Like most rural communities in Newfoundland, Glover’s Harbour is faced with a dwindling population due to outmigration and aging residents.
Editors note: This story is the first in a four-part series by student journalists Abigail Chippett and Kyle Greenham on aging communities in rural Newfoundland. This story includes relatives of the author as they are a critical part of the accompanying radio documentary.
Once a community of over 150 people, Glover’s Harbour now has a population of just 61. The majority of the residents living there are middle-aged and seniors.
With only one small shop, the community is approximately an hour away from larger towns and the nearest hospital.
Karen Martin moved from Glover’s Harbour for school and work. She says there are no new families moving into the community and the majority of the population are seniors.
“The community is getting older,” said Martin. “There are no children there anymore. The two youngest people in the community are two girls in Grade 11. After that there is no possibility of children unless new families move in because everyone there are getting to be senior citizens.”
Cora Chippett, another former resident of the community, says one thing keeping the community going is how close the people are and how willing they are to help each other when needed.
“There was a strong sense of community,” said Chippett. “Everyone knew everyone else and you were related to a lot of people who lived in the community. Sometimes you probably felt like you were in everybody else’s hair, but when you needed someone, there was always someone there to help you out.”
One interesting attraction in Glover’s Harbour is its giant squid. A 17-metre long specimen was found in the harbour by one of Chippett’s ancestors in 1878. A scale model of the squid was built in the town to draw tourists to the area.
Irene Martin moved to Glover’s Harbour when she was in her early twenties. She grew up in Locke’s Harbour: a community that had been resettled with the majority of its residents moving to Glover’s Harbour. She says her husband had to go away to work a lot, and raising a family by herself in a small community was difficult at times.
Martin watched a lot of her friends and family move from the community over the years. She says not having them close to her anymore is hard.
“I figured they had to move for work,” she said. “It’s still not easy because they’re away from me. I would not want to move, not at my age. But I might have to someday.”
Chippett says that even though most people in the town are older, she thinks the community is not lost yet.
“It’s their home, it’s their community, it’s where they grew up, and it’s where they raised their families,” she said. “They have a strong sense of community and they stick together. I think Glover’s Harbour will hang on for a long, long time.”