St. Lawrence is a town of 1,200 people (2016) on the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador. St. Lawrence calls itself the 'Soccer Capital of Canada', and St. Lawrence Centennial Soccer Field has been listed as one of the Historic Places of Canada since 2005.
The St. Lawrence soccer teams have been a powerhouse of soccer on the Burin Peninsula. The town has nine organized soccer teams. Provincial-level culminated in the St. Lawrence Laurentians being named the "Team of the Decade" for the 1970s and 1990s.
St. Lawrence was named by a group of shipwrecked sailors who came to the New Found Land in 1583 with Sir Humphrey Gilbert. During the expedition their vessel, HMS Delight, sank off Sable Island. Sixteen of her crew drifted in a lifeboat for 7 days before coming ashore on the South Coast in Little St. Lawrence.
The area was known to English, French, and Basque fishermen in the 1500s and there were a few French stages at St Lawrence for the early French ship fishermen for the fishing season. Permanent settlement actually began in the early to mid-1700s. Captain James Cook surveyed the St. Lawrence area and vicinity in 1765. St. Lawrence was a hive of activity in 1784 when Newmans opened its store in Little St. Lawrence and business was soon rivalling that of St. John's (the capital city). Newmans closed its Little St. Lawrence store in 1811.
Fishing was the main economic activity of the area for hundreds of years due to its proximity to the Grand Banks. A tsunami devastated the area following the 1929 Grand Banks earthquake; 27 people lost their lives, and many along the coast lost their houses, boats, stages and supplies. This added greatly to the hardship already inflicted by the Great Depression and the collapse of the saltfish trade.
The mining of fluorspar deposits began in 1933. The fluorspar mine in St. Lawrence was a major employer in the community until 1978, when the mine was closed.
On February 18, 1942, more than 200 American sailors died when the USS Truxton ran aground near Chambers Cove and the USS Pollux ran aground at Lawn Point. Tremendous community efforts and personal bravery by the citizens of Lawn and St. Lawrence reduced the high death toll. In 1954 the U.S. Navy built a hospital at St. Lawrence in gratitude for their work.
St. Lawrence is 345 km by road (about 4 hr 45 min) from St. John's, which has the nearest major airport.
Take the Trans-Canada Highway from St. John's to Goobies (which is a real place), and turn west onto Route 210 toward Marystown. At Marystown, continue south (not west) onto Route 220 to St. Lawrence.
- 1 St. Lawrence Miner's Memorial Museum, Route 220 (at the main entrance into St. Lawrence adjacent to the community cemetery), ☏ . Late June to early September. It tells the story of the feldspar miners, and also the story of the 2 US warships that wrecked on the shores during World War II, and the Newfoundlanders that helped save many lives. The giftshop sells fluospar jewellery, and there is a workshop where they demonstrate the cutting and polishing of the fluospar.
2 Echoes of Valour Memorial. Erected in 1992 in dedicated to the mining industry in St. Lawrence, the sailors who died in the USS Truxtun and USS Pollux disaster, and those who lost their lives in the World Wars. It's along the St. Lawrence Nature Walk (see "Do" below).3 Chambers Cove. It's along the St. Lawrence Nature Walk (see "Do" below).
- St. Lawrence Nature Walk (off Pollux Crescent). Hike in to Chambers Cove to see the location of a US naval sea tragedy in 1942. From Pollux Crescent, the first part is about 2 km over a gravel road after which you arrive at a parking area near a narrow bridge. From the bridge it is about 1 km to the ocean. After crossing the bridge, turn left onto the Bergeron Path into the Cove. The monument is across a stream and up over some steps.
- The Museum Gift Shop at the St. Lawrence Miners Museum (see "See" above) sells jewellery made from fluorspar extracted locally from the only Fluorspar deposit in Canada. This beautifully coloured stone is hand-carved and polished in their own workshop and set in distinctive jewellery. This stone comes in 30 shades from green to blue to pink to red.
- The Stag Bar in the Oceanview Motel is open nightly.
- Sweepers Lounge on Corporation Place and is home to numerous dart leagues.
- Ocean View Motel & Lounge ("Buds"), 26 - 27 Water Street West, ☏ . 16 rooms, all equipped with private bath/shower, mini-fridge, microwave, TV, telephone & free Wi-Fi. On-site restaurant: Mrs. Rita's Kitchen, which offers fine dining with home-style cooking.