One Man’s Quest

by Mar 11, 2024Turner Tales12 comments

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by Lary Turner

Imagine for a moment that you have retired from a long work career, your children have moved away and started their own families and your lifelong partner has recently passed away. You’re feeling totally alone and completely lost; what are you going to do? This was the situation facing Harold Noseworthy a decade ago following the loss of his wife in October of 2014.

Before we continue, we need to cover some background information about Harold! Born in St. John’s Newfoundland, he began work straight out of high school as an office boy in the Canadian National Railway administration office. Teaching himself to type, he worked his way up in the CNR office becoming a data entry clerk instructor as well as handling various data processing duties. In June of 1963, Harold married Joan Hammond, from Belle Island, a registered nurse, and together began their family.

As Harold’s career with CN progressed; he began to sense a trend, the Crown Corporation was beginning to scale back its business in the province of Newfoundland & Labrador. CN ferry service was being cut and rail service reduced. Convinced the writing was on the wall, he foresaw CN closing and his job terminated. In light of the poor employment prospects at home, he realized his family’s future lie outside his home province.  

The family relocated to Ontario in 1966, because they had close family in this area. Harold found employment with Collier-MacMillan Publishers in Galt, in their Data Processing Department (the company moved to Collier-McMillan Dr. in 1967). He continued with the company as it went through various changes of ownership and retired in 1996 at age 58. Joan had retired from her nursing career two years prior at age 55. With their two children married with families of their own, the couple travelled over the next several years including a 50th Anniversary trip home to NL for his nephew’s wedding.

In October 2014, Joan passed after a short illness, leaving Harold lost and alone, wondering what to do with the rest of his life! After four months of mourning and indecision, one morning while driving to his son’s home in Dunnville, he decided on a plan ….. he would visit every community in his home province of Newfoundland & Labrador!

After informing his family of his quest, he consulted a 2015 road map and found there were 806 communities listed on the island and 72 listed in Labrador. With no clear plan except leaving after the the prime holiday season ended (ensuring he would have no problem finding overnight accommodations), Harold left Hespeler on August 18, 2015. Three days later he was on the ferry from North Sydney, NS to Port aux Basques , NL.

Harold's map of Newfoundland & Labrador

Harold’s map of Newfoundland & Labrador

First order of business was to drive to Grand Falls-Windsor to visit two brothers, then home to St. John’s to visit his younger brother. Together with his brother, he started out to visit every community on the heavily populated Avalon Peninsula. As he travelled, Harold entered the communities visited in a small log book with date and kilometers driven. In no particular hurry, he made many interesting side trips to see historical sites and beautiful lookouts. Two days short of three months, he arrived back in Hespeler having logged 12,158 kilometers but with many communities missed.

September 4, 2016 and Harold was leaving home, on the road again. Realizing that his quest required better planning, Harold had laid out this trip before leaving. Taking the ferry from North Sydney, NS to Argentia, NL he picked up all the communities he had missed the year before on the Avalon Peninsula. Driving on, he then covered many of the west coast communities. Some of this trip required ferry travel to reach outlying places not available by road. Arriving back at the Port aux Basques, NL to North Sydney, NS ferry, he was home in Hespeler on October 22nd having racked up 11, 307 kilometers and $5,638.86 in expenses.

Harold was tracking each trip with a large map on the wall at home with each year traced out in a different colour; as well as his daily trip log books. The log books listed places visited, kilometers driven, fuel, meals and lodging expenses, and the many interesting sights seen along the way. In addition, he recorded the trip with thousands of pictures and even some videos on his phone.

Harold's yearly log books

Harold’s yearly log books

Leaving Hespeler on August 13, 2017, Harold crossed from North Sydney, NS to Port aux Basques, NL to visit west coast communities, including thirty-four places along the coast only accessible by water. This required booking passage on small local ferries. By October 6, 2017, he arrived home in Hespeler again having driven another 12,547 kilometers and racking up $6,841.66 in expenses.

The 2018 trip was different; leaving August 12th, Harold drove through Quebec to Labrador City and on to the Labrador Highway visiting all the NL communities along the entire route. Taking the Blanc Sabon, Que ferry crossing to St. Barbe, NL on the Great Northern Peninsula, Harold visited all the places listed on the northern peninsula, then travelled the west coast down to St. John’s. Taking the Port aux Basques, NL ferry to North Sydney, NS, he arrived back in Hespeler after 55 days on the road and racking up 13,274 kilometers.

