Point Lance is an isolated Newfoundland settlement established by Irish immigrants early in the nineteenth century at the beginning of a great wave of migration from Europe to North America. For more than a century after the first settlement, the way of life in the community remained intensely local. Most settlers were related by blood or marriage, Irish accents and folkways survived unaltered. The community became finely adjusted to its local environment, with fishing, hunting, fur trapping, wood cutting and gardening being the main economic activities.
After Confederation, industrialization and technology dramatically altered life conditions. The arrival of modern amenities altered the social aspects of the community, creating restlessness among younger people who began looking elsewhere in Canada for a brighter future. Welfare cheques and canned goods undermined the kitchen garden. The capital cost of new fishing equipment were beyond the means of local fishermen. The author’s approach is geographical, focusing on the changing character of place and of man-land relationships. It illustrates in microcosm the continuing Canadian concern about the problems arising out of the process of modernization and the impact they have on small, rural communities.