Come By Chance


I recently came across a news item that made me a little sad: The refinery at Come By Chance, Newfoundland, Canada, may be closing down because it won’t be easy to find a buyer. And the townspeople are worried because a large number of them work there.

My husband and I had spent a few days at Come By Chance many years ago. Come By Chance is a small town of 250-odd people at the head of Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. I remember the shingle beach, the natural arch hewn out of rock by waves, the flare from the North Atlantic Refinery – the first things I noticed on reaching there. And the cool, clean air.

These pictures were taken with a small Canon camera using film, before the days of digital cameras.


The Refinery that I hope doesn’t shut down
Arnold’s Cove, a town nearby.

Most people appeared to be employed either at the refinery or in the fishing industry. We heard they had wonderful lobsters there, so we walked along the jetty to look at the lobster pots.

Whale in the distance
Whale in the distance

And then we saw a whale! At first it was just a bump on the surface of the sea in the distance. Then it spouted water up into the air. Soon it was quite close to the jetty, just a few feet below us. And it opened its mouth! I was so excited that my hands shook and I got a terrible photograph. But it’s a precious memory, clearer than a snapshot. 

Whale, a lot closer

Meanwhile, I wonder what will happen to the people of Come By Chance. I hope they find a buyer soon, and the Refinery becomes operational, so their little community survives.



4 thoughts on “Come By Chance

  1. What a great moment to see a whale right there! It was really chance, wasn’t it? I hope this small town survives. It’s very hard to rely on just a couple of companies to make ends meet in a very small town.


  2. A small town with a Main Street, one Baker, one Dairy, one hardware store, one school, one Town Hall – the kind of place that exists in children’s books – is quaint and appealing. But of course, you’re right, with only two companies to sustain it, it must be hard. I feel more for this little town cos I had fun there, seeing the whale and all!


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