Year five and he was off again; leaving home on August 9, 2019. Arriving in Port aux Basques, Harold drove the road to Rose Blanche and then by chartered boat to the isolated communities along the coast. Returning, he drove the west coast to Stephenville and on to Burgeo. He took the ferry to Ramea Island, Grey River & Francois, then back to Stephenville and on to Grand Falls-Windsor & St. John’s. Harold arrived home in Hespeler on October 15th having completed 12,574 kilometers and with all communities visited except 10 on the northeast coast of Labrador accessible only by supply ship. Total distance covered was 61,861 kilometers, not counting those by ferry!

Newfoundland map

Harold’s plan to complete his quest would see him drive to Goose Bay, Labrador in August of 2020 and take the coastal supply ship to the last remote communities on his list. Unfortunately, in January 2020 Covid-19 struck and the world had a pandemic looming. In March, Canada went into lock down with a total travel ban and his plan was on hold. By the time the travel ban was lifted, Harold was in need of a knee replacement and waiting for surgery to be scheduled. His surgery completed in the Spring of 2023, he began his rehabilitation and is hoping for clearance to complete his quest in August of this year. We wish him good luck as he moves forward!

During Harold’s quest, he visited many interesting places and met many, many interesting people! He loves to chat about the magnificent vistas he saw along the way. He dropped by Tilt Cove, the smallest official town in Canada; population 5, all on the town council! It was a former booming mining town before the mine closed and most people moved away.

Tilt Cove sign
Harold sitting with maps

         Harold points out places of interest in the Hespeler Heritage Centre.

If you would like to see more of Harold’s pictures, you can access them on his Facebook Page: Harold Noseworthy.

The picture below he calls “Touching Moments”. The couple in the shot invited Harold to stay with them for a couple of days, and invited him back anytime! They have become fast friends and still stay in contact.

Sitting in a cove


  1. Ollie

    Wow brother that was some article about your travels. At one point you were going to St. John’s to visit your younger brother, did I miss a part of your trip. lol. Excellent story

    • Glenda Noseworthy

      I noticed that too, Aunt Ollie. Don’t worry. He loves ya. But he is getting up there in years lol.

      • Harold Noseworthy

        Sorry little sis! Lost in the story telling!

  2. Glenda Noseworthy

    Thank you so much for telling my father’s story. Although he has lived in Ontario for 58 of his 85 years, he is, and always has been proud to be a Newfoundlander. I believe there is no one who knows this province as well as he does. On the homeward journey, he always stopped to see me and his grandchildren in Ottawa and told many stories of the places he saw and the people he met. I’m so proud of this man, my father.

    • Lary Turner

      Glenda Noseworthy …… We are so happy that Harold has made the Hespeler Heritage Centre family, his family away from home! We very much enjoy his sunny disposition!!

  3. Trudy

    Amazing and inspiring story of a great man! Follow your dreams!


    Great story. Hopefully we’ll see you this Summer….Love from your baby brother Wayne and your favorite sister-in-law..ha.ha

  5. Janet Fitzpatrick

    Wonderful story Harold. Can’t wait to read about the last leg of this adventure you have shared with all of us with such passion and love for Our Beautiful Homeland. Stay Safe

  6. Tammy Dee West

    We were fortunate to have Uncle Harold take a little side trip to the Annapolis Valley in NS for a few days on these trips. Visits we will always treasure. Thank you Uncle Harold for pursuing this dream and thank you to the author for telling his story.

  7. John Gunther

    A great read thanks Harold and Lary

  8. Stacey Noseworthy Nauss

    I am so incredibly proud to call you my Uncle. You make me feel proud to have the Noseworthy name.❤️

  9. Greg Terry

    Well, what a wonderful story about a very patriotic Newfoundlander and Labradorian . I had the pleasure of meeting Harold one sunny day at our little piece of heaven ( as Harold described it ) in Little Falls on the beautiful Humber River which is on the west coast of our Great province. A very fine gentleman indeed. We invited him to have a cold one and some lunch before he continued on his way. We are friends on Facebook and still stay in touch. He informed us all about his quest to visit every community in our fair province. What an adventure and what a wonderful person. So very glad and fortunate our paths crossed. Good luck my friend on all your future endeavours 👏🥰🇨🇦


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