There’s a good reason why Conception Bay South is the number one day-trip destination on Newfoundland and Labrador’s northeast Avalon Peninsula. “People come for our urban vibe,” says mayor Terry French. “They stick around for our rural charm.”
Or, maybe, it’s the other way around.
“I’m never sure,” laughs the chief elected officer of this 27,000-strong gateway community just outside of the province’s capital of St. John’s. “The bottom line: We offer modern city amenities along an iconic country coastline providing the perfect balance and that makes us unique.”
It shows. The plethora of attractions, sights, sounds, food, beverage and entertainment – enough to fill a morning, an afternoon, an evening, or a whole day – are sure to intrigue any seasoned traveler or first-time visitor.
The east end of town at Topsail Beach is “Kilometer Zero” of the East Coast Trail; the Conception Bay South T’railway system, Manuels River Trail System, Gateway Trail, Topsail Bluff Trail and Chamberlains Park all offer stunning landscapes and photo opportunities. Experienced tour operators provide a wide range of ocean-based activities, and Topsail Beach is a visitor favorite for evening bonfires and outdoor activities.
Meanwhile, the Topsail Heritage Homes and Gardens Walk features structures and stories about the early settlers to the community. The Sgt. Thomas Ricketts Peace Park highlights a key historical figure, the youngest ever recipient of the Victoria Cross known for his bravery in battle. The interpretation centre at Manuels River showcases the geological history and the landscape surrounding the waterway.
“We really put a lot of emphasis on our outdoor activities,” French says. “A new outdoor park with a dual-purpose skating oval and splash pad will open early next year.”
The result is a town that’s becoming the community of choice for families wanting to establish long-term roots. Its favourable climate, rural feel, and close proximity to urban amenities create an ideal location to live, work and play on the Avalon Peninsula.
Says French: “We offer the best of both worlds.” •