Track 1: John Cabot & Aspy Bay

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A 15th- or 16th-century representation of John Cabot, or Giovanni Caboto. Source:

Adapted and abridged from the Cabot Trail Companion.

The first track of Disc Two features the actor Mike Crimp, who played the great explorer in 1997, the 500th anniversary of John Cabot's voyage, when an exact replica of his tiny ship retraced the historic route from Bristol, England, to Eastern Canada.

Surprisingly little is known of John Cabot, as Giovanni Caboto was called by the English. He has no public holiday named for him — unlike Christopher Columbus, who never even set foot in North America!

Like Columbus, Cabot was an Italian who tried to find a route to Asia across the Atlantic. But when his plans were turned down by the great seafaring nations of Spain and Portugal, he ended up sailing for King Henry VII of England — at that time a minor player in the field of navigation.

Mike Crimp in his sea kayakTo tell the truth, a first-hand account of the voyage has never been found, so despite many highly educated guesses, no-one knows for sure where Cabot first landed. Some people think Cape Breton; others, Newfoundland...

The Cabot Trail honours the voyage of 1497, but Cabot wasn't the first European to set foot in Canada: the Vikings briefly settled in Newfoundland around a thousand years ago; and Spanish and Portuguese fishermen were visiting these shores years before Cabot claimed them for the English Crown.

Of course, Cabot never did find Asia and its treasures, and sadly he was lost at sea during his second voyage to the "new-found" lands. But however little we know of him, and although it was pure accident that he happened to sail under an English flag, the very fact that he did so was pivotal to world history from that point on.

Cabot Landing Picnic Park, overlooking Aspy Bay, stands just below the distinctive conical summit of Sugarloaf. Apart from a collection of plaques, there isn't much to mark Cabot's endeavour, but the impressive beach is great for a stroll.

As far from the big cities as it may be, Aspy Bay lays claim to another first — again as the connection between the old and the new worlds. Just over a century and a half ago, this is where the first transatlantic telegraph cable was brought ashore, running under the ocean from the British Isles, via Newfoundland and Cape Breton, and on to New York...


The following pages may interest those seeking more details about Cabot's life or the history of Aspy Bay. Naturally, we have no control over these external sites; if you find a dead link please tell us.

North Highlands Community Museum

Early European exploration

"The Letters Patents of King Henry the Seventh granted unto John Cabot and his three sons, Lewis, Sebastian, and Santius for the discovery of new and unknown lands"

Evidence for Cabot's Newfoundland landfall

The Cape Breton landfall argument

Cabot in the context of the discovery of the Americas

Notable Names Database biography of Cabot

Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

National Maritime Museum (Greenwich, London)

The definitive web page for information on Aspy Bay's transatlantic cable!

Undersea cables today

Accommodations & other businesses along the way

See also Meat Cove (DISC ONE, Track 9)

* = Featured on the Cabot Trail Companion

Bay St Lawrence C@P Site
3160 Bay St Lawrence Rd. T: (902) 383-2334;

Beach View Cottage Accommodation ($$)
280 White Point Rd, South Harbour. T: (902) 383-2332;

Burton’s Sunset Oasis Motel Accommodation ($$)
105 Money Point Rd, Bay St Lawrence. T: (902) 383-2666;

Capt Cox’s Whale Watching
Bay St Lawrence Hbr. TF: 1-888-346-5556;

Country Crafts & Pottery Outlet
30071 Cabot Trail, South Harbour. T: (902) 383-2933;

Eagle North Canoe & Kayak
299 Shore Rd, Dingwall. T: (902) 383-2552;

Hideaway Campground & Oyster Market Accommodation ($)
401 Shore Rd, Dingwall. T: (902) 383-2116;

The Inlet B&B Accommodation ($–$$)
473 Dingwall Rd, Dingwall Hbr. T: (902) 383-2112;

Markland Coastal Resort & Octagon Arts Centre Accommodation ($$–$$$)
802 Dingwall Rd, Dingwall. TF: 1-800-872-6084;

Oshan Whale Watch
Bay St Lawrence Wharf, Bay St Lawrence. TF: 1-877-383-2883;

South Harbour Hideaway Cottage Accommodation ($$)
227 Shore Rd, South Harbour. T: (902) 383-2116;
details from

Tartans & Treasures (gifts)
29961 Cabot Trail, South Harbour. TF: 1-877-481-2526;

If you would like your business to be added to this list, please contact us...