To shine a light on Canada’s most incredible weekend destinations, we partnered with Chevrolet to create the Blazer Index, an exclusive lineup of our favourite luxury experiences. Fogo Island Inn is just one of these essential excursions for when you’ve regained a sense of freedom in your life and you’re ready to explore the absolute best our country has to offer.
Opened just six years ago, the already iconic Fogo Island Inn has managed to transform a once-sleepy fishing community (population: 2,244) into a world-renowned tourism destination.
An exclusive, 29-room luxury inn on the rugged coast of Fogo Island, which is located off the north coast of Newfoundland, Fogo Island Inn was one of the first properties to be selected for the prestigious National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection and has won countless accolades for its stunning architecture and thoughtful, sustainable approach to hospitality.
The inn is a modern, award-winning property located in a beautiful North Atlantic landscape—but it’s also become the nexus for a uniquely Canadian travel and cultural experience that leaves a lasting impression on visitors.
“Nowadays, we know that people are seeking thoughtful, community-focussed, really authentic travel experiences that are good for the guests and for the people that live in the community,” says Melanie Coates, the inn’s director of marketing and business development. “For our guests, we offer access to a deeply rooted culture, and that’s our point of difference. We believe there’s irreplaceable value in small places—if they’re lost, they can’t be replaced.”
Designed by Newfoundland-born architect Todd Saunders, every room in the light-filled 43,000 sq. ft. property offers floor-to-ceiling windows with picturesque ocean views. Features such as wood-burning stoves and heated bathroom floors make for a cozy stay year round, and thoughtful extras such as fresh-baked goods, storm-weather gear, rubber boots, and binoculars are available in each suite.
There’s also a 37-seat cinema, a library, an art gallery, a gym, a wood-fired sauna, hot tubs on the roof, and a new Shed building nearby where events are held and visitors can spend time. Every piece of furniture in the inn is locally made, sometimes in collaboration with internationally recognized designers, resulting in unique designs with a distinctive sense of place. For example, the Frank Tjepkema–conceived, wildflower-shaped motif of the airy dining room chandeliers were also inspired by traditional fishing knots.
The inn’s restaurant, headed by Executive Chef Jonathan Gushue, made Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants list for 2019. A summer meal might include modern, luxurious takes on dishes such as chilled pea soup and lobster angnolotti, highlighting a trove of locally sourced seasonal ingredients.
Located in a North Atlantic area known as “Iceberg Alley,” where iceberg-spotting is a popular tourist attraction from mid-May to late June, Fogo is a subarctic island with a deep and complex fishing history and beautiful, still-wild landscapes. Each stay on the island can differ significantly, depending on the time of year and the weather.
Locals proclaim that there are seven distinct seasons here: Winter, Pack Ice Season, Spring, Trap Berth Season, Summer, Berry Season, and Late Fall. Activities on offer by the inn can range from berry-picking with a local guide to experiencing a traditional culinary “boil-up” over with a community host to solo hikes along the island’s 200 km of scenic paths, routes, and trails where you can spot animals including caribou, puffins, whales, and seals.
On the island, you can explore Fogo’s burgeoning arts and food scenes—there are 10 towns to visit, with names such as Seldom, Eastern Tickle, and Cape Cove. Popular attractions include the Brimstone Head Trail and small house museums that offer a fascinating glimpse into the area’s maritime traditions and history.
Beyond being a draw to a remote corner of Newfoundland and Labrador, Fogo Island Inn is an innovative “social business and community asset” that you can feel good about supporting. “We’re social business, and 100 per cent of our profits are redirected to charity initiatives that benefit the community of Fogo Island,” says Coates.
All operating surpluses get reinvested locally through Shorefast, a registered Canadian charity that works to promote the cultural and economic resiliency of the island. Shorefast projects include micro-loans for business start-ups, programs to teach traditional boat-building techniques, and residency opportunities for academics, artists, and geologists who want to spend time on the island.