The Cape Race area of the island of Newfoundland is a North Atlantic headland just northwest of the most popular transatlantic shipping route. It appears on many of the earliest new world maps as wind and current brought many early transatlantic sailors and explorers close to this part of the Newfoundland coast. There were illegal settlers just to the north who greeted the Mayflower when it landed in the region in 1621; and the region eventually became the legal home to hundreds of fishing families of mostly Irish heritage.
The strong local economy faltered in 1991 with the collapse of Newfoundland’s northern cod fishery and the region’s leaders decided to take advantage of the tourists who came seeking out the area’s Titanic connections and pre-historic fossil beds. In July of 1998 CAPE RACE-PORTUGAL COVE SOUTH HERITAGE INC. (CR-PCSHI) was born as a non-profit group interested in tourism and community development.
Today CR-PCSHI promotes the Cape Race Light Station and Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve as world-calibre attractions. The organization runs the Edge of Avalon Interpretative Centre and Edge of the Sea Gift Shop in Portugal Cove South and oversees a natural heritage interpretation program for the Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve – a unique fossil bed which may soon be a UNESCO World Heritage site.
A not-for-profit organization run by a volunteer Board of Directors, CR-PCSHI is dedicated to the preservation, development, and promotion of the natural and cultural resources of the Cape Race/Portugal Cove South area. Each summer, it continues to manage and provide tours of the Myrick Wireless Interpretative Centre and houses Parks and Natural Areas Division Interpreters for Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve in the Edge of Avalon Interpretative Centre.
During 2012 CR-PCSHI is overseeing the expansion of the Myrick Wireless Interpretation Center. This museum at Cape Race tells the communications and navigation history of this famous headland including the April 14, 1912 reception of Titanic’s distress signal by the Cape Race Marconi Station. The Cape Race Titanic story has captured the imagination of Titanic enthusiasts everywhere. Cape Race is the nearest point of land to the ocean gravesite that is Titanic and the human connections between the two sites run deep. Hollywood producer James Cameron is very appreciative of the wireless side of the Titanic story and has become the ambassador for our April 14/15, 2012 centennial commemoration of Titanic’s loss.
You can learn more about this region’s Titanic heritage by further exploring this website. You can learn more about CR-PCSHI and its activities at http://www.edgeofavalon.ca/