top of page


Burin was settled as a fishing community, with the earliest known evidence of settlement being in 1718. With the shelter of Burin harbour, the community thrived as one of the busiest fishing ports on the island.


The town was incorporated in 1950, and included Burin North, Ship Cove and Burin Bay. In 1970 the town limits were expanded and now include Collin's Cove, Path End, Bull's Cove, Black Duck Cove, Long Cove, Green Hill, Little Salmonier, Hollett's Farm, Burin Bay Arm, and Salt Pond.

The crossed instruments are burins, instruments for engraving on stone; this emblem is appropriate considering the abundance of rocks and stones throughout the community.  The crested blue ripples in the background signify the sea, the source of Burin's livelihood.  This coat of arms was designed by the former Town Manager, Keith E. Warren, and a local graphic artist, Boyd Holloway.

Newfoundland, an island jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, was discovered in 1497 by (John Cabot), a Genoese sailor who sailed from Bristol, England,on an expedition to discover new lands for the then King of England, Henry VII. According to sagas - ancient tales of Iceland - the Norsemen visited the island of Newfoundland over 1000 years ago.Immediately after its discovery, European ships began fishing along our shores. An important centre in those early days was St. John's harbour where ships first entered before proceeding in small companies to various parts of the coast. A brisk business was carried on there with Spain and Portugal by bartering such commodities as salt, wine and fruits for English cutlery, cordage and woollens. Leaving the harbour these ships would proceed to designated places to prosecute the fishery. At the close of the fishing season, St. John's harbour would again be their rendezvous- before returning to Europe - so that they would escape marauding pirates who seized and plundered lonely vessels sailing the ocean.

The 1929 Tsunami is a significant time in Burin's History with both many tragic and heroic stories significantly documented in literature and newsprint.  We have dedicated an entire section to the 1929 Newfoundland Tidal Wave and our Tidal Wave Memorial.                                                  

A safe harbour, such as Burin's landlocked haven was undoubtedly a favourite resort for these European fishermen. A very lucrative fishing industry was carried on according to Historians such as Prowse who relates that in 1697 the French prohibited Spanish Biscayans from fishing in such areas as Mortiris (Mortier), Buria Chumea (Little Burin) and Buria Audia (Great Burin). Great rivalry was then being exercised as more countries began to need and greedily harvest the great wealth of the Newfoundland waters. Burin was naturally affected by this rivalry in its early history because of its geography, as its physical features and natural topography provided all the essentials for a successful and remunerative fishing voyage. Since farmland was scarce or even non-existent, Burin became the centre of an important fishing region - next in importance to Placentia, the French capital of Newfoundland. All maritime pursuits such as boat building, sail making, iron works, etc. were a natural result of this concentration of fishing.The town of Burin is located on the Burin Peninsula in Placentia Bay. It is situated on the Eastern side of the peninsula and on the western side of Burin Inlet, which extends inland about 8km. The town is really an amalgamation of several communities which surround Burin Proper. In 1950 the town was incorporated and included: Burin North, Ship Cove and Burin Bay. Then in 1970 the town limits were expanded to include Collin's Cove, Kirby's Cove, Path End, Bull's Cove, Black Duck Cove, Long Cove, Little Salmonier, Burin Bay Arm, and Salt Pond.The name Burin itself is of debatable origins. Two possible suggestions are offered as to the origin of our name: (1) from a French word BURINEmeaning engraving tool. Legend has it that a French sailor was standing on the deck of his ship holding a Burine and, struck by the resemblance between it and the harbour they were entering, named it thus; (2) from a Gaelic word Bureen meaning rocky place, named so by early Irish settlers. The french word is the acceptable version in use today.Burin is well known today for its breathtaking scenery, friendly people and charming ways. The moratorium of the early 90's stagnated the offshore fishing industry allowing the Town of Burin an opportunity to modernize and concentrate it's future in education, health care, technology, and tourism.  
Mina Swim Memorial
bottom of page