Red Bay, a coastal community and National Historic Site in Canada, is a beautiful introduction to rural Labrador. Its history extends back to the 1500s, when thousands of Basque whalers hunted right whales and bowhead whales for blubber, which was rendered into oil and exported to light the lamps of Europe. The whaling station itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the remains of whale oil rendering ovens and a burial ground where 140 whalers and sailors were laid to rest can still be found on nearby Saddle Island.
Tiny Red Bay has the hallmarks of rural Newfoundland and Labrador: colorful saltbox houses, craggy coastline and complete peace and solitude. The town can be easily walked in a short amount of time, and the effort is worth it. Wander around the beach and soak up the history of a place fraught with drama. In 1565, the San Juan de Pasajes sunk just off Saddle Island during a storm, and the remains of the ship were discovered in 1978, revealing the sophisticated construction of Basque ships.