Resettlement

 

During the 1950s and '60s, thousands of Newfoundlanders who lived on islands or in remote coves were relocated to government-designated "growth centres." The resettlement program was designed to move people closer to government-provided services. Each household was paid a small amount to cover moving costs. In many cases, this amount did not cover the cost of buying land and building a new home in a larger community, so many people decided to take their houses with them. It must have been an eerie sight to see a house (bouyed by empty oil drums) being towed across the bay.

 

The resettlement program still evokes strong feelings of loss for many Newfoundlanders. The "resettlement game" has been lamented in story and song. In recent years, many people have returned to their islands to build cabins where their family homes once stood.

 

Two photographs, in particular, have become iconic images of the resettlement program. One is a photo of Malcolm Rogers (with two other men), in his boat, towing his house from Silver Fox Island to Dover. The other is a photo of three children watching the house arrive in Dover. Over the years, these photographs have been reproduced and sold thousands of times. You'll find them hanging in homes and businesses throughout Newfoundland. Often people don't know where the photos were taken--they just know that they capture the heartache and loss, as well as the hope and promise, of the resettlement program.

 

In Dover, you'll find a mural--inspired by the image of the children--situated at Butcher's Cove, the site where the photograph was taken. The mural was painted by local residents Abby Collins and Candi Hunt and was featured in a Land and Sea program about Dover.

 

People resettled to Dover from Silver Fox Island, Burnt Island, Braggs Island and Newport. The people who relocated created new lives in Dover, raising their children here and becoming valued members of our community.