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Western Newfoundland Regional Heritage Fair
The 1929 Tsunami
In 1929 an earthquake on the Grand Banks, more than 200 km off the shores of Newfoundland, triggered a tsunami never before seen by the people of the Burin Peninsula. After a storm that severed communication with the rest of the island, the people of the Peninsula found themselves in a bad situation and no way to reach help. Three waves hit their communities, destroying homes and taking lives. This project is about their story.
What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?
I was surprised to learn that something like this actually happened in my province. It was also interesting to learn how tectonic plates rubbing together can create not only an earthquake but also make huge waves in the ocean like the 1929 tsunami.
What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?
Natural disasters can happen anywhere and communities should try to be prepared. When a disaster does happen, sticking together as a community is important for survival. In the early 20th century, most small communities in Newfoundland relied on the fishery.
How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?
My family does not rely on the fishery for their livelihood as Newfoundlander's did in the old days. When the tsunami hit the Burin Peninsula, it wiped out most of the fish stocks that were dried and stored for eating and for sale. This was devastating for the people.