Clarenville is a town of 6,300 people (2016) in Newfoundland at the base of the Bonavista Peninsula. It is the last town with most major amenities on the way up to historic Bonavista town. It is a quaint town with friendly well-to-do people.
Clarenville is in the Shoal Harbour valley fronting an arm of the Atlantic Ocean called Random Sound. The town grew in importance after it became a junction on the Newfoundland Railway where a branch line to the Bonavista Peninsula left the main line. The construction of the Trans-Canada Highway through the community in the 1960s resulted in it becoming a local service centre for central-eastern Newfoundland, serving 96,000 people living in 90 communities within a 100-km radius.
The town is a gateway to the Discovery Trail, extending down the Bonavista Peninsula to Trinity and Bonavista, reputed site of the first landing of European explorer John Cabot. The trail is a panorama of scenery, historic sites, coastal towns and villages.
Clarenville has developed in a narrow strip between the coastal ridge and the sea. The average width of the corridor is between 450 and 600 m. It is at the most westerly end of an in-drift called Random Sound, extending 25 km inland behind Random Island. As probably the deepest, best sheltered, ice-free port on Newfoundland's east coast, Clarenville is suited for commercial shipping and recreational boating.
There is no definite date for the first settlement of what is now Clarenville. There was a sawmill at Lower Shoal Harbour around 1848. Clarenville's name has been attributed to a memorial to the Duke of Clarence, eldest son of the then Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) who died in 1892.
The first settlers of Lower Shoal Harbour, the Tilleys, travelled from Hants Harbour in 1848 because of the abundance of timber here. Along with the saw mill, the Tilleys became involved with fox farming, gardening, coopering, blacksmithing, fishing and fish canning. John Tilley and Sons were the tinning operation to tin salmon in Newfoundland.
Clarenville is near the centre of three peninsulas: Avalon, Burin, and Bonavista. Route 1 (the Trans-Canada Highway) and Route 230 pass through the town linking Clarenville to the Bonavista Bay area and to the rest of the provincial road network.
Clarenville is 190 km from St. John's, which has the nearest major airport.
DLR bus runs once a day from the Memorial University Student Union Centre in St. John's to Clarenville (2 hr 50 min, $39 as of June 2019).
- Clarenville Cabs, ☏ .
- Benoit's Taxi, ☏ .
- Seaview Taxi, ☏ .
- Clarenville Heritage Society Museum, 7 Stanley’s Crescent off Marine Drive, ☏ . Early Jul to early September: daily 10AM-5PM. In the former CN Railway station built in 1942. By donation.
- The Transatlantic Cable Monument (next to the old cable station on Cormack Drive). The monument was erected in 2005 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the landing of the first Transatlantic Telephone Cable (TAT-1) connecting North America to Europe.
Nearby are three golf courses, hiking trails, snowmobiling country.
- White Hills Ski Resort, ☏ , toll-free: . The only ski resort east of Corner Brook. White Hills is also home to the New Curtain Theatre Company at the Loft Theatre. Full-day/half-day tickets: adult $50/$36, youth $30/$20, child under 5 free, cross-country $20.
- Bare Mountain Trail, Manitoba Drive. 1 hr 15 min hike with lookouts.
- Rod's Restaurant, 2 Shoal Harbour Dr, ☏ . F 7:30AM-10PM, Sa-Th 7:30AM-9PM price=. Fish and chips, deep fried seafood, burgers, sandwiches and wraps.
- 1 Stellar Kitchen at Clarenville Inn, 134 Trans Canada Hwy, toll-free: . Daily 7AM-10PM. A full-service restaurant with a breathtaking view. Many local ingredients sourced directly from the market on the hotel property and surrounding local farms: fresh seafood, meats, and pastas.
- Bella's Grill, St. Jude's Hotel, TransCanada Highway, ☏ . Daily 7AM-9PM.
- Tai-Hong, Tilleys Rd, ☏ . Su-Th 11:30AM-9PM, F Sa 11:30AM-10PM. Chinese buffet restaurant.
- 1 Clarenville Inn, 134 Trans Canada Hwy, toll-free: , ✉ email@example.com.
- 2 St. Jude Hotel, 247 Trans Canada Hwy, ☏ , toll-free: .
- Restland Motel and Suites, toll-free: . 5 rooms and 9 efficiency units with drive-up entrance. A shuttle service ride to the nearby White Hills Ski Resort. Some rooms air conditioned. Designated pet-friendly rooms, restaurant, pub. Rooms $120, suites $140, efficiency units $130, apartments $140.