hand-crafted out of fluorspar – all offer the visitor an opportunity to reflect on the community’s rich history while experiencing its strong tradition of hospitality. For the outdoor person, St. Lawrence and its topography of vast rolling hills and striking fiords offer a vast area of untapped natural beauty ideal for individuals who appreciate hunting, fishing and deep sea diving.
Most promising for the future economic stability of St. Lawrence is the recent exploratory work by Canada Fluorspar on the existing mine property. This exploration activity on several fluorspar veins may prove the economic viability of the mine. Financial viability could mean the development of a modernized mill, a new wharf facility, and an inclusionary workforce trained in modern mining methods and safety standards. The resumption of large scale mining in St. Lawrence would enhance employment prospects for the town, providing high paying jobs in the mining industry along with significant economic spin-off.
The intrinsic strengths of this community and its people, combined with continued innovation and diversification of its economic base, and skills training for the workplace, will be pivotal in ensuring bright future for St. Lawrence.