Author’s latest project charts vibrant history of Bonne Bay

Jamie Bennett
Published on May 26, 2014
Author Anthony Berger reads a passage from his latest book during a launch Sunday at the Bonne Bay Marine Station in Norris Point. — Photo by Jamie Bennett/The Western Star

It was standing room only for the launch of Anthony Berger’s latest book Sunday at the Bonne Bay Marine Station’s theatre in Norris Point.

The book, titled “The Good and Beautiful Bay: A History of Bonne Bay to Confederation and a Little Beyond,” was launched as part of the final day for the Tales, Trails and Tunes Festival.

“My wrist is sore,” Berger told The Western Star with a smile after signing copies of his book for many of those in attendance. “But it’s nice to see so many people. ... I was very pleased indeed.”

Berger’s love of the area can be traced to his summers spent at fishing lodge in Lomond owned by his mother, Ella Manuel.

He has been a frequent visitor to the area since and in addition to his work as a geology teacher in such places as the University of Toronto and the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka, he has authored a number of scientific books and journals.

He calls his latest project a “labour of love” and said he learned plenty about the area during many hours spent culling local museums, memoirs and church records.

“I’ve learned a great deal about the history and the background of people I’ve know through researching this,” he said. “I’ve been really impressed about how much information there is available, not only on Bonne Bay but on rural Newfoundland.”

The book details the earliest history of the area, including squabbles between the French and English, before covering Gros Morne National Park’s development as a UNESCO world heritage sight.

While he admits it was refreshing to put his scientific inclinations aside for this project, he said the unique geologic history of the area was never far from his thoughts.

“At my stage in life it’s nice to spend some time reflecting on community,” he said.

“But I’m ever mindful of the fact that the landscape shapes the people and the community.”