Transforming Bonavista

As one of the oldest settlements in North America, Bonavista is home to the finest designated inventory of built heritage in rural Newfoundland. This heritage creates a unique sense of place that can be leveraged to spur economic regeneration and inspire imaginative new development. Bonavista Living and Bonavista Creative operate in a complimentary fashion to not only restore physical buildings, but also to foster new enterprise to benefit the Bonavista region.

Bonavista Living focuses on the preservation and restoration of the area’s existing built heritage. Properties are chosen for their architectural and historical significance, their placement within historic neighborhoods, as well as the level of threat under which they exist. Upon complete restoration, they may be used as vacation rentals, as affordable housing units, or sold as private homes.

Bonavista Creative aims to promote new and unique businesses that will contribute to the local economy. Located on the main thoroughfare of Church Street in Bonavista’s downtown core, this operation offers commercial space for crafts people, artisans, food vendors and many other professional services not currently operating in the area. These spaces are offered at very competitive rates to minimize risk for new business owners. Five new businesses opened in June 2016 – the Boreal Diner, Broken Books, East Coast Glow, Sweet Rock Ice Cream and Tree Line Fine Arts and Craft – and the combined energy, publicity and convenience of their central location has helped all five launch successfully.

Beyond capitalizing on existing built heritage assets, Bonavista Creative also addresses intangible heritage of local skills and traditions. Heritage carpentry is one example in this case: the type of refurbishment required for these heritage buildings is quite specialized. The Bonavista Creative Workshop brings together highly skilled heritage carpenters to work on both residential and commercial properties. The Workshop now accepts private restoration and woodworking projects throughout the province and country.