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A woman’s passionate challenge to the status quo for Newfoundland outports

Ask any Maritimer where Fogo Island is and most will probably guess “Newfoundland?” with a question in the voice—but it’s unlikely very many could point to it on a map.

So why do readers of The New York Times and The Manchester Guardian know where it is?

It seems incongruous that an almost treeless, lichen-littered rock off the north coast of Newfoundland, populated by fewer than 3,000 rubber-booted souls and the odd caribou, would be the subject of a full-blown and highly complimentary article in Britain’s prestigious Guardian newspaper, and in Air Canada’s globally distributed En Route magazine.

But Fogo Island is.

It also seems incongruous that Fogo would be listed at number 22 in The New York Times’ “41 Places to Go (On the Planet) in 2011”—right up there with Santiago, Chile, Milan, Koh Samui, Thailand, and exotic island destinations like Oahu, Hawaii, San Juan Islands and Zanzibar.

Who would’ve thunk it? What’s all the fuss?

Well, it’s all a grand experiment, with a lot of money and a lot of hopes on the line. It might be an audaciously innovative template for the future of rural Newfoundland—or just a dream. The jury is out, but a lot of fingers are crossed.

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