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Walled Landscape of Grates Cove National Historic Site of Canada

Grates Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1995/11/24

View of the Walled Landscape of Grates Cove, showing the treeless headland and its excellent views towards the ocean, evocative of the residents’ relationship with the sea and land.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
General view
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Other Name(s)

Walled Landscape of Grates Cove National Historic Site of Canada
Walled Landscape of Grates Cove
Paysage des Murs de Grates Cove

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1790/01/01 to 2009/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/06/18

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Walled Landscape of Grates Cove National Historic Site of Canada is a visually distinct, grassy landscape of approximately 150 acres (60.7 hectares), situated on the windswept headland of the Northern point of Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland. Across the treeless landscape, jagged stone walls snake over the contours of the land, defining small fertile gardens and creating a landscape representing the relationship between the land and the residents of Grates Cove. The designation refers to boundary of Grates Cove at the time of its designation in 1995.

Heritage Value

The Walled Landscape of Grates Cove was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1995 because:
-it is a rare surviving example of a once common system of land and community organization particular to Newfoundland which, in its form, extent, and endurance, continues to speak eloquently to the history and community organization of this particular outport;
-a tradition of "taking the land" at Grates Cove has resulted in the creation of a landscape distinguished by a combination of thrown, stacked, and piled stone walls which covers approximately 150 acres and is characterized by numerous walled gardens scattered over a rocky headland - a landscape associated with a land use practice that places little value on the formalities of land ownership and requires the cooperative efforts of the community to build and maintain.

In a context where people made their living primarily from the fisheries, the residents of Grates Cove developed a fluid relationship with the land, cultivating small garden plots to supplement their diets. Rocks were removed from pockets of arable soil and stacked around these pockets to protect them from wind and foraging animals. Gardens nearer the houses were generally devoted to root crops and those farther away to pasturage. The system of shared ownership and informal transfer of land owes its origins to Ireland, the native land of many of the original settlers.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Submission Report, 1995; Minutes, October 2006.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
- the treeless headland and its excellent views towards the ocean, evocative of the residents’ relationship with the sea and land;
- the rolling terrain, its pockets of arable soil, the hundreds of stone walls;
- the variety of the heights, widths, materials, and construction techniques of the stone walls.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1995/11/24

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1790/01/01 to 2009/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
Settlement
Peopling the Land
People and the Environment

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Food Supply
Farm Element
Food Supply
Rural District or Area
Community
Settlement

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

862

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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