Fleur des Lys 

Because another connection with Newfoundland’s past inhabitants was found in Fleur des Lys, I tried to book accommodation there. With a population of around two hundred residents, this explained why there was nothing available, so I had to drive north into the village and out again on the same day. From the harsh winters, the highway to this remote location was a series of ups and downs and sunken holes, so even though there was little traffic, it was slow going.

A rock formation near the village resembled a fleur des lys (a French symbol), so French fishers gave the location its namesake. With limited time, I couldn’t take advantage of the hiking trails so headed straight to the tourist office where two unfriendly and bored attendants told me that the soapstone hollows were just over the hill. 

It was a short distance from the tourist centre to view the holes scooped out by Newfoundland’s earlier peoples. This soapstone quarry had first been used by Maritime Archaic peoples as far back as 4 000 years ago. The hollows that remained on my visit had been dug out by Dorset Paleo-Eskimo peopIes from 500 years ago, going back to 1 600 years. Soapstone was soft and held heat well, so it had been carved into bowls, oil lamps, pipes, and figurines. The items they made were not only for their own use, but to trade with others along the coast.

After my visit it was time to tackle that seventy-kilometre roller coaster road again back to the main highway.

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