Port Union - Newfoundland and Labrador

Route 230
Coordinates: 48.4981° N, 53.0851° W

The town of Port Union is best known as the home of Sir William F. Coaker, a visionary leader and founder of Newfoundland and Labrador's Fishermen's Protective Union - the FPU, an alliance which shook the foundation of the ruling merchant class in Newfoundland and Labrador during the early 1900s. Coaker, a trade union radical, led the struggle for a better way of life for thousands of fishers who lived and worked along the Northeast coast.

The Fishermen's Protective Union was the first major co-operative movement in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Fishermen's Protective Union, formed in 1908 had 20,000 members by 1914. Summer visitors can tour Coaker's home "The Bungalow", and nearby Coaker Memorial.

Step back into the living history of a trade union movement that shaped the modern Newfoundland and Labrador fishery and brought prosperity to Newfoundland's northeast coast. Wander the familiar row housing street reminiscent of downtown St. John's, through buildings where fisherman prepared their salt fish exports for foreign markets. These buildings also held the commercial warehouses of the Fishermen's Protective Union fisheries and community supply business for communities throughout the island and into Labrador.

It was here in one of these buildings that the voice of the union movement, the influential newspaper, the Fishermen's Advocate, was first published. The building was used in the film "The Shipping News" for location shots.

Be sure to visit the Port Union Historic Museum on Main Street housed in the original Reid Newfoundland Company railway station built in 1917. The station recounts the history of Coakerism, the Fishermen's Protective Union and the Reid railway.

Genealogy Information

